Reasons to Watch the CCHA: Anticipated Showdown on the Shores of Lake Superior

Fan enthusiasm for college hockey’s opening weekend is usually tempered by a variety of innocuous matchups: exhibition series with Canadian universities, regional competitions that don’t count in the standings, and lopsided non-conference tilts. .

At first glance, the CCHA schedule seemed to be more or less the same until BOOM! Two boats collide near the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Northern Michigan vs. Bowling green

Both schools have seen a rebound in preseason polls, and both are set to challenge for home ice in the Mason Cup playoffs in March.

2022 Bowling Green vs. Northern Michigan – Men

Their two-game set on the extra wide sheet at Marquette kicks off Saturday. That’s a potential swing of 12 points in the CCHA rankings, if one club swept the other. These are points that will be valuable in the last week of February.

It’s more than the math that makes these games so appealing – must-watch TV for fans as far away as Los Angeles – it’s the skill, both raw and refined.

More on the City of Angels later. We’ll start with the race for the league’s top rookie.

Host Northern Michigan boasts of throwing CCHA Rookie of the Year Joey Larson, the 6-foot-1 USHL lumberjack Muskegon. Last season, Larson scored 32 goals as a winger in the nation’s top junior league.

Bowling Green against with defenseman Dalton Norris, a surefire prospect with clean bloodlines, a guy who led all USHL defensemen last year with 19 power-play goals.

Coach Ty Eigner hasn’t guaranteed Norris a spot in the Falcons’ two PP units, saying Wednesday that Norris is just one of “13 players vying for the 10 spots.”

But once Norris starts unloading killer shots from the point, he should be locked on the BG PP for the rest of his career.

Watching Norris defend Larson for two consecutive games will set the chalk for the season-ending Rookie of the Year watch, perhaps beyond the CCHA.

2022 Bowling Green vs. Northern Michigan – Men

Both teams have strong ties to Southern California.

Northern has two veteran scorers returning to Marquette from greater Los Angeles: points-per-game distributor Andre Ghantous will feed Vincent De Mey, a 6-foot-1 finisher, who is looking to add to his career tally of 33 goals.

On the Falcon side of the puck, LA Kings fans have a clearly defined interest in Bowling Green. Kings general manager Rob Blake and director of player personnel Nelson Emerson both have sons debuting for their alma mater.

Jack Blake plays defense like his dad, and Quinn Emerson will be up front like his old man, the Brown and Orange’s all-time top scorer. But the elder Emerson insists it’s grossly unfair to the hockey world to expect the kids’ production to mirror their prodigious parents.

“Context is important,” said Nelson Emerson. “We want the boys to chart their own path and not have comparisons with us old folks.”

Keep an eye on this space, as FloHockey follows the echoes of two of BGSU’s all-time greats.

If Bowling Green is to be wrecked in northern Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior this weekend, it will likely come from the blades of deadly teammates Austen Swankler and Nathan Burke. The two combined for 24 goals and 49 points last season, the lion’s share of that production coming at the critical moment.

The most important game of the series, as always, is in goal.

After successful labral surgery, BGSU senior Zack Rose has the edge over Wildcats second student Charlie Glockner. So it would seem to be a series of pick’em: BGSU’s advantage in the goal canceled out by Northern’s home ice. That’s not the case, according to Draft Kings.

The online betting site has declared host Northern a 1.5 goal favorite over Bowling Green.

Giving the Falcons a goal and a half should be more than enough for Eigner’s men in brown.

If the same odds are available on Sunday, jump ahead to watch. The guys who set the lines at Draft Kings didn’t properly assess BGSU’s new fortified lineup.

If Bowling Green pulls off the road sweep this weekend, not only would it make readers of that space richer, but the six-point gap in the standings would create a major headache for North coach Grant Potulny.

Imagine a crisis on the first Monday in October. Welcome to CCHA. Coverage begins Saturday at 6 p.m. EST on FloHockey.