- Falcons and Huskies in Top 20: Following their weekend split in Houghton, No. 15 Bowling Green and No. 19 Michigan Tech (up one spot) are the WCHA representatives in this week's USCHO.com poll. Both schools are receiving votes in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine poll, while Minnesota State and Alaska Anchorage received votes in the USCHO.com ledger.
- Competitive Balance: Six of the WCHA's ten teams are at .500 or better overall (and in conference play), while a pair of schools are playing .600 hockey: Alaska Anchorage (6-3-1, .650) and Michigan Tech (.600, 6-4-0).
- Remaining Hot in Anchorage: Alaska Anchorage's .650 winning percentage is tied for the 15th-best mark in the country, while the 6-3-1 Seawolves are just two wins shy of matching their entire 2014-15 victory output (8-22-4). A season after finishing in last place with just 12 points, UAA is tied for fourth in the WCHA standings with seven points in its first six league games. The WCHA's top offense by goals per game (3.20) and points per contest (8.80), Alaska Anchorage has received 65.9 percent of its point production from freshmen and sophomores (58 of 88).
- Splitsville: All three WCHA series last weekend resulted in splits, continuing an early-season trend. To date, there have been only four sweeps over the first 16 league series (25.0 percent). By contrast, 11 of the first 15 WCHA series in 2014-15 were sweeps (73.3 pct.).
- Road Warriors: Road teams have held the upper hand thus far in WCHA play, posting three of the four league sweeps and combining for an overall 15-13-4 record (.531).
- Clutch Cooper: Bowling Green senior forward Mark Cooper lifted the Falcons to a 3-2 win Saturday at Michigan Tech with his third game-winning goal of the season - tied for second-most in the country. Cooper is also tied for fourth nationally (tied for tops in the WCHA) with four goals in the third period and overtime.
- Young Gun: Ferris State freshman forward Corey Mackin, the WCHA coaches' choice as Preseason Rookie of the Year, leads all scorers in WCHA play with 10 points and is third in the overall conference race with 12 points, just one behind the co-leaders (both upperclassmen). He is tied for 14th among all NCAA rookies with an average of 1.00 points per game.
- Extra Special: Alaska Anchorage's Tad Kozun is tied for second nationally with four power-play goals, while Bemidji State's Graeme McCormack is tied for fourth with seven points (3g-4a). As a team, Bemidji State is just one of three NCAA schools to rank in the top 15 for both power-play (seventh at 27.3 pct.) and penalty-kill efficiency. (t-13th at 87.8 pct.) Michigan Tech, meanwhile, boasts the NCAA's top combined special teams mark at 59.0 percent (49-for-83).
By the Numbers
- 0.86: Goals-per-game average, tied for third-best nationally, by UAH sophomore F Brennan Saulnier.
- 29: Years between Alaska Anchorage victories over Ferris State (0-9-1 between victories on Dec. 19, 1986 and Nov. 14, 2015), and years since Michigan Tech's last game in East Lansing (Nov. 26, 1986). The Huskies haven't won at Michigan State since Dec. 12, 1981.
The Week Ahead
- Alabama Huntsville at No. 15 Bowling Green: After a week off, Alabama Huntsville travels to Bowling Green to face the 15th-ranked Falcons. BGSU leads the all-time series 14-3-1, including a 7-1-1 mark on home ice.
- Alaska at Ferris State: The Bulldogs will host the Nanooks, along with the 73rd and 74th consecutive sellouts of the FSU student section at Ewigleben Ice Arena. Alaska has won the last four meetings between the schools.
- Minnesota State at Northern Michigan: The Mavericks, 6-2-0 in their last eight games, will travel to the UP to face a Wildcats team that is 3-0-1 at the Berry Events Center. Minnesota State leads the series 6-1-1, with all the meetings coming since 2013-14.
- Lake Superior State at Bemidji State: The Lakers and Beavers will both be looking to move up the WCHA ladder. The series dates back to 1966-67, including four meetings in the NAIA national championship game (BSU won three). LSSU won both games last year.
- WCHA-Big Ten: Two WCHA-Big Ten nonconference series are set for this weekend. No. 19 Michigan Tech travels to East Lansing to face Michigan State, while Alaska Anchorage will host Penn State.
The Week in Review
- No. 15 Bowling Green and No. 20 Michigan Tech each earned a win in Houghton to split the series between the two ranked WCHA opponents.
- Another series split saw visiting Ferris State win an overtime thriller Friday, before Alaska Anchorage bounced back with a commanding win in the series finale.
- Alaska and Bemidji State also split their series at the Sanford Center, with the Beavers' victory in the Saturday finale marking their first WCHA win of the season.
- Lake Superior State hosted Division I newcomers Arizona State for a weekend series in which the Sun Devils posted a pair of one-goal victories for the sweep.
- Minnesota State faced off against Minnesota for a home-and-home series over the weekend where each team picked up a road win - the Mavs in dramatic, comeback fashion.
- Full recaps, box scores and select video highlights are available online at wcha.com.
at No. 20 Michigan Tech 2, No. 15 Bowling Green 0
No. 15 Bowling Green 3, at No. 20 Michigan Tech 2
(Nov. 13 and 14 at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena; Houghton, Mich.)
No. 15 Bowling Green and No. 20 Michigan Tech each earned a win in Houghton to split the series between the two ranked WCHA opponents.
