Its 2012. The year where the world (supposedly) ends, where we decide who will lead our country for the next 4 years, and the year where everyone gets to work one extra day. To help ring in the new year, we will look at what our hockey programs were doing over winter break.
BOWLING GREEN FALCONS
When we last heard of Bowling Green, they were coming off a crushing loss against WMU to the tune of 6-1. This winter break, they took it easy, and only played 4 games. For them, non-conference games are pretty meaningless now, so the fact they dropped two games at Bemidji State scoring 1 goal each game isn't important.
But boy did they start 2012 with a bang. The next weekend they hosted the CCHA leading Ohio State Buckeyes, and took 4 of 6 points with a pair of ties (2-2, 1-1) and then winning the shoot-outs 2-1 each night. This was their bye week, so they got to rest up before making the trek to Alaska.
Miami also had a fairly light schedule over winter break. They had their bye week in 2011, so all their games were played over the last 2 weeks. Their games, however, were not easy. With trips to Michigan State and Lake Superior State, it was easy to assume the RedHawks would struggle. They didn't.
After sweeping Michigan State (2-1 OT, 4-0), Miami beat LSSU in game one of their series to tie for 3rd place in the CCHA. They would drop the second game 4-3, but are still just a point out of 3rd (LSSU), and have a VERY generous schedule remaining. They have 3 conference away games left, and host fellow MAC school WMU next weekend. With Miami seemingly finding their stride, Miami could be dangerous going forward.
WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS
The Broncos had a rough break. Although they played half of their games at home, the only came away with 3 wins against 3 losses. They lost 3 of four games against future NCHC foes St. Cloud State and #1 Minnesota-Duluth, with the UMD series coming extra hard being a pair of 3 goal losses at Lawson.
However, the Broncos responded with a huge sweep over #3 Notre Dame in a home-and-home series this weekend, winning 3-2 in Compton (ND's new ice arena), and 3-1 in Lawson in a very rowdy series. The series featured 30 penalties for 74 minutes, including 29 minutes of penalties in the 2nd period of Saturday's game alone, over 2 different officiating crews. The sweep gives the Broncos 6 points, putting them 5 points ahead of LSSU, and just 1 point behind Ohio State, who plays tonight in Cleveland against Michigan. Western has no bye week, while the Buckeyes do, so Western is very much alive to take the conference lead.
Western's next 2 series are against fellow MAC foes Miami (on the road), and Bowling Green (home-and-home), so get out there and support your MAChups in hockey.