I'm way overdue for this but better late than never. We fight on until Detroit (when we hopefully cover at least 1 team). This installment looks at the three teams as they approach the final 3 weeks of the regular season, with every game huge for our teams.
Before I get to the teams I want to let everyone know pre-jump that I am going to try another open thread on Friday for the WMU-OSU game (sorry for the lack of variety of arenas). Again, we will hit on the other 2 MAC schools and any questions you may have.
BOWLING GREEN FALCONS 9-16-5 (4-14-4-3)
The Falcons are hopelessly hung for this year. The only thing they are fighting for is momentum heading into the CCHA tournament where they will in all likelihood play the the 6-seed in the CCHA, which for this year would be like playing the 3 seed. Nevertheless, Bowling Green played the same role last year (although the 6 seed Northern Michigan wasn't in the top tier of Miami, Michigan, and Notre Dame) and knocked the Wildcats out before falling to Michigan.
Bowling Green has been playing pretty well lately. When we last checked them, they had just taken 4 points from the #1 in CCHA Ohio State team. Since then, they split all 3 of their series: at Alaska, a home-and-home with WMU, and at Notre Dame. Not bad for that schedule to get 9 points.
Looking forward, the Falcons have no fairly easy games remaining. They host a very good Northern Michigan squad before going to Ferris State where the Bulldogs have dropped just 1 game, and only tied in 2 more. They finish the year with Michigan at home. Ouch.
MIAMI REDHAWKS 18-8-4 (12-6-4-0)
Oh my did the RedHawks catch fire. They swept Western Michigan outscoring the Broncos 7-1. That includes the first time Western has been shut out since the Jim Culhane era. They followed that up with a split against Northern Michigan, which included a 6-0 bashing of the Wildcats.
Then Miami hit a bump in Ann Arbor against an equally red-hot Michigan squad. I won't look too much into it, but it's never good to get hit in the mouth by an equally good squad. Nevertheless, Miami will still be Miami and has the rest of the season to keep it up.
Looking ahead for the RedHawks, they get the lowly Alabama-Huntsville squad next week before hosting a strong Notre Dame squad in a series that could determine which team will play for a first-round bye seed or play for a first-round seed. They finish their season with a home-and-home against Ohio State, who has struggled in 2012.
WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS 14-11-5 (11-8-3-3)
The Broncos had first place in the CCHA for a brief moment. That was history as no Bronco team had held the D-1 conference lead this late into the season. However, after struggling at Bowling Green, the Broncos had to sit in 2nd for an entire week before the Alaska series.
We know what happened for Western against Bowling Green and Miami, so we'll just skip right up to the Alaska series. If you didn't join me Friday, then you missed WMU winning 2-1, and then retaking 1st place for one night before dropping Saturday's game and falling back to 2nd place.
Looking forward, the Broncos too have a tough finish. They host Ohio State next weekend what will probably be a very volatile series from the Lunatics. The Broncos then travel to a streaky LSSU team, before finishing with a home-and-home against Ferris State, a team also at the top of the CCHA, who the Broncos swept earlier this year and gave the Bulldogs their only home loss. Should be a very physical finish for the banged-up squad from Kalamazoo. If Western wants a chance, however, they need to find a consistent offense.
I hope to see you all on Friday, live again from Lawson Ice Arena.