WCHA Weekend Preview: Nov. 20 - 22, 2015
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
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15th-ranked Bowling Green hosts Alabama Huntsville this weekend

Opening Face-Off

- 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 since Michigan Tech's last game in East Lansing (Nov. 26, 1986). The Huskies haven't won at Michigan State since Dec. 12, 1981.


WCHA.tv

- Ten (10) WCHA games this weekend can be viewed live (or archived) via WCHA.tv.


All rankings listed by USCHO.com poll first, followed by USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll

WCHA

Alabama Huntsville (2-3-1, 5 pts. WCHA / 3-4-1) at No. 15 Bowling Green (2-2-2, 6 pts. WCHA / 5-3-3)
BGSU Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio Fri., Nov. 20 and Sat., Nov. 21 (both 7:07 p.m. ET)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- After a week off, Alabama Huntsville travels to Bowling Green to face the 15th-ranked Falcons.

- BGSU, which opens a three-series, six-game homestand, owns the second-longest active home unbeaten streak in the country at seven games (5-0-2, including 1-0-2 this season). Only Quinnipiac (eight games) is longer, while Denver and Boston University also have seven-gamers.

- BGSU is coming off a split at Michigan Tech (and is 3-0-0 following a loss this season), while the Chargers were swept at home by the Huskies in their last action Nov. 6 and 7.

- UAH is second in the WCHA for scoring offense at 3.00 goals per game, while BGSU leads the league defensively by allowing just 1.67 goals per contest.

- UAH sophomore F Brennan Saulnier is tied for third best nationally with a goals-per-game average at 0.86, potting six in seven games.

- BGSU sophomore G Chris Nell leads the WCHA and is third nationally for both GAA (1.20) and save percentage (.958).

- Bowling Green leads the all-time series 14-3-1, including a 7-1-1 mark on home ice.


Alaska (2-4-0, 4 pts. WCHA / 4-6-0) at Ferris State (4-4-0, 8 pts. WCHA / 5-5-2)
Ewigleben Ice Arena; Big Rapids, Mich. - Fri., Nov. 20 and Sat., Nov. 21 (both 7:07 p.m. ET)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- After both teams split on the road last weekend (FSU at UAA, UAF at BSU), the Bulldogs will host the Nanooks in Big Rapids.

- This weekend will mark the 73rd and 74th consecutive sellouts of the "Dawg Pound" FSU student section at Ewigleben Ice Arena.

- Alaska junior F Brandon Morley netted a hat trick against Bemidji State last weekend, giving him five goals on the season four in the last three games.

- UAF freshman G Jesse Jenks has won both of his first two career starts, including last Friday at Bemidji State, with a 2.50 GAA and .914 save percentage.

- On the other side, Ferris State rookie netminder Darren Smith is 4-1-1 with a 2.42 GAA and 9.22 save percentage in his first seven games (five starts).

- FSU freshman F Corey Mackin, the WCHA coaches' choice as Preseason Rookie of the Year, leads all scorers in WCHA play with 10 points (and is third overall with 12 points).

- Alaska has won the last four meetings between the schools, with Ferris State's last wins coming during a two-game home sweep Nov. 22-23, 2013.


Minnesota State (5-1-0, 10 pts. WCHA / 6-6-0) at Northern Michigan (3-2-1, 7 pts. WCHA / 4-3-3)
Berry Events Center; Marquette, Mich. Fri., Nov. 20 and Sat., Nov. 21 (both 7:07 p.m. ET)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- Minnesota State, 6-2-0 in its last eight games, will travel to the UP to face a Northern Michigan team that is 3-0-1 at the Berry Events Center.

- NMU was idle last weekend while the Mavericks split a home-and-home series with Minnesota, earning a dramatic, 3-2 comeback win on the road thanks to Teddy Blueger's OT game-winner last Saturday.

- Minnesota State junior D Casey Nelson is tied for second among all NCAA blue liners with a team-high 10 points (3g-7a).

- Mavericks' freshman G Jason Pawloski, who earned the win last Saturday, is 3-0-0 with a 2.37 GAA and .879 save percentage.

- Northern Michigan freshman netminder Atte Tolvanen is second in the WCHA with a .930 save percentage and third with a 2.31 GAA (third-best among all NCAA rookies).

- After an 0-for-16, four-game dry spell on the power play, the Wildcats went 4-for-8 in a 5-2 victory in their last game Nov. 7.

- Minnesota State leads the series 6-1-1, with all the meetings coming since 2013-14. The Mavericks are unbeaten in the last five meetings.


Lake Superior State (0-2-2, 2 pts. WCHA / 2-8-2) at Bemidji State (1-4-1, 3 pts. WCHA / 2-5-2)
Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn. Fri., Nov. 20 (7:37 p.m. CT) and Sat., Nov. 21 (7:07 p.m. ET)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- Bemidji State hosts Lake Superior State at the Sanford Center, with both teams looking to move up in the WCHA standings.

- The Beavers earned their first league win with a victory over Alaska last Saturday, while the Lakers were swept by visiting Arizona State in a nonconference series.

- Four of LSSU's last six games have gone to overtime, with the Lakers going 0-2-2.

- The Lakers lead the nation in power play opportunities with 62 through 12 games. LSSU has gone on the penalty kill 49 times, 10th nationally.

- BSU junior F Brendan Harms is the reigning WCHA Offensive Player of the Week after a four-point weekend (2g-2a) against Alaska, while sophomore F Gerry Fitzgerald continues to lead the Beavers with nine points (6g-3a).

- 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 and owns an all-time 26-21-2 advantage.


NONCONFERENCE

Penn State (0-0-0-0, Big Ten / 6-2-2) at Alaska Anchorage (3-2-1, 7 pts. WCHA / 6-3-1)
Sullivan Arena; Anchorage, Alaska Fri., Nov. 20 and Sat., Nov. 21 (both 7:07 p.m. AT)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- Alaska Anchorage will host Big Ten opponent Penn State for the first-time ever this weekend. The teams tied 3-3 in a meeting at the 2014 Brice Alaska Goal rush.

- 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).

- UAA has the WCHA's top offense by goals per game (3.20) and points per contest (8.80).

- The Seawolves' top four scorers Blake Tatchell (4g-9a13pts), Matt Anholt (4g-6a10pts), Tad Kozun (6g-2a8pts) and Jeremiah Luedkte (1g-7a8pts) are all among the WCHA's top-20 scoring leaders.


No. 19 Michigan Tech (6-4-0, 12 pts. WCHA / 6-4-0) at Michigan State (0-0-0-0, Big Ten / 4-4-1)
Munn Ice Arena; East Lansing, Mich. Sat., Nov. 21 (7:05 p.m. ET) and Sun., Nov. 22 (4:05 p.m. ET)

- No. 19 Michigan Tech will travel to East Lansing for the first time in 29 years to take on Big Ten opponent Michigan State. The Huskies' last game at MSU was Nov. 26, 1986.

- MTU is 14-5-1 in its last 20 games vs. teams from Michigan, including five series sweeps and eight wins on the road.

- Michigan Tech boasts the NCAA's top combined special teams mark at 59.0 percent (49-for-83). Tech senior G Jamie Phillips has played more minutes than any other WCHA goaltender (601:17), and is second in GAA (2.20).

- Michigan Tech holds an 80-73-3 edge in the series, but is 32-35-1 in East Lansing. The Huskies haven't been victorious in East Lansing since beating the Spartans 4-3 on Dec. 12, 1981.


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