WCHA Weekend Preview: Dec. 11 - 12, 2015
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
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Two teams separated by just two points in the WCHA standings meet in Marquette when fourth-place Ferris State visits fifth-place Northern Michigan.

Opening Face-Off

- Falcons and Mavericks in Top 20: After playing to a pair of 2-2 draws last weekend, two teams with seven-game unbeaten streaks - Bowling Green (5-0-2) and Minnesota State (3-0-4) are the WCHA representatives in the national polls. The Falcons are No. 14 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine rankings, while the Mavericks - who are 8-2-4 in their last 14 contests - are back in the USCHO.com poll (No. 20) for the first time since the second week of the season. Two additional WCHA teams - Michigan Tech and Alaska Anchorage - are receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll.

- Competitive Balance: Nearing the halfway point of the league schedule (this weekend marks the exact half-way point, after which 70 of the 140 games will have been played), seven teams are .500 or better in WCHA play. The standings reflect a tightly-contested circuit in which every night brings a challenge: Only four points separate the top four teams, while an additional four points mean the difference between fourth place (and home ice for the WCHA playoffs) and eighth place.

- A Superior Turn: The owner of the WCHA's second-best winning percentage in conference play since the calendar turned to November? None other than Lake Superior State, which has gone 4-1-3 (.688) in its last eight league games. Led by sophomore Gordon Defiel (league-best 1.38 conference GAA since Nov. 1) and freshman Nick Kossoff (36-save shutout this past Saturday), LSSU has yielded just 10 goals over that eight-game span for a league-best 1.25 per-game average. The Lakers, who swept Alaska in Fairbanks this past weekend, are unbeaten in WCHA road games this year (3-0-3).

- No Place Like...the Road?: Alaska Anchorage (at Michigan Tech) and Lake Superior State (at Alaska) posted road sweeps last weekend, lifting road teams to an overall 27-21-12 mark through the first 60 WCHA games.

- Elsewhere Around the WCHA: UAH snapped a seven-game winless skid last Saturday with a 1-1 tie behind a season-best 36 saves by Carmine Guerriero...At 8-6-2, UAA has already equaled its victory total from last season (8-22-4) and, with 11 league points, is one shy of matching its 2014-15 output...UAF Alternate Captain Zach Frye is tied for the lead among WCHA defensemen with 11 points (2g-9a)...BSU, which is 3-1-1 in its last five games, is sixth nationally in combined special teams at 55.9 percent (including 13 power play goals at home, tied with Penn State for the most)...In all seven of its WCHA series, FSU has earned two points...MTU is riding a six-game road unbeaten streak (5-0-1)...MSU freshman G Jason Pawloski is undefeated (5-0-4) and leads all NCAA rookies with a 1.75 GAA...NMU has skated to an NCAA-high six ties


By the Numbers

- 7: Consecutive games with a goal by Tyler Heinonen, the longest by a Michigan Tech player since Gord Salt scored in 10-straight during the 1978-79 season. He is tied for second nationally with eight goals since the streak began Nov. 14..


WCHA.tv

- All 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

Alaska (2-8-2, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-10-2) at Alaska Anchorage (5-4-1, 11 pts. WCHA / 8-6-2)
Sullivan Arena; Anchorage, Alaska Fri., Dec. 11 and Sat., Dec. 12 (both 7:07 p.m. AT)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- Alaska Anchorage returns home to host in-state rival Alaska in Games 1 and 2 of the annual Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup. After capturing the trophy last year in a shootout following the final game of the regular season, the Nanooks have won the last six Cups.

- UAF will remain in the Last Frontier for the third straight weekend, but will look to snap a four-game losing streak. UAA is back home after sweeping Michigan Tech last weekend in Houghton.

- Nanooks' Alternate Captain Zach Frye is tied for first among all WCHA defensemen in points with 11 (2g, 9a) and plus/minus with +10.

- UAF is tied for first in the WCHA with three short-handed goals.

- At 8-6-2, UAA has already equaled its victory total from last season (8-22-4) and, with 11 league points, is one shy of matching its 2014-15 output.

- Seawolves' sophomore F Tad Kozun has goals in two of his past three games and leads the team with eight overall, while team points leader Blake Tatchell is six points shy of 100 for his career.

- This weekend will mark the 157th and 158th meeting between the two teams, with the Seawolves holding an all-time 86-59-11 edge.


No. 14 Bowling Green (6-2-4, 16 pts. WCHA / 9-3-5) at Bemidji State (4-6-2, 10 pts. WCHA / 5-7-3)
Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn. Fri., Dec 11 at 7:37 p.m. CT and Sat., Dec. 12 at 7:07 p.m. CT
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- No. 14 Bowling Green carries a seven-game unbeaten streak to Minnesota for a weekend series against Bemidji State, which is 3-1-1 in its last five games.

- Following a pair of ties last weekend to Minnesota State, the Falcons have climbed into a tie for second place in the WCHA standings, two points behind the Mavericks. BSU split at Ferris State last weekend and is now eighth place, but just one point out of sixth and two out of fifth.

- All of BGSU's wins during its current seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) were one-goal contests.

- With two goals last Saturday, BGSU's Mark Cooper has a team-high eight goals on the season.

- The Beavers are 13-for-41 (.317) on the man advantage on home ice, double all WCHA programs and tied with Penn State for the most home power-play goals in the country.

- BSU senior F Graeme McCormack leads the WCHA and ranks eighth nationally with 37 blocked shots. He also is tied for sixth in the NCAA with nine power-play points (4g-5a).

- BGSU is 4-3-1 all-time against Bemidji State. However, the Beavers are undefeated (3-0-1) against the Falcons at the Sanford Center.


Michigan Tech (8-6-0, 16 pts. WCHA / 9-6-1) at Lake Superior State (4-3-3, 11 pts. WCHA / 6-9-3)
Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Fri., Dec 11 at 7:37 p.m. ET and Sat., Dec. 12 at 7:07 p.m. ET
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- UP rivals meet in Sault Ste. Marie, as the Lake Superior State hosts Michigan Tech. The Lakers are 4-1-3 in their last eight league games to vault into sixth place in the WCHA standings, while the second-place Huskies will look to rebound after being swept at home last weekend.

- MTU is 15-5-2 in its last 22 games against teams from Michigan. The Huskies are also 6-2-1 away from home this season (all opponents), including a current six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1).

- MTU junior F Tyler Heinonen is on a seven-game goal streak, the longest by a Tech player since Gord Salt scored in 10-straight during the 1978-79 season. He is tied for second nationally with eight goals since the streak began Nov. 14.

- LSSU junior F Alex Globke has scored three goals in his last five games all on the power play.

- Lakers' sophomore G Gordon Defiel, who is 3-1-1 in his last five games, has a league-best .953 save percentage since the start of November (along with a 1.58 goals-against average).

- In a series that dates back to the 1969-70 campaign, Michigan Tech holds an all-time 37-21-4 advantage. The Huskies are 4-1-0 in the past five meetings.


Alabama Huntsville (2-8-2, 6 pts. WCHA / 3-9-2) at No. 20 Minnesota State (7-1-4, 18 pts. WCHA / 8-6-4)
Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn. Fri., Dec. 11 and Sat., Dec. 12 (both 7:07 p.m. CT)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- No. 20 Minnesota State, back in the USCHO.com poll for the first time since the second week of the season, hosts Alabama Huntsville at the Verizon Wireless Center.

- The Mavericks are unbeaten in their last seven games (3-0-4) and are 8-2-4 in their last 14 contests. The Chargers snapped a seven-game winless skid with a tie last Saturday against NMU.

- UAH sophomore F Max McHugh had his strongest offensive performance last Friday, with three points from one goal and two assists. McHugh leads the Chargers this season with 14 points, and is tied for fourth in scoring among WCHA players.

- MSU senior F Teddy Blueger has eight points in his last three games (1g-7a).

- MSU G Jason Pawloski, who has started the past seven games, is one of six freshmen netminders in the country with at least five victories this season (5-0-4). His 1.75 goals-against average ranks first among rookie goalies.

- The Mavericks, who have outshot their opponents in 13 of their 18 games on the season, rank first in the nation for fewest shots on goal allowed per game (23.17).

- Minnesota State stands 25-19-5 all-time against UAH and has gone 14-0-2 in the last 16 meetings between the two schools. The Chargers' last victory came on Jan. 4, 2002.


Ferris State (6-6-2, 14 pts. WCHA / 7-7-4) at Northern Michigan (4-4-4, 12 pts. WCHA / 5-5-6)
Berry Events Center; Marquette, Mich. Fri., Dec. 11 and Sat., Dec. 12 (both 7:07 p.m. ET)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- Two teams separated by just two points in the WCHA standings meet in Marquette when fourth-place Ferris State visits fifth-place Northern Michigan.

- FSU, which has earned exactly two points in every WCHA series this year, kept the streak alive with a split last weekend against Bemidji State. NMU took three points on the road at UAH.

- Bulldogs' junior F Gerald Mayhew is tied for the WCHA overall scoring lead with 16 points and leads the circuit with 12 assists, while F Corey Mackin is tops among league freshmen with 14 points (6g-8a).

- After only scoring three goals as a sophomore last year, NMU junior F John Siemer has found the back of the net six times in 16 games this season.

- Over the past eight games, NMU has posted a penalty kill percentage of .887 which is tied for eighth nationally since Nov. 6.

- Northern Michigan leads the all-time series by a 46-26-5 margin. However, Ferris State went 3-0-1 last season and is 4-2-2 in its last eight contests at the Berry Events Center.