WCHA Week 16: No. 18 Bowling Green Hosts No. 17 Michigan Tech In Key League Series; North Star College Cup Highlights Nonconference Slate
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Bowling Green hosts Michigan Tech at BGSU Ice Arena this weekend

Opening Face-Off

- Three WCHA Teams in USCHO.com Top 20: For the second consecutive week, the WCHA has three teams in the USCHO.com rankings: No. 17 Michigan Tech, No. 18 Bowling Green and No. 19 Minnesota State.

- Winning Hockey: The WCHA has 60 percent of its membership (six of 10 teams) playing .500-or-better hockey, the second-best league-wide distribution among all NCAA conferences (ECAC Hockey has nine of 12 teams at-or-above .500, for 75 percent).

- Competitive Balance: Seventeen (17) of the first 47 WCHA series this season have resulted in splits, with an additional four ending in a pair of ties. There have been just 16 league sweeps to date (including two of three last weekend), along with 10 three-point weekends.

- Don't Leave Your Seats: Forty-seven (49) of the first 94 WCHA games have been either ties (18) or one-goal decisions (31), with 28 overtime contests. Twenty-one (21) league games have featured a tie-breaking, third-period game-winning goal (including seven in the last five minutes of regulation), with an additional 10 victories coming in overtime.

- Talons Up: Bowling Green, which ranks fifth nationally by allowing just 1.85 goals per game, has held its opponents to three goals-or-less in a school-record 21-consecutive games (eclipsing a 14-game streak during the 2012-13 season). Falcons' sophomore G Chris Nell leads the NCAA with a .943 save percentage and ranks second with a 1.46 goals-against average.

- Quickly Around the WCHA: Over his last three starts (since Dec. 18), UAH junior G Matt Larose has gone 2-0-1 with a 1.51 GAA and .957 save percentage (while averaging 36.3 stops per contest) ... UAA senior F Blake Tatchell remains three points shy of becoming the 23rd Seawolf to reach the 100-point milestone, standing at 97 for his career (28g-69a) ... Senior F Alec Hajdukovich has the game-winning goal in each of UAF's last three victories (during an eight-game span in which the Nanooks are 3-3-2) ... BSU leads the WCHA and ranks fifth nationally in combined special teams at 55.7 percent (112-for-201); the Beavers are third in the country for penalty-kill efficiency at 90.2 percent (92-of-102) ... BGSU's 12 goals last weekend were its most in a regular season series since Jan. 7-8, 2005; 10 different Falcons scored goals, including three freshmen with their first collegiate markers ... During FSU's current five-game unbeaten streak, freshman G Darren Smith is 3-0-2 with 126 saves, a .933 save percentage and 1.74 goals-against average ... LSSU leads the nation with 125 power-play attempts and is fifth with a WCHA-high 113 times on the penalty kill ... MTU's 16 upperclassmen have combined for 118 points (45g-73a), the 13th-best total in the NCAA (second in the WCHA, behind FSU's 123) ... MSU is 13-3-5 (.738) in the 21 games in which freshman F Max Coatta has played; the rookie had three points last weekend (2g-1a) ... NMU senior G Mathias Dahlström earned the win Jan. 16 against Alaska (35 saves), his first start since Oct. 16 and just his second since suffering an injury Jan. 30, 2015.


The Week Ahead

- Pair of League Sets: The two league sets this weekend each have big points on the line, both at the top and bottom of the standings.

- No. 17 Michigan Tech at No. 18 Bowling Green: BGSU is 6-0-4 at home against WCHA opponents, while MTU is 6-2-1 on the road in league play (including 5-0-1 in the Huskies' last six WCHA away contests). The teams split