The votes are in and, while it was close, we have a new team at the top of the leaderboard. Northern Michigan beat out Minnesota State by a single point to take the first-place finish. While both teams have had strong performances over the last two months, the Mavericks have a slightly better record, but the Wildcats arguably had the stronger opposing schedule.
Minnesota State spent their weekend at home, playing hosts to the United States National Team Development Program U18 team, whom they beat 5-3 to go up to 2-0-2 in the all-time record. Next weekend, they’ll stay home again, this time hosting Alaska-Anchorage for the Mavericks’ first conference games in what will then be three weeks.
Further down the table, Ferris State moved up a spot after sweeping Michigan Tech at home over the weekend to the tune of 4-3/3-1. It’s an odd move in that Ferris moving up a spot came with the caveat that Alabama-Huntsville had to move down to make room; the Chargers split with Bemidji this weekend, each winning a game 5-1. Somehow, despite this, they didn’t also manage to leapfrog the Huskies who occupy the next spot up.
Perhaps more strangely, the Huskies managed at least a 2nd-place vote this week on the heels of a messy showing that highlighted the importance of staying out of the box. The Huskies managed only 2-11 on the power play while giving up 4-8 to the Bulldogs when killing their own penalties. Further, on Friday night, the Huskies’ goaltending staff of Packy Munson and Devin Kero combined for a poor .778 SV%. As seen in the cover photo for this article, fans were willing to voice their displeasure with the tack this season has taken. Several Huskies players were out sick or injured this week, which may be considered a mitigating factor in voting, but it still doesn’t change a poor result on the weekend.
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Cover photo credit Ryan Johnson.