Michigan Tech senior goaltender Jamie Phillips posted a 22-save shutout in Friday night's 2-0 Huskies victory. The shutout was the eighth of Phillips's career, making him the all-time program leader. Cliff Watson scored just 22 seconds into the game, while Matt Roy potted an insurance marker at 16:44 of the third period. BGSU netminder Chris Nell stopped 39-of-41 shots in the loss.
MTU's Tyler Heinonen opened scoring up 7:41 into Saturday's series finale, but Bowling Green was able to find the back of the net twice on a five-minute power play to give the Falcons their first lead of the weekend (goals by Tyler Spezia and Matt Pohlkamp). Tech tied the contest heading into the third period, but Bowling Green's Mark Cooper scored the eventual game-winner 4:09 into the final stanza for a 3-2 Falcons win. BGSU senior goalie Tommy Burke made 30 saves for the win.
Ferris State 3, at Alaska Anchorage 2 – OT
At Alaska Anchorage 5, Ferris State 0
(Nov. 13 and 14 at Sullivan Arena; Anchorage, Alaska)
Another series split saw visiting Ferris State win an overtime thriller Friday, before Alaska Anchorage bounced back with a commanding win in the series finale.
Ferris State scored all three of their goals on the power play Friday night, as the Seawolves were plagued with 41 penalty minutes throughout the game. Man-advantage goals by Corey Mackin and Simon Denis staked the Bulldogs to a 2-1 lead, but UAA's Jarrett Brown scored short-handed to tie the game 9:51 into the third period. In overtime, FSU's Kyle Schempp buried the game-winner on the power play for a 3-2 victory.
Alaska Anchorage responded with a 5-0 win Saturday night. The Seawolves received two-goal games from sophomore forwards Matt Anholt (who also had an assist) and Tad Kozun (both scores on the power play). Fellow sophomore Olivier Mantha turned in a 25-save shutout. The victory ended a nine-game losing streak to the Bulldogs and was the Seawolves' first win against Ferris State since 1986.
Alaska 4, at Bemidji State 3
at Bemidji State 6, Alaska 3
(Nov. 13 and 14 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)
Alaska and Bemidji State also split their series at the Sanford Center, with the Beavers' victory in the Saturday finale marking their first WCHA win of the season.
Bemidji State had the lead two separate times in the series opener Friday night, but was unable to hold on as Alaska battled back each time for an eventual 4-3 victory. UAF junior F Brandon Morley was the star of the night, netting a hat trick for the Nanooks (tying the game first at 2-2, then at 3-3). Zach Frye's short-handed goal at the 3:07 mark of the third period was the game-winner, as the Nanooks and freshman goalie Jesse Jenks (31 saves) held on.
Bemidji State got off to another two-goal lead in the first period on Saturday night and snapped a 2-2 tie with a four-goal third en route to the 6-3 win. Brendan Harms put the stamp on a four-point weekend with a first-period goal, while Nate Arentz, Markus Gerbrandt (power-play game-winner), Leo Fitzgerald and Kyle Bauman all scored in the final stanza. Freshman Jay Dickman netted his first collegiate goal, while junior Reid Mimmack - in his first regular-season appearance since March 7, 2014 - made 20 saves for the win. With the win, the Beavers snapped a seven-game winless streak (0-5-2).
Arizona State 3, at Lake Superior State 2
Arizona State 3, at Lake Superior State 2 – OT
(Nov. 13 and 14 at Taffy Abel Arena; Soult St. Marie, Mich.)
Lake Superior State hosted Division I newcomers Arizona State for a weekend series in which the Sun Devils posted a pair of one-goal victories for the sweep.
James Roll helped get the Lakers out to a one-goal lead on a second period power play goal Friday night, but ASU responded with three unanswered goals. Owen Headrick brought the Lakers within one at the 3:41 mark of the third period, but LSSU could not find the equalizer.
The Lakers outshot the Sun Devils 36–31 in Saturday's series finale, but fell short in overtime. LSSU tied the score with just 52 seconds remaining in regulation on Gus Correale's first goal of the season, but ASU scored with 32 ticks remaining in overtime for the win. Lakers' freshman Anthony Nellis recorded his third assist of the weekend in the loss, while Diego Cuglietta scored his first collegiate goal.
Minnesota 4, at Minnesota State 0
Minnesota State 3, at Minnesota 2 – OT
(Nov. 13 at Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn. and Nov. 14 at Mariucci Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)
Minnesota State faced off against Minnesota for a home-and-home series over the weekend where each team picked up a road win - the Mavs in dramatic, comeback fashion.
Despite outshooting the visiting Gophers 31 – 25, the Mavericks went 0-for-5 on the power play and were never able to get things going offensively on Friday night in a 4-0 loss.
The two teams travelled to Minneapolis for Saturday night's series finale, which featured more of the same for the first 46-plus minutes. Trailing 2-0 with under four minutes remaining, Minnesota State scored two extra-attacker goals to force overtime. Bryce Gervais started the comeback at the 16:28 mark, before Brett Knowles tied the game with just 45 seconds remaining in regulation. Then, with just 43 seconds remaining in the extra stanza, Teddy Blueger slid the puck under the Gophers' netminder to give Minnesota State a 3-2 win and series split. Freshman goaltender Jason Pawloski improved to 3-0-0 with a 24-save effort.