- Falcons and Huskies Rise in Top 20: No. 14 Bowling Green (up one spot) and No. 17 (tied) Michigan Tech (up two) both rose in this week's USCHO.com poll, while the Falcons moved into the No. 15 spot in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine rankings. Minnesota State received votes in former, while the Huskies were among five teams receiving votes in the latter.
- Winning November: Both Bowling Green and Michigan Tech tied for third nationally with six wins during the month of November. The Huskies posted the NCAA's eight-best winning percentage at .812 (6-1-1), while the Falcons tied for 11th at .778 (6-1-2).
- Stingy "D": Bowling Green's defense, which has been exceptional all season (tied for ninth nationally at just 2.00 goals allowed per game), was a tick better in November, tying for sixth in the country at 1.67 GAPG. Just a notch below, however, was Lake Superior State, with the Lakers winning or tying five of eight games behind a "D" that allowed just 14 goals in the month - a 1.75 GAPG that tied for eighth-best in the NCAA.
- Playing it Close: Not surprisingly with those defensive numbers, Lake Superior State has played eight-straight contests that either finished in a tie or was decided by one goal (2-3-3). Meanwhile, Bowling Green's current five-game winning streak has been built on five one-goal victories (including two overtime contests).
- Breaking Out the Broom: After the season's first 20 WCHA series resulted in just five sweeps, four teams broke out the broom this past weekend (in five series): Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State.
- Heinonen in the Clutch: Michigan Tech's sweep last weekend at Alaska was keyed partly by Tyler Heinonen, who netted the game-winning goal in both contests and now is tied for second nationally with three on the season. The junior has scored goals in five-straight games (six total) and has moved into a tie for sixth in the country with nine overall.
- "Madhouse on Mercer": Bowling Green has made sure its home arena has lived up to the moniker, matching Quinnipiac for the longest home unbeaten streak in the country at 11 games (9-0-2). The Falcons are 5-0-2 on home ice this season and are 15-3-3 in their last 21 home contests.
By the Numbers
- 5: First-period points Saturday for MSU's Teddy Blueger (1g, 4a). In a 6-2 Mavericks' win, the senior produced the league's highest single-period output since Colorado College's Scott Schneider set the league record with six points on Feb. 21, 1987. Blueger's four assists in the frame matched the WCHA record for a single period (ninth time, with the last by Wisconsin's Joe Pavelski on Jan. 14, 2006).
- 115 and 93: Career point totals for seniors Alex Petan (MTU) and Blake Tatchell (UAA), respectively. Petan is the fifth-leading scorer among active D-I players, with 47 goals and 68 assists in his 130 collegiate games. Tatchell, who has totaled 27 goals and 66 assists in 122 games, is just seven points shy of becoming the third active WCHA player in the century club (UAF's Tyler Morley has 105 points). Petan and Tatchell will share the same ice this weekend when the Huskies host the Seawolves.
The Week Ahead
- Minnesota State at No. 14/15 Bowling Green: Two of the WCHA's hottest teams meet in Ohio, as both the Mavericks (3-0-2) and Falcons (5-0-0) own league-best, five-game unbeaten streaks. BGSU, two points behind Minnesota State and Michigan Tech for the top spot in the WCHA standings, will put its 11-game home unbeaten run up against a Mavericks team that is 3-1-2 in WCHA road outings.
- Bemidji State at Ferris State: The Beavers and host Bulldogs meet in a rematch of the 2015 WCHA quarterfinals, which featured Ferris State's sweep-clinching, triple-OT victory at Bemidji State. BSU has earned five points in its last three WCHA games (2-0-1), while FSU has come away from all six of its league series with two points.
- Alaska Anchorage at No. 17 Michigan Tech: After dropping a pair of contests last weekend at Minnesota State, the Seawolves continue their tour of the league co-leaders with a trip to Houghton. The Huskies are undefeated in their last three games (3-0-1) and are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games after opening the season 1-2-0.
- Northern Michigan at Alabama Huntsville: Both teams will look to get back in the win column, as the Wildcats are 0-2-2 in their last four games and the Chargers have dropped six-straight contests (including three one-goal losses) since starting the season 3-2-1.
- Lake Superior State at Alaska: The Lakers, who finished 2-1-3 in WCHA play during November, travel to Fairbanks to face a Nanooks team that is winless in its last five outings (0-3-2).
The Week in Review
- Last week featured solely intra-conference play, with four of the five WCHA series resulting in sweeps - including two by the road team.
- Bemidji State earned a road sweep at Alabama Huntsville, using a pair of three-goal, third-period outbursts to win by identical 4-1 scores.
- No. 15 Bowling Green extended its home unbeaten streak to 11 games with a pair of thrilling, one-goal wins over visiting Northern Michigan
- Ferris State and Lake Superior State renewed their intra-state rivalry, with each team winning a game in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
- Minnesota State showcased a high-powered offense and stout defense en route to a sweep of visiting Alaska Anchorage.
- Tyler Heinonen scored the game-winning goal both nights as No. 19 Michigan Tech swept host Alaska in Fairbanks.
- Full recaps, box scores and select video highlights are available online at wcha.com.
Bemidji State 4, at Alabama Huntsville 1
Bemidji State 4, at Alabama Huntsville 1
(Nov. 25 and 27 at Von Braun Center; Huntsville, Alabama)
Bemidji State earned a road sweep at Alabama Huntsville, using a pair of three-goal, third-period outbursts to win by identical 4-1 scores.
