- Falcons Soar into Top 10: Following an opening weekend home-and-home sweep of Ohio State, No. 10 Bowling Green has ascended into the top ten of both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. The Falcons will be tested immediately with a three-game, three-team, three-city road week beginning tonight (Oct. 13) at Western Michigan. BGSU will play at Canisius (Oct. 16) and at RIT (Oct. 17) this weekend.
- A Further Look at the Polls: No. 14 Minnesota State and No. 16 Michigan Tech give the WCHA three ranked teams in the USCHO.com poll, with Bemidji State (second-highest total in the category, just outside the top 20), Northern Michigan and Ferris State all in the "receiving votes" column. The Mavericks are No. 15 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, with MTU and NMU receiving votes.
- Welcome Back, Justin: This past weekend marked the return to the ice of Alaska Nanooks forward Justin Woods, who missed all of last season while undergoing successful treatment for a rare form of bone cancer. Woods totaled six blocks in two games over the weekend.
- Bemidji State Notches Another Upset: Following a power outage-induced postponement Friday in Duluth, Bemidji State opened its campaign with a thrilling 3-2 victory over No. 2/3 UMD on Saturday night. In their last 17 games dating back to last season (Jan. 23), the Beavers have posted five victories over top-10 opponents (No. 7 UMD, No. 1 Minnesota State, No. 6 Bowling Green and No. 2 MSU last season). BSU, which is 10-5-2 overall during that stretch, will get its next opportunity to slay a giant this weekend with a home-and-home against top-ranked North Dakota (whom the Beavers defeated on opening night last season in Grand Forks, when UND was ranked No. 2).
- Charging Ahead: Showing the program's continued progress, Alabama Huntsville posted an opening weekend win for the first time since 2010-11, defeating Connecticut 5-2 on Saturday to earn a split. Last season, the Chargers did not post their first victory until their ninth game (0-7-1); in 2013-14, the winless streak was 15 contests (0-15-0) out of the gate.
By the Numbers
- 2-0-0: One of seven teams nationally to post a pair of opening weekend wins, Bowling Green is 2-0-0 for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The school record season-opening winning streak is seven, set by the 1976-77 Falcons.
- 5: Only nine players in the country recorded at least five points during the season's first weekend, including Alabama Huntsville sophomore forward (and WCHA Offensive Player of the Week) Brennan Saulnier (3g-2a).
- 9: Saulnier's effort Saturday (2g-2a) was part of a nine-point effort (5g-4a) by UAH's top line (along with Max McHugh and Chad Brears) - the highest single-game output by a Charger line since Feb. 25, 2006.
- 1,600: Michigan Tech will play its 1,600th all-time WCHA game in the league opener Friday night. A founding member of the league and part of the WCHA for 60 seasons (except 1980-81 through 1983-84), the Huskies are 664-826-109 all-time in league play.
The Week Ahead
- Cup Quest Begins: The chase for the MacNaughton Cup, which has been decided by just a single point each of the last two years, begins this weekend when No. 16 Michigan Tech opens its season at Ferris State.
- More Nonconference Ahead: The WCHA will look to improve on its 5-9-3 opening weekend record with 11 more games against the NCHC (5), Atlantic Hockey (4) and ECAC Hockey (2).
- Brice Alaska Goal Rush: Tournament play will return to the Last Frontier for the second straight weekend, with Alaska hosting the Brice Alaska Goal Rush in Fairbanks. The Nanooks will welcome American International, RPI and Alaska Anchorage to Fairbanks.
- Wait, You Look Familiar: Upper Peninsula rivals and WCHA member schools Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan will face off in a nonconference home-and-home series this weekend.
The Week in Review – Games of Oct. 9-10, 2015
- No. 16 Bowling Green swept a home-and-home series with Ohio State - a pair of victories that vaulted the Falcons to No. 10 in this week's polls.
