Season 4 Episode 22 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; Sloppy Endings. This week Tim Braun, Dustin Lindstrom, Rob Gilreath and Matt Cavender were joined by Jack Hittinger who covers the CCHA for USCHO. In this episode they discussed Jack’s perception of the CCHA, predictions for CCHA year-end league awards, the upcoming CCHA playoffs, Tech’s upcoming series against Minnesota State and the Joe Shawhan Hour.
What does Jack think of the CCHA?
Jack thought that the league was similar this year to what he’s seen in years past. The guys talked about how wide open the league has been this season and how nice the parity in the league has been. They discussed Tech’s season to this point and how much the team has out performed their expectations to this point. The guys also talked about the former media poll that Jack used to assemble for USCHO.
Predicting year-end CCHA awards
All of the guys were in agreement that Tech head coach Joe Shawhan should win coach of the year in the CCHA. Matt thought that St. Thomas head coach Rico Blasi could be in the conversation given the Tommies season, but ultimate said that it would be a losing argument.
Jack thought the MVP race would come down to Bowling Green forward Austen Swankler, Minnesota State forward David Silye and Michigan Tech goaltender Blake Pietila. Jack didn’t want to try and predict who the coaches would predict, but thought that it would come down to either Silye or Pietila. Tim provided some stats to highlight Pietila compared to other goaltenders in the league and made a case why Blake should win goaltender of the year.
Shifting to defenseman, Tim thought that it would come down to Minnesota State’s Akito Hirose or Bemidji State’s Elias Rosen. After Tim provided some stats on the two, Jack thought it was a tossup and that this weekend could decide who wins the award.
The guys saved the toughest award for last: CCHA Rookie of the Year. If you want to hear their discussion on this topic, you’ll need to become a Patron of the podcast!
Tim brought up the current Probability Matrix and Playoff Status updates to the show. According to Playoff Status Tech has a 90% chance to make the NCAA Tournament and Probability Matrix has their chances at 93%. The guys discussed Alaska Fairbanks’ chances to make the NCAA Tournament, which lead to a conversation about the independent teams forming a league of their own. The guys discussed Dustin’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) graph and how wide open the NCAA Tournament field seedings are at this time.
Wrapping up the CCHA season
Tim pointed out that Tech is guaranteed to finish no worse than second in the league and if Tech can take five or six points against Minnesota State then they will be outright CCHA champions. Dustin predicted that the upcoming series would be a straight split and Tech misses out on winning the MacNaughton Cup. Tim agreed with Dustin. Matt unleashed his inner homer and picked Tech to win outright. The guys talked about contingency plans in the event the winter storm prevents Tech from getting to Minnesota State in time for the games.
Tim asked the group who they thought would get the fourth home ice spot. Jack and Tim both thought Bemidji State would get the job done. The guys then discussed some of the tiebreaker scenarios should Northern Michigan and Bemidji State end up tied in the standings.
The Joe Shawhan Hour
The guys briefly discussed the Joe Show, mostly revolving around Joe’s comments about needing to get a Tim Horton’s in Houghton.
Cut for time
This week’s cut time for Patrons is approximately 21 minutes long. The guys discussed the CCHA rookie of the year award. The guys talked about holding the MacNaughton Cup if Tech wins it. Tim talked about cutting the cord on his satellite TV service. The guys talked about the Bemidji State broadcast and their willingness to answer questions on the air and Tech’s gold jerseys. There was a discussion on restaurants in Bemidji. Tim looked for some connections to help continue with the THG jersey order.
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