>Friday Night Lights – March 5
>Buckeyes win Game 1 over Notre Dame
Columbus, Ohio (March 6) – Led by senior forward Mathieu Picard’s two goals, eighth seeded Ohio State defeated nine seed Notre Dame 3-1 in front of 734 strong at the OSU Ice Arena. As is the case annually, the Buckeyes are forced to play a home playoff series at the old barn adjacent to St. John Arena rather than their usual plush home digs at the Schott due to the Ohio High School Wrestling Championships having Value City Arena to themselves. Frankly, I believe the Buckeyes should play all of their games at the old building because unlike Value City, there is actually a college hockey atmosphere there and a real home ice advantage for Ohio State. The two teams play again at 7pm this evening and the game is purportedly sold out meaning 1,500 strong will cram into the facility to see if the Buckeyes can sweep Notre Dame and move onto the second round.
With all of the upper seeded teams winning last night, it sets up the real chance that Ohio State and Miami could meet in Oxford in the second round of the playoffs for the right to advance to the CCHA Championship in Detroit in two weeks. Of course, this assumes that no lower seeded teams win the next two games to shake up the bracket.
Michigan, Alaska and UNO Post Game 1 Victories
In addition to the Buckeyes game one win, all the higher seeded teams notched victories in the first night of CCHA playoff action.
In Ann Arbor, Mich. seventh seeded Michigan behind seldom-used backup netminder Shawn Hunwick, defeated tenth seeded Lake Superior State 5-2. Hunwick was again subbing for injured junior Bryan Hogan and made 21 saves to get the win. Matt Rust, for whom the Blue Jackets traded Mathieu Roy, scored an unassisted goal just 37 seconds into the third period which turned out to be the game-winner. The Wolverines go for the sweep tonight at Yost Ice Arena at 7:35pm.
In Fairbanks, Alaska, the fifth seeded Nanooks blanked twelve seed Western Michigan 4-0 behind 16 saves from Scott Greenham. Should the Broncos be unable to find a way to win tonight, it will be the last game behind the bench for outgoing head coach Jim Culhane. The Nanooks will attempt to sweep the Broncos at 11:05pm EST tonight from Fairbanks.
Lastly, in Omaha, Neb., sixth seeded Nebraska-Omaha used four second period goals to chase Bowling Green starter Andrew Hammond from the net en route to a 6-1 whipping of the Falcons. Senior Jeremie Dupont made 25 saves for the Mavericks as Dean Blais’ troops continue to play well down the stretch. UNO goes for the sweep tonight at 8:05pm EST from Qwest Center.
#2 Miami Moves back to #1 in Pairwise Rankings
Denver, Colo. – With #15 Colorado College’s 2-1 victory over #1 Denver, Miami flipped a comparison with the Pioneers moving the RedHawks back into the top position in the Pairwise rankings that largely determine the NCAA tournament field. This means Miami would be the #1 overall seed in the tournament if the season ended today. Colorado College and Denver will play again tonight in Colorado Springs. Should the Tigers sweep the Pioneers, it will likely propel Miami back to the top of the national polls as well. Sometimes it pays to have a week off.