- Following a, power outage-induced postponement Friday in Duluth, Bemidji State upset No. 2/3 UMD on a goal with 22 seconds remaining Saturday.
- Alabama Huntsville posted an opening-weekend split for the first time since 2010-11, while Northern Michigan earned a pair of road ties.
- Alaska Anchorage won in thrilling fashion on opening night, while Ferris State rallied late for a tie in its Saturday evening home opener.
- Full recaps, box scores and select video highlights are available online at wcha.com.
No. 16 Bowling Green State 6, at Ohio State 3 at No. 16 Bowling Green State 2, Ohio State 0 (Oct. 9 at Columbus, Ohio and Oct. 10 at BGSU Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio)
No. 16 Bowling Green had a promising start to the 2015-16 season, sweeping a home-and-home series with intrastate rival Ohio State.
Bowling Green showed its high powered offense in Friday night's series opener, scoring twice in all three periods and registering 12 different players on the scoring sheet. Matt Pohlkamp and freshman John Schilling lead the way with a goal and assist each, while goals from Jacob Reichert, Kevin Dufour, Ben Murphy and Mark Cooper all contributed to the 6-3 Bowling Green victory.
Saturday's game was deadlocked until the third period behind the stellar goaltending of Falcons' netminder Chris Nell, who finished with 25 saves en route to his fourth career shutout. BGSU forwards Cooper (10:05 mark) and Pohlkamp (17:50) each scored in the final stanza for a 2-0 win.
at Bemidji State 3, No. 2/3 Minnesota Duluth 2 (Oct. 10 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)
A clutch goal by junior forward Charlie O'Connor with just 22 seconds remaining in regulation (off an assist from Brendan Harms) lifted Bemidji State to a 3-2 upset over No. 2/3 Minnesota Duluth in the Beavers' 2015-16 season opener Saturday night at the Sanford Center.
BSU goaltender Michael Bitzer stopped 28-of-30 shots, while making a dozen saves during a first period in which the Beavers were outshot 12-5 and another 11 during the decisive third frame.
The Beavers bounced back in the second period after a slow first period by outshooting the Bulldogs 13-6 and ending the period tied 1-1 following a power-play goal from John Parker. The third period began with an early goal from Beavers' Gerry Fitzgerald, but was answered by UMD 18 seconds later.
at Alabama Huntsville 2, Connecticut 5 at Alabama Huntsville 5, Connecticut 2 (Oct. 9 and 10 at Von Braun Center; Huntsville, Ala.)
Alabama Huntsville rebounded from a Friday night loss with a solid performance Saturday in a 5-2 win over Connecticut and a season-opening split.
WCHA Offensive Player of the Week Brennan Saulnier sparked Saturday's victory with two goals and two assists, part of a nine-point effort by the Chargers' top line (also Max McHugh and Chad Brears) – most by a Charger line since Feb. 25, 2006. Freshman Hans Gorowsky netted his first career goal.
UAH junior G Carmine Guerriero was solid between the pipes Saturday, turning back 29-of-31 shots in the Chargers' victory.
at Alaska Anchorage 3, Arizona State 2 No. 17 St. Cloud State 6, at Alaska Anchorage 2 (Kendall Hockey Classic - Oct. 9 and 10 at Sullivan Arena; Anchorage, Alaska)
Brad Duwe's overtime heroics lifted host Alaska Anchorage over Arizona State in the opening game of the Kendall Hockey Classic, before a Seawolves rally fell short against No. 17 St. Cloud State in the finale.
Trailing 2-1 Friday night, freshman defender Wyatt Ege found the back of the net at the 8:43 mark of the third period to force OT. Duwe delivered in the extra session, burying the game-winner with 1:44 remaining.
Second-period goals by Tad Kozun and Matt Anholt brought UAA within one at 3-2 Saturday, but it was not enough in an eventual 6-2 setback.
