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October 09, 2008 - Image 14

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2C - Faceoff 2008 - Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008 - Faceoff 2008 - 7C

FACEOFF 2008

Have questions about Michigan
hockey? Goalies, offense, coaching
and more, the answers are here.
A tale of opposites: senior
captain Mark Mitera and
junior alternate captain forgo
,, Kthe pros to lead Michigan.

Breakdown of the CCHA. Which
teams are on the rise and which
might fail to meet high expecta-
tions.
Who will win it all this season?
The hockey beat reporters makes
their best predictions about the
CCHA and the Frozen Four.

2008-2009
_SCHEDULE
Date Opponent Time Site
10/10 St. Lawrence 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
10/11 St. Lawrence 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
10/17 Northern Michigan 7:35 p.m. Marquette, Mich.
10/18 Northern Michigan 7:35 p.m. Marquette, Mich.
10/23 Niagara 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
10/25 Boston University 7:05 p.m. Boston, Mass.
10/31 Ohio State 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
11/1 Ohio State 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
11/7 Alaska 7:05 AST Fairbanks, Alaska
11/8 Alaska 7:05 AST Fairbanks, Alaska
11/14 Western Michigan 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
11/15 Western Michigan 7:35 p.m. Kalamazoo, Mich.
11/21 Miami (Ohio) 7:35 p.m. Oxford, Ohio
11/22 Miami (Ohio) 7:35 p.m. Oxford, Ohio
11/28 Minnesota 7:05 CST Minneapolis, Minn.
11/29 Wisconsin 7:05 CST Madison, Wis.
12/5 Michigan State 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
12/6 Michigan State 7:05 p.m. East Lansing, Mich.
12/27 Michigan Tech 3:05 p.m. Detroit, Mich.
12/28 MSU/North Dakota 3:00/6:00 Detroit, Mich.
1/9 Miami (Ohio) 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
1/10 Miami (Ohio) 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
1/16 Bowling Green 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
1/17 Bowling Green 7:35 p.m. Bowling Green, Ohio
1/23 Michigan State 7:35 p.m. Detroit, Mich.
1/24 Michigan State 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
1/30 Notre Dame 8:05 p.m. South Bend, Ind.
1/31 Notre Dame 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
2/6 Lake Superior State 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
2/7 Lake Superior State 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
2/13 Nebraska-Omaha 7:35 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
2/14 Nebraska-Omaha 8:05 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
2/20 Ohio State 7:05 p.m. Columbus, Ohio
2/21 Ohio State 8:05 p.m. Columbus, Ohio
2/27 Ferris State 7:05 p.m. Big Rapids, Mich.
2/28 Ferris State 8:05 p.m. Ann Arbor, Mich.
3/13 CCHA Quarterfinal TBA Campus Sites
3/20 CCHA Final TBA Detroit, Mich.
3/27 NCAA Regional TBA TBA
4/9 Frozen Four TBA Washington, D.C.

Last year, the Mavericks featured the best power play in the NCAA,
converting at a 23.9-percent clip. Will Nebraska-Omaha's special teams
keep up that pace this year? Don't bet on it. Nebraska-Omaha lost all three forwards from
their first-team power play. Although they return the entire second unit, the Mavericks will
be hard-pressed to live up to last season's production.
The status of the Maverick goaltending is a big concern. Fans will remember the 10-1
shellacking Michigan gave Nebraska-Omaha during last year's CCHA playoffs, in which the
Mavericks used three goalies. If they hope to improve, their goalies will have to step up.
If the Mavericks exceed expectations and continue their rapid-fire success on the man-
advantage, they could finish higher than predicted in the CCHA standings.

WESTERN MICHIGAN
Things can't get much worse for
the Broncos. Last season's conference doormat was
outscored nearly two-to-one en route to an eight-win
season and a last place finish in the CCHA.
The only player to tally double-digit goals last year,
junior Cam Watson, returns along with Patrick Galivan
and Max Campbell, who combined for 53 points last
season. Those three are among the few forwards who
are guaranteed a lot of playing time. Coach Jim Culhane
has brought in seven forwards in this year's recruiting
class and wants them all to compete for minutes.
The Broncos suffered 10 one-goal losses last season.
Cuihane believes improving puck-handling and main-
taining possessions can reverse those results. Cuihane
also may split time between junior and sophomore
goaltenders Riley Gill and Jerry Kuhn. Both had dismal
records last season, overshadowing their .900-plus save
percentages.

NEBRASKA OMAHA

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The Lakers finished last year with a disappointing ninth-place finish in
the CCHA. Like many teams in the conference, Lake Superior State simply couldn't compete
with the upper-echelon teams, going 2-12-2 against .500-or-better opponents.
Lake Superior State lost just three seniors and return leading goal scorer Nathan Perk-
ovich, who had 17 goals last season. Lake Superior State's biggest weakness is their goal-
tending. Both junior Pat Inglis and sophomore Brian Mahoney-Wilson, who split time last
season, finished with sub-.900 save percentages.
If the Lakers want to have a successful season, they will need to win early. Lake Superior
State's schedule is back-loaded, with Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Miami and
Northern Michigan. That's tough for even the best teams in the league.

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ALASKA

11

Junior forward Dion Knelson is the only double-digit scorer returning
to a Nanooks squad that averaged an anemic 2.3 goals per game in 2007-08. For Alaska to
improve upon last year's 9-21-5 record, new head coach Dallas Ferguson, an Alaska hockey
alum, will need to be pleasantly surprised by many of the Nanooks' 12 freshmen.
Alaska returns five seniors, and it will be critical for them to take control of the locker
room. One of those seniors, projected starting goalie Chad Johnson may hold the key to the
entire season. Johnson went 0-6-0 last year, with a 3.36 goals-against average and a .893
save percentage. If he exceeds expectations, he can buy the Nanook forwards some time to
develop early in the season. If his stats mirror his career numbers, Alaska could suffer a lot
of bad losses and find itself buried at the bottom of the conference by Christmas.

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