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November 30, 2023

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Week of 11/16: Around the CCHA

Jack Walsh

In the most recent poll, there are no CCHA teams in the top 25 of the NCAA. The nearest to are ranked 26th, 30th, 31st, and 33rd. The conference is 4-16-4 against ranked opponents and in total is being outscored 231-269.

Only two teams have winning records both overall and in the conference, those being St. Thomas and Minnesota State. As of this past week, every team has played at least two games in the conference, three of which have played six games.  

Here are all the teams in the CCHA and their performances so far in the 2023-2024 season. 

 #1) St. Thomas (6-5-1, 4-2) 

The Tommies just swept Bowling Green this past weekend, outscoring the Falcons 8-4. Forward Cooper Gay had the best series of his career, scoring 3 goals and 1 assist with a game-winning goal in the first game.

Gay has 10 points, now third in scoring behind Lucas Wahlin and Liam Malmquist. This sweep follows St. Thomas’ sweep of Northern Michigan where Wahlin scored three goals, including a game-winner, and a assist.

They are the only CCHA team with a bye week this week, preparing for a weekend series against Lake Superior State at home on November 24-25. 

#2) Bemidji State (4-6, 3-3) 

Bemidji’s season has been full of ups and downs. The Beavers took both #1 ranked Wisconsin and #14 ranked Minnesota Duluth to overtime, barely losing in both games.

This was followed by a sweep of current number one in the CCHA, St. Thomas, then getting swept by Lake Superior State and splitting with Michigan Tech.

The Beavers are outscored 19-17 in the conference, and 34-27 overall despite having a 12-point year by Kyle Looft (5 goals, 7 assists) and a 9-point year by Lleyton Roed (7 goals 2 assists). Bemidji State chases first place by battling Minnesota State in Mankato, Minnesota this Friday, and Saturday. 

#3) Northern Michigan (3-6-1, 3-3) 

The Wildcats have probably the most difficult starting schedule in the CCHA. They managed to tie #17 Minnesota Duluth but lost the second game. Next, they got swept by #18 Arizona State and, split with Ferris State, got swept by St. Thomas, then swept Lake Superior State.

They have been outscored 41-31 overall, but only 20-18 in the CCHA, including the overtime win and loss. They have four players with double-digit point totals, 13 by Andre Ghantous, 11 by both Artem Shlaine and Josh Zinger, and 10 points by Kristoff Papp.

Northern Michigan does not play a CCHA opponent this weekend as they play Alaska Fairbanks at home in Marquette, Michigan. 

#4) Lake Superior State (5-5, 2-2) 

Senior Jared Westcott is arguably the best player in the CCHA, leading the conference in points (16), points per game (1.6), and goals (9), as well as being second in goals per game (0.9), game-winning goals (2), and powerplay goals (3).

Westcott has helped the Lakers to sweep Bemidji State and win against Alaska Anchorage, Clarkson, and St. Lawrence. This past week they were swept by Northern Michigan, yet still outscoring their opponents 36-32, and 16-14 in conference.

Lake Superior State plays Bowling Green this week at home, attempting to gain a winning record in the CCHA. 

#5) Minnesota State (4-3-1, 2-0) 

Minnesota State is another team with a very difficult non-conference schedule, and they responded well. The Mavericks acquired two wins against #10 St. Cloud State showing huge promise for this season.

In the following series, they were swept by #15 UMass and lost and tied with #4 North Dakota State, three ranked opponents in a row only being outscored 19-15 in those three series.

They are one of the only teams in the CCHA with a winning record, rising to 2-0 in the conference with a 6-2 and a 3-2 OT win at Ferris State. Minnesota State is a deep team with six players at four points or more, including seven points (5 goals 2 assists) by Grad Student forward Sam Morton.

This Friday, the Mavericks start a weekend home series against Bemidji State, still seeking to stay undefeated in the CCHA.  

#6) Michigan Tech (3-5-3, 1-1) 

The Huskies started their season slow, not gaining their first win until Augustana on Friday, Nov. 3. In their last four games, Michigan Tech swept Augustana (which does not count for conference record) and split with Bemidji State 4-2, and 4-6 efforts.

The Huskies have seven players with five points or more with six goals by freshman Isaac Gordon, and senior Ryland Mosley. Gordon is one of the best-performing freshmen in the CCHA, scoring six goals and five assists, three powerplay goals, and a hat trick.

Gordon and Michigan Tech take on the Ferris State Bulldogs this Friday and Saturday, both teams seeking their second and third wins in the CCHA. 

#7) Ferris State (3-6-1, 1-3) 

The Bulldogs play Michigan Tech this Friday at home, needing two wins to gain a .500 record in the CCHA. Ferris State has split a series with Miami of Ohio, Northern Michigan, and St. Lawrence, losing and tying against Western Michigan, and losing two more games to Minnesota State last week.

They have been outscored 38-25 by their opponents, 14-7 in their conference. They have two eight-point scorers, forward Antonio Venuto (6 goals 2 assists) and defenseman Travis Shoudy (8 assists) even though they are last in the conference in shot percentage (.07). 

#8) Bowling Green (2-8, 0-2) 

The Falcons won their first game of the year, losing the next six games in a row before winning in the second of a two-game series against Mercyhurst. They are now the only team winless in the CCHA, being outscored 34-21 overall and 8-4 in their losses to St. Thomas.

Bowling Green has the newest team in the CCHA with 12 players who weren’t with the team last year. They are last in the CCHA in goals and goals per game, assists and assists per game, points, and points per game.

The only statistical category Bowling Green leads in, is Faceoff winning percentage (.535), an area where they were very lacking the past two years.

They travel to Sault Ste. Marie to take on the Lake Superior State Lakers where they hope to find their first win and possibly climb to .500 in the CCHA. 

Augustana (4-5-1) 

Augustana is the first-ever Division-I men’s hockey program in South Dakota, although it is not able to compete in the CCHA until the 24’-25 season.

The Vikings play every team in the CCHA twice, although it does not count for conference records for either Augustana or their competitor. Against CCHA opponents, they are 2-2 with a sweep of Bowling Green in their home debut, and a 2-loss series against Michigan Tech away.

The Vikings have 11 players with five points or more, seven of which have six or more. Luke Mobley leads the team with four goals and four assists followed by Uula Ruikka with two goals and five assists.

Augustana plays Northern Michigan on Dec. 1st, Minnesota State on Jan. 5th, Ferris State on Jan. 26th, Bemidji State on Feb. 2nd, St. Thomas on Feb. 9th, and Lake Superior State on Feb. 16th. 

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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