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NMU Hockey Series Snapshot: The CCHA apocalypse begins with Notre Dame visiting Marquette
October 26, 2012 - Matt Wellens
MARQUETTE — BREAKING NEWS!
The CCHA is dead after this season. It will cease to exist. It will join College Hockey America, Wayne State and the 12-team NCAA tournament format in heaven with College Hockey Jesus.
When everyone bolts after the Frozen Four for the Big Ten, NCHC, WCHA and Hockey East, the CCHA will be nothing but a chapter in the history books and an example of perfect officiating according to message board posters with warped revisionist history.
Most of planet Earth already knew this of course, but if you’ve been lost in a Jersey Shore marathon for the past two years, the media will without a doubt remind you on the hour that such and such is the last time such and such will happen in the CCHA.
For example, some schmuck decided to waste his entire week annoying Walt Kyle, John Kyle, Rick Comley, Tim McIntosh and other Marquette hockey minds to compile Northern Michigan University’s Top 10 CCHA milestones.
The list doesn’t even include the time John Kyle hit a goal post, the closest he ever came to scoring a goal. Or all the times the NMU Puckheads liberated the Wildcats’ banner from inside the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit during the CCHA Championships.
What a joke, though not as laughable as the rumored pre-sales of only 1,800 tickets each night for a showdown between two nationally ranked NCAA Division I hockey teams in Northern Michigan and Notre Dame on Friday and Saturday at the Berry Events Center.
Now I know it’s tough to take the rankings seriously after two weekends of hockey, especially when Cornell is not only ranked seventh in both polls, but receiving a first-place vote in the USCHO.com poll having not even played a game yet.
Notre Dame, ranked No. 9 in both polls, and Northern, ranked No. 16 by USCHO and No. 15 by USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine, appear to be legit for the time being with both at 3-1-0 overall.
Notre Dame’s leading scorers through four games T.J. Tynan and Anders Lee will draw a lot of attention this weekend.
NMU head coach Walt Kyle, who spoke to the Sports Pen on ESPN 970 AM earlier this week, will have to devise a new scheme to defend the duo after relying on C.J. Ludwig and Wade Epp — who will play this weekend after missing the first two weekends — to shut them down now that Irish head coach Jeff Jackson has split the pair up.
My attention will be focused on the goaltender battle between Northern’s Jared Coreau and Notre Dame’s Steven Summerhays, two of the CCHA’s three top goaltenders heading into the season along with Western Michigan’s Frank Slubowski.
Those two should keep this a close series like last year when NMU senior Reid Ellingson and Notre Dame junior — now a senior — Mike Johnson forced a pair of shootouts — or jokes as Jackson likes to call them — that went in favor of NMU.
Game notes for Northern Michigan can be found here.
Notre Dame game notes can be found here.
I’ll be tweeting live from the Berry Events Center both nights, so follow along.
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