PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sr. | F | Kamloops, British Columbia
His Statistics: 4-2—6 in a sweep of Ohio State, including a hat trick Friday.
His Impact: If you hadn’t taken notice of Ferris State’s fine start of the season prior to this past weekend’s sweep of Ohio State, the Bulldogs emphatically announced themselves as a team to be reckoned with in the CCHA in a pair of noteworthy wins. Blair Riley was a big part of the weekend sweep and is this week’s INCH National Player of the Week.
Riley factored in half of Ferris State’s scoring bonanza with three goals and an assist in Friday’s 8-1 win. Riley added a goal and assist in Saturday’s comeback victory, during which the Bulldogs trailed by three goals on three separate occasions. Riley scored his goal, his 12th of the year, with 8:13 to play in the third period and it brought the Bulldogs to within one. They later tied the score with a power-play goal with 51 seconds left in the period, assisted by Riley, and won it with another PPG 4:38 into overtime.
Riley’s 12 goals and 16 points lead the Bulldogs. He has shown offensive upside throughout his Ferris State career, including a 14-goal, 24-point campaign as a sophomore.
His Runners-Up: Chris Auger, UMass Lowell; Joe Colborne, Denver; Cory Conacher, Canisius; Brad Hunt, Bemidji State; David McIntyre, Colgate
The INCH Player of the Week is presented by The INCH Shop
What better way to get the holiday season started the right way than by offering some delights in the college hockey schedule? This week’s slate includes seven games on Tuesday—including a couple of good matchups when Colgate visits Cornell and Massachusetts visits Vermont—and a pair of games on Wednesday. The non-conference matchups highlight the weekend slate with Miami, Bemidji State, and Ohio State heading to North Dakota for the Subway Holiday Classic and Michigan State and Michigan hosting Wisconsin and Minnesota in the annual College Hockey Showcase.
As reported by Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald, WCHA brass recently conducted an emergency conference call with the NCAA Rules Committee. It seems they wanted a clarification on hits to the head. Chris Dilks of the Western College Hockey Blog reported on the answer the WCHA received, as issued by NCAA secretary-rules editor Steve Piotrowski:
“A player shall not make contact with an opposing player’s head or neck area in any manner,” and added the notation: “The rules committee instructs officials to use a zero tolerance policy in this area.”
Seems pretty clear to us, and we didn’t need a conference call.
“At the end of the first (period), stuff really got wild and the last two periods were nuts. It was really fun to play in. I felt a little tired, maybe more from my exams schedule, but overall I felt pretty good.”
“It’s definitely entertaining to watch and entertaining to be a part of. Testosterone gets going amongst the guys.”
Denver goalie Marc Cheverie uttered both of those quotes to the Denver Post‘s Mike Chambers following Friday’s 34-save, 1-0 shutout win over North Dakota. Not surprisingly, the contest featured numerous post-whistle scrums and plenty of tenacity between the clubs. We get the feeling that Chevy wouldn’t have minded the old-time hockey era.
Honestly, the weekly First Shift isn’t meant to be used solely as a metaphorical Michigan punching bag even though it might seem like it in recent weeks. So this week we’re not so much pointing toward the Wolverines’ on-ice performance as much as the national rankings voters that have deemed their efforts thus far worthy of recognition. Michigan, tied for ninth place in the CCHA and a team with a 5-7-0 overall record received enough points to rank second of others receiving votes (22nd) in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll and fourth of others receiving votes (19th) in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
@Steve Rushin Got hatted at the Giants game y’day. Lady asked for ID. I removed my hat. She howled at my bald head and handed me a beer.
The more senior members of the INCH staff nodded and chuckled after reading the tweet from Rushin, the former Sports Illustrated scribe. Sometimes it is easier to doff the cap instead of digging your driver’s license out of your pocket. Humbling? Yes, but still more convenient.