No. 12 St. Cloud State 3, vs. Alaska 0 Arizona State 2, vs. Alaska 1 (Kendall Hockey Classic - Oct. 9 and 10 at Sullivan Arena; Anchorage, Alaska)
Alaska opened its campaign at the Kendall Hockey Classic and struggled to find its offensive rhythm, scoring just once in a pair of losses.
Despite being outshot 30-14 in the opener, UAF remained close behind some solid goaltending by Davis Jones, who finished with 27 saves.
Nanooks' forward Tyler Morley gave UAF the 1-0 lead with a first-period goal Saturday, but Arizona State scored once in the second and once more with just 34 seconds remaining in regulation for the Sun Devils' first-ever DI victory.
vs. No. 4 North Dakota 5, Lake Superior State 2 vs. Michigan State 4, Lake Superior State 1 (Ice Breaker Tournament - Oct. 9 and 10 at Cross Insurance Arena; Portland, Maine)
Lake Superior State opened its season as the WCHA representative at the 19th annual Ice Breaker Tournament in Portland, Maine.
The Lakers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period of Friday's game against now-No.1 North Dakota on goals by sophomore J.T. Henke and freshman Mitch Hults. UND, however, would finish with five unanswered goals for the win.
A late first-period goal from freshman Gage Torrel tied Saturday's contest against Michigan State at 1-1, but the victorious Spartans scored once in the second and twice more in the third.
No. 10/11 Nebraska Omaha 3, at No. 6/9 Minnesota State 2 No. 10/11 Nebraska Omaha 2, at No. 6/9 Minnesota State 0 (Oct. 9 and 10 as Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.)
Minnesota State and Omaha played a pair of close games in a top-10 showdown this weekend in Mankato, with MSU falling twice.
The "Purple" Mavericks were down 3-0 in the middle of the second period Friday, until a goal from senior transfer Jimmy Mullin – his first in a Minnesota State uniform – started a rally. An early third period goal from C.J. Franklin got the Mavs within one, but they were unable to convert in the final minutes and fell in the season opener, 3-2.
Omaha was able to capitalize on two breakaway opportunities to give them a 2-0 win in the series finale, despite Minnesota State holding a 40-10 advantage on shots. Omaha goalie Evan Weninger earned his first career shutout.
Northern Michigan 2, at Wisconsin 2 – OT Northern Michigan 3, at Wisconsin 3 – OT (Oct. 9 and 10 at Kohl Center; Madison, Wis.)
Northern Michigan opened its season on the road and left Madison with a pair of ties against Big Ten opponent Wisconsin, thanks in large part to WCHA Rookie of the Week Atte Tolvanen. The freshman netminder logged a .930 save percentage by making 66 saves – tied for most in the nation on opening weekend – on 71 shots faced.
It took until the third period of Friday night's game until the Wildcats could find the back of the net, but NMU erased a 1-0 deficit with goals by Shane Sooth and Filip Starzynski. Wisconsin scored in the final minute to force OT.
NMU built an early Saturday on the strength of goals from John Siemer, Ryan Trenz and Jordan Klimek, but a pair of third-period, power-play goals enabled the Badgers to rally for a 3-3 tie.
While it does not count in the standings, the teams engaged in a shootout following both contests, with Northern Michigan winning both.
at No. 15 Michigan Tech 5, Laurentian 1 at No. 15 Michigan Tech 5, Laurentian 0 (Exhibitions - Oct. 9 and 10 at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena)
Michigan Tech tuned up for the regular season with a pair of exhibition victories over Laurentian University.
Brent Baltus and freshman Brett Boeing each scored twice for the Huskies on Friday, while Jamie Phillips played the entire game in net and made 16 saves.
Five different Tech players scored goals Saturday night, while a trio of Huskies goalies - Phillips, Matt Wintjes and Devin Kero - combined for an 18-save shutout. All five MTU goals came in the third period, with Mike Neville breaking the scoreless tie with his game-winner just 2:40 into the final stanza.