>What a First Half!
>Wow…what a conclusion to the first half to the season, with a 7-1 win over RPI today. I think the question of “is this a rebuilding year or a reloading year” has most certainly been answered, given our play thus far. I for one would have never thought we’d be one point out of first place in the CCHA, with a 12-3-3 record and four consecutive weekend sweeps going into the New Year. What a nice surprise that is!
So now, without further ado, here are my first half awards, complete with cheesy names:
Gary DeLonge Most Valuable Player Award: Carter Camper, SO, 11 goals, 15 assists
Top Newcomer Award: Chris Wideman, D, 0 goals, 15 assists, +8 rating
Bobby Marshall Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Roeder, 1 goal, 1 assist, + 6 rating
SDS Pizza Most Improved Player: Gary Steffes, JR, 6 goals, 5 assists, + 13 rating
Rich Shulmistra Goaltender of the Year Award: Connor Knapp, FR, 7-1-1, 1.77 GAA
So, there you have it. Our ‘Hawks are off until 2009, where they’ll meet the Clarkson Golden Knights, along with Army or Ohio State at the Ohio Hockey Classic, in Columbus. In the new year, the RedHawks get right back into it with a weekend series at Michigan, followed by a Michigan State homestand and then a trip out west to Omaha to take on the Mavericks. Another thing to keep in mind: The end of season home and home with Ohio State may indeed have meaning this year, as the Buckeyes, led by the stellar play of Dustin Carlson, are lurking in 6th place in the CCHA with a record of 11-6-1. I certainly didn’t see John Markell getting 11 wins out of that team the entire season. It’s sure to be a great matchup, come late February.
The CCHA standings have also been updated on the top left corner of this page. As you’re aware, there are some major surprises this season in the league. Here are my top three:
1. Michigan State (4-11-3)
– The Spartans were picked to be near the top of the CCHA, led by veteran goaltender and team captain, Jeff Lerg. This young MSU squad is 0-9-1 in their last 10 games. Next up for the Spartans, the Great Lakes Invitational on December 26.
2. Northern Michigan (3-10-3)
– The Wildcats have also been struggling as of late, going just 1-7-2 in their last 10 (not counting an exhibition win over the USNDTP this weekend). Projected fourth in the preseason coaches’ poll, Walt Kyle’s ‘Cats have quickly fallen out of CCHA title contention and will most assuredly go on the road for the first round of the playoffs.
3. Ohio State (11-6-1)
– One of the hottest teams in the country now…imagine that, the Buckeyes! OSU has strung together a 9-1 record in their last 10 with a solid weekend sweep in November over a very good Nebraska-Omaha squad. In the new year, conference play for the ‘Bucks has tight matchups at Bowling Green, at Ferris State, home with Western Michigan, and a long trip to Alaska. OSU is certainly a team to watch and very well could make it’s way into a top 4 finish.
Who would you hand out awards to, based on first-half play?