Perhaps the most top heavy conference in the country, the CCHA playoffs begin this weekend. The top 4 teams get byes, so we’ll be seeing the Northern Michigans and the Bowling Greens of the world this weekend.
Currently, the CCHA has the 2nd, 4th, 8th and 13th ranked teams in our power rankings.
It really comes down to Notre Dame, Michigan and Miami in this one, but which team will take it?
The favorite – 1. Notre Dame
The Irish took the league title by 8 points over 2nd place Michigan. Last year’s national runners-up have outscored their opponents by an incredible 60 goals on the season. Goaltender Jordan Pearce has been phenomenal this season, with a 1.72 GAA and a .929 save percentage. The CCHA has played very defensive this year, but those numbers are fantastic no matter where you put them. The Irish have four players with at least 14 goals, led by Christian Hanson’s 16. Senior Erik Condra leads the team with 35 points.
The Sleeper – 5. Ohio State
The Buckeyes haven’t scored in their last 24 power play chances, but they have a good chance to rectify that this weekend when they take on 12th seeded Bowling Green. Ohio State scored more goals than any CCHA team except for Michigan in the regular season, but they also allowed 103. Six Buckeyes have scored double digit goals, led by Senior Corey Elkins’s 15. The Buckeyes have also gotten a big boost from one of the best Freshmen in the country, Zac Dalpe, who has 13 goals and 10 assists. If the Buckeyes can get on top of a team early, they can rely on Dustin Carlson and his 2.47 GAA to hold off their opponents.
Our Pick – 2. Michigan
The Wolverines have really flown under the radar this year, and generally get left out of the discussion when talking about the nation’s top teams. But Michigan is right in line for a #1 seed and the CCHA playoff title would give it to them without question. Super Sophs Aaron Palushaj and Louie Caporusso have combined for 85 points, and Caporusso is 5th nationally in goals per game. Hobey candidate perhaps? Michigan has the 5th best offense in the country and 6th best defense. That offense-defense combo we believe will propel the Wolverines to the CCHA title.