- Falcons Fly WCHA Banner in Polls: After posting a 4-2-1 record while playing six of their first seven games on the road, No. 14/15 Bowling Green is the lone WCHA representative in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. Michigan Tech, Minnesota State, Alaska Anchorage and Ferris State all received votes in the USCHO.com poll.
- Hot Start in Anchorage: Under third-year head coach Matt Thomas, Alaska Anchorage is 5-2-1 and off to its best eight-game start since the 2008-09 season. The Seawolves' 5-1-1 mark after seven games was their best since the 1991-92 season (6-1-0), UAA's second-to-last campaign as a Division I independent.
- Charging Ahead: Another third-year bench boss, Alabama Huntsville's Mike Corbett, has his Chargers at 3-2-1 - marking the first time UAH has been above .500 since a three-game stay in Oct. 2009 (2-1-0, 3-1-0 and 3-2-0).
- Minnesota State Back on Track: The coaches' choice as preseason league favorite, Minnesota State is back to .500 overall after winning each of the first four WCHA games. The Mavericks are now 45-11-4 (.783) in league play over the last three seasons.
- Competitive Balance: Seven of the WCHA's ten teams are at .500 or better overall, led by Alaska Anchorage (.688, 5-2-1), Bowling Green (.643, 4-2-1), Alabama Huntsville (.583, 3-2-1) and Northern Michigan (.562, 3-2-3).
- October Players of the Month: The WCHA has introduced Player and Rookie of the Month awards, with October accolades going to UAH sophomore forward Brennan Saulnier and Northern Michigan freshman goaltender Atte Tolvanen. Saulnier was the nation's top goal-scorer (per games played) in the season's opening month, netting six in five games for an average of 1.20 per contest; additionally, he led the WCHA and was sixth nationally among players who participated in more than two October games with a 1.80 points-per-game average. Tolvanen faced the second-most shots of any NCAA goaltender in October (258) and finished with the second-most saves (243), while playing the second-most minutes (452:37). Among the 30 NCAA goalies that faced at least 150 shots last month, Tolvanen ranked fifth for save percentage (.942) and sixth for goals-against-average (1.99) - tops among freshmen.
By the Numbers
- 5(th): National rank for Bowling Green sophomore Chris Nell in both GAA (1.14) and save percentage (.957).
- 10 and 25: WCHA-leading goals and point totals for the Lake Superior State freshmen class, good for sixth and fifth in the nation, respectively.
- 400: Career coaching victories for Bob Daniels, all at Ferris State. Currently in his 24th season behind the Bulldogs bench, Daniels is 27th on the NCAA Division I all-time wins list (eighth among active coaches). Daniels, who missed FSU's split last weekend at Michigan Tech due to a family matter but earned due credit for the milestone win, is expected back behind the Bulldog bench this weekend.
The Week Ahead
- Michigan Tech at Alabama Huntsville: The Huskies and Chargers will meet for the first time since the 2015 WCHA quarterfinals, a Tech sweep that included an epic, 3OT, 1-0 win in Game 1. Tyler Heinonen ended the second-longest game in WCHA history, a contest in which UAH goaltender Carmine Guerriero set the league single-game record with 76 saves.
- Northern Michigan at Alaska: After ending the season's first month in a tie for third place, NMU will travel to Fairbanks to face a Nanooks squad in search of its first WCHA points.
- Lake Superior State at No. 14/15 Bowling Green: Two former CCHA foes will revisit a 46-year-old rivalry this weekend, when the Falcons welcome the Lakers to the "Madhouse on Mercer."
- Minnesota State at Ferris State: The Mavericks will look to build on their eight-game winning streak against the Bulldogs, which includes victories in each of the past two WCHA Final Five tournaments. Ferris State's "Dawg Pound" student section will be filled with its 71st and 72nd-straight sellouts.
The Week in Review
- For the first time this season, all 10 WCHA teams were in action in five league series.
- Alaska Anchorage continued its impressive start with a split against No. 12 Bowling Green, which salvaged a road split behind a 25-save shutout from Chris Nell.
- Alabama Huntsville recorded its first-ever WCHA road sweep (and first brooming away from Huntsville since 2009), scoring 10 goals in a pair of victories at Lake Superior State.
- Northern Michigan freshman goaltender Atte Tolvanen continued his spectacular play with 80 saves (on 81 shots) as the Wildcats went 1-0-0 against Bemidji State. The teams played to a scoreless tie Friday - only the second time that has happened in BSU history and the third in NMU annals.
- Michigan Tech and Ferris State played the second and third one-goal games against each other (in four contests) this season, with the host Huskies winning in OT Friday night. The Bulldogs' 3-2 win Saturday was the 400th career victory for head coach Bob Daniels.
- Minnesota State upped its winning streak to four games - all in WCHA play - with a sweep of visiting Alaska.
- Full recaps, box scores and select video highlights are available online at wcha.com.
at Alaska Anchorage 4, No. 12 Bowling Green 2
No. 12 Bowling Green 2, at Alaska Anchorage 0
(Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Sullivan Arena; Anchorage, Alaska)
Alaska Anchorage continued its hot start, splitting with No. 12 Bowling Green. UAA's win in Saturday's series opener gave the Seawolves their best seven-game start (5-1-1) since the 1991-92 season.
A one-goal, two-assist effort from senior F Blake Tatchell helped the Seawolves to a 4-2 win in the opener, while a second-period, power-play goal from Chase Van Allen was the eventual game-winner (Cam Amantea and Tad Kozun both also lit the lamp for UAA). Olivier Mantha made 22 saves for the Seawolves, who led from the 18:06 mark of the first period.
The visiting Falcons responded with a 2-0 win in the Sunday afternoon finale, with Chris Nell posting a 25-save shutout for his second clean sheet of the season. Tyler Spezia (first period) and Kevin Dufour (second period, on the power play) both scored for Bowling Green.
Alabama Huntsville 5, at Lake Superior State 4 – OT
Alabama Huntsville 5, at Lake Superior State 0
(Oct. 30 and 31 at Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
Alabama Huntsville earned its first-ever WCHA road sweep (and first brooming away from Huntsville since 2009), scoring 10 goals in a pair of victories at Lake Superior State.
The host Lakers received a superb individual effort Friday from sophomore J.T. Henke, who recorded his first career hat trick. However, UAH's Brennan Saulnier scored twice in the first and Chargers' freshman Kurt Gosselin – in his collegiate debut – netted two goals in the third period to force overtime. Alabama Huntsville carried the momentum into the extra frame, with Cody Marooney scoring 1:07 into overtime for a 5-4 win.
LSSU actually outshot the Chargers, 31-19, on Saturday, but UAH junior G Matt Larose stopped every shot for the program's first shutout since current NHL netminder Cam Talbot had a clean sheet on March 12, 2010. Marooney (game-winner), Brandon Carlson, Chad Brears, Adam Wilcox and Tyler Poulsen all scored for UAH.
at Northern Michigan 0, Bemidji State 0 – OT
at Northern Michigan 3, Bemidji State 1
(Oct. 30 and 31 at Berry Events Center; Marquette, Mich.)
Behind stellar goaltending from freshman Atte Tolvanen (80 saves on 81 shots), Northern Michigan went 1-0-1 against visiting Bemidji State.
Both netminders recorded shutouts in Friday's series opener, a rare scoreless tie. BSU's Michael Bitzer had 22 saves, while Tolvanen recorded a career-high 46 stops in the scoreless tie.
Bemidji State got off to an early lead in Saturday night's rematch with a power-play goal from Cory Ward, but the Beavers were neutralized for the rest of the game thanks to Tolvanen and the Wildcat defense. Cohen Adair scored the game-winning goal for NMU, getting his first tally of the year in the Wildcats' 3-1 win (Robbie Payne and Darren Nowick also scored).
at No. 18 Michigan Tech 5, Ferris State 4 – OT
Ferris State 3, at No. 18 Michigan Tech 2
(Oct. 30 and 31 at John Maclnnes Student Ice Arena; Houghton, Mich.)
Intra-state rivals Ferris State and Michigan Tech wrapped up their season series with another thrilling weekend, featuring a pair of one-goal contests.
The visiting Bulldogs used a three-goal first period Friday to jump out a pair of two-goal leads, but Tech received scoring strikes from Tyler Heinonen, Alex Gillies, Joel L'Esperance and – with 5:33 remaining in regulation – Matt Roy to force overtime. Senior forward Malcolm Gould netted the overtime game-winner to give the Huskies a 5-4 triumph.
Michigan Tech outshot Ferris State 38-25 in Saturday's series finale, but a 36-save night by freshman G Darren Smith helped the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win. Kenny Babinski and Simon Denis scored in the first two periods for FSU, before Andrew Dorantes potted the game-winner with just 1:21 remaining in regulation. Although he missed the contest due to a family matter, the win was the 400th career victory for Ferris State bench boss Bob Daniels.
at Minnesota State 5, Alaska 2
at Minnesota State 2, Alaska 1
(Oct. 30 and 31 at Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.)
Minnesota State ran its winning streak to four games – all in WCHA play – with a sweep over visiting Alaska.
The Mavericks used a three-goal first period and a 45-15 edge in shots to propel them to a 5-2 Friday victory. MSU defenseman Sean Flanagan, who had not scored a goal since March 14, 2014, had a career night with two goals and two assists. Casey Nelson, Jon Jutzi and Bryce Gervais all scored for the Mavericks, while freshman G Jason Pawloski made 13 saves for the win.
The Nanooks jumped out to a 1-0, first-period lead Saturday on a goal by John Mullally, but were unable to find the back of the net for the remainder of the game as Minnesota State goaltender Cole Huggins made 19 saves in the second and third period combined. Teddy Blueger scored in the second period to tie the game for MSU, while the Mavericks' Brett Knowles potted the game-winner at the 12:45 mark of the third.