UAH got out to an early first period lead Wednesday night with a goal from Brandon Carlson, but the remainder of the game belonged to Bemidji State. John Parker tied the game with a second-period goal, before Gerry Fitzgerald scored the tie-breaking game-winner at the 12:55 mark of the third period. BSU's Graeme McCormack (empty-netter) and Nate Arentz both scored in the final minute.
Scoring in Friday night's series finale did not open up until late in second period, when the Beavers got out to the game's first lead with a goal from Cory Ward. The Chargers were able to tie the game up early in the third period, but just 15 seconds later, McCormack scored the eventual game-winner for Bemidji State. The Beavers defended their lead for the remainder of the game, while freshman Justin Baudry scored his first collegiate goal in the sweep-completing win.
BSU junior goaltender Reid Mimmack started and won both contests, stopping 35-of-37 shots.
at No. 15 Bowling Green 2, Northern Michigan 1
at No. 15 Bowling Green 4, Northern Michigan 3 – OT
(Nov. 27 and 28 at BGSU Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio)
No. 15 Bowling Green extended its home unbeaten streak to 11 games with a pair of thrilling, one-goal wins over visiting Northern Michigan.
Bowling Green struck first Friday night with a goal from Mark Friedman at 2:24 of the first period on the power play. The score remained the same until Tyler Spezia scored what stood as the game-winner for the Falcons early in the third period. A late third period goal by John Siemer was not enough for the Wildcats to catch the Falcons in a 2-1 BGSU win.
Northern Michigan was able to battle back from a 3 – 1 deficit Saturday night to tie the game up and force an overtime period. The game looked like it would be ending in a tie until Bowling Green forward Mitch McLain, while short-handed, spun and fired the puck from the top of the circle past Northern Michigan goaltender Atte Tolvanen with just 5.3 seconds to go in overtime, lifting the Falcons to the stunning 4-3 win. Friedman scored for the second-straight night for BGSU, while the Wildcats' Cohen Adair tied the game at the 2:22 mark of the third period.
Ferris State 1, at Lake Superior State 0
at Lake Superior State 3, Ferris State 2
(Nov. 27 and 28 at Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
Ferris State and Lake Superior State renewed their intra-state rivalry, with each team winning a game in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The lone goal of Friday night's game came from Ferris State's Simon Denis in the first period, with the assists being awarded to Matt Robertson and Kyle Schempp. The one goal was all the Bulldogs needed to secure the win, as FSU freshman goaltender Darren Smith posted his first career shutout by stopping all 19 shots he faced. Lakers goaltender Gordon Defiel also had an impressive 31-save performance in the loss.
Ferris State held a 2-0 lead after two periods on Saturday night in what seemed to be another disappointing night for the Lake Superior State offense. The Lakers finally ended their seven-period scoreless slump just 24 seconds into the third period with a power-play goal from Alex Globke, which was followed just over a minute later with another LSSU goal from Peter Spratte to tie the game at 2-2. The Lakers' explosive third-period comeback was completed with the game-winner from Owen Headrick to give Lake Superior State a 3-2 win and series split. Defiel made 36 saves in the win – LSSU's first in 10 tries over Ferris State since the teams joined the WCHA (previously 0-9-0).
at Minnesota State 2, Alaska Anchorage 0
at Minnesota State 6, Alaska Anchorage 2
(Nov. 27 and 28 at Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.)
Minnesota State showcased a high-powered offense and stout defense en route to a sweep of visiting Alaska Anchorage - two victories that kept the Mavericks even with Michigan Tech atop the WCHA standings.
Minnesota State outshot UAA 42-12 on Friday night, in a game that was held close by an outstanding 40-save performance from Seawolves' goaltender Olivier Mantha. Bryce Gervais (game-winner) and freshman Chandler Madry (first career goal) were the two goal scorers for the Mavericks, while freshman goaltender Jason Pawloski got his fourth consecutive start and first career shutout with 12 saves in the 2-0 win.
Minnesota State found the back of the net much easier in Saturday's series finale, using a five-goal first period to set up a 6-2 victory. Teddy Blueger led the Mavericks' surge by posting the eventual game-winning goal and four assists in the first period – the first five-point period in Minnesota State history and the most by a WCHA player since 1987. Gervais had a pair of goals for the Mavericks, while UAA senior D Chris Williams scored his first collegiate goal.
No. 19 Michigan Tech 4, at Alaska 1
No. 19 Michigan Tech 3, at Alaska 1
(Nov. 27 and 28 at Carlson Center; Fairbanks, Alaska)
No. 19 Michigan Tech earned the series sweep at Alaska, which helped the Huskies stay tied atop the WCHA standings.
Tech outshot the host Nanooks 33-15 on Friday night and was led by Alex Petan, who posted a goal and two assists en route to the 4-1 win. Tyler Heinonen (power-play game-winner), Malcolm Gould and Joel L'Esperance all scored for the Huskies. Alaska freshman Chad Staley scored on the power play for his first collegiate goal.
Shots were much closer on Saturday night at 28-27, with Alaska having the one shot edge over Michigan Tech. Heinonen broke a 1-1 tie late in the second period, scoring the game-winner on the power play for the second-straight night. The Nanooks held an 11-8 advantage in shots in the third period, but were unable to solve Huskies' goaltender Jamie Phillips, who stopped 27-of-28 shots on the night. A late empty net goal for MTU helped secure a 3-1 win and series sweep.