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NMU Hockey Series Snapshot: East Lansing and Ann Arbor wish their hockey teams were hot like the Nanooks and Wildcats

January 25, 2013 - Matt Wellens

MARQUETTE — Oh how the mighty have fallen in the final season of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association since Jan. 1, 2013.

And by fallen, I mean plummeted.

And by plummeted, I mean crashed, burned and buried deep down in the bottom of a hole that’s nigh inescapable, resulting in your school’s fight song being wiped from your memory.

While the Northern Michigan University and University of Alaska-Fairbanks hockey teams have run up unbeaten streaks to begin 2013, the CCHA’s marque schools since 1981 have taken up residence in the basement of the league standings.

Last-place Michigan State and second-to-last-place Michigan have lost five of their last six games, including four losses at home. One of those home losses for both the Spartans and Wolverines came in exhibition play against the United States National Team Development Program’s Under-18 squad with UM falling at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor 5-3 and MSU getting shutout at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, 3-0.

The Nanooks and Wildcats have been the anti-Wolverines and Spartans, with NMU on a six-game unbeaten streak having swept St. Cloud State and Ohio State. The ’Cats picked up a win and tie against Miami as well.

Alaska is unbeaten in its last five contests dating back to Dec. 8 when it tied Bowling Green State in Fairbanks. In 2013, the Nanooks have swept Michigan in Ann Arbor and Notre Dame in South Bend.

Both the Wildcats and Nanooks have benefited greatly from their recent runs both in the CCHA standings and PairWise rankings.

Yes, I just used Wildcats and PairWise in the same sentence and by Wildcats, I’m referring to Northern Michigan University. Stick with me here.

On Jan. 2, NMU sat tied for last place in the CCHA with Bowling Green having accumulated only 10 points in two wins and three ties in 14 league games. As for the PairWise, NMU wasn’t anywhere in the picture.

The Nanooks weren’t doing much hotter in the CCHA standings on the second day of 2013, sitting tied for seventh with Michigan at 16 points via four wins and three ties in 14 league games with trips to Notre Dame and Michigan on the horizon. Like NMU, Alaska wasn’t on anyone’s PairWise radar.

Today, both are knocking on the door of the USCHO Top 20 poll and if the NCAA tournament selection committee began putting together the 2013 field today, the Nanooks and Wildcats would be the last two teams left out.

So it’s not just unbeaten streaks on the line, but improbable postseason runs that seemed impossible back on New Years Eve 2012, when NMU head coach Walt Kyle was giving his special teams a failing grade.

Game notes for NMU can be found here.

The Nanooks have their game notes plus a video preview posted here.

Like NMU, the Nanooks charge $7 for a live video feed of the game through AmericaOne.

The Point 100.3 FM Dave Danis will call the game after surviving a run in with a polar bear in an Anchorage airport.

With it being an 11:30 p.m. EST start time each night, your best bets to follow on Twitter are @NanookHockey, @AlaskaNanooks, and @NMUHockey.

Also be sure to follow @AKHockeyBear, the star of the greatest pregame introduction of all time.

 
 

 

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Blog Photos

You don't see this every day. Screenshot taken from http://www.ccha.com on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013.