The CCHA has had a team in the past 4 Frozen Fours, and with Miami and Michigan looking strong heading into 2010-11, they have a chance to get five in a row. The conference features a solid top 3 in the Wolverines, Redhawks and Alaska, who last year went to the first NCAA tournament in the program’s history. Michigan State will look to get into that group, while Ferris State and Northern Michigan will look to build on their solid 2010 campaigns. The loss of Nebraska-Omaha and rumors about Penn State’s entry into the league combine to make this an intriguing year for the CCHA.
In CCHA land we have to start with Miami. The Redhawks have gone from up and coming team to legitimate national power in the span of the last two years. The Redhawks return perhaps the best player in the conference in Carter Camper, who will be getting serious Hobey consideration. The Redhawks will have to do without Tommy Wingels however, who left to sign with the San Jose Sharks. Miami returns the best goaltending duo in the country in Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp, who each had .921 save percentages. Miami led the country in scoring defense, giving up only 1.95 goals per game last year.
If Miami has the stingiest defense in the conference, then Michigan probably has the best offense. Carl Hagelin led the conference with 50 points last year (19 goals), and while he generally looks first to set teammates up, he has a great shot and can put up a ton of goals. He is supplemented by Louie Caporusso, who tied for the conference lead with 21 goals, and Matt Rust, who had 13 goals. Chris Brown was a highly touted Freshman who flew under the radar, but had 13 goals and 28 points for the Wolverines. Michigan has questions in goal, with Shawn Hunwick and Bryan Hogan both figuring to see time.
The third team with title aspirations is Alaska. The Nanooks made their first appearance in an NCAA tournament last year, and played Boston College very well before finally succumbing to the eventual national champs. Andy Taranto was probably the best Freshman in the country last year, posting 18 goals and 42 points for the Nanooks, almost singlehandedly driving their offense. Alaska also got some punch from the blueline as Joe Sova and Aaron Gens both were in the top 10 in defensemen scoring in the conference last year. Defensively, Scott Greenham was no Chad Johnson, but he did an admirable job, posting a .919 save percentage.
Player of the Year: Carl Hagelin, Michigan
F – Hagelin
F – Andy Taranto, Alaska
F – Louie Caporusso, Michigan
D – Will Weber, Miami
D – Chris Wideman, Miami
G – Cody Reichard, Miami
F – Carter Camper, Miami
F – Matt Rust, Michigan
F – Tommy Wingels, Miami
D – Joe Sova, Alaska
D – Matt Bartkowski, Ohio State Aaron Gens, Alaska
G – Connor Knapp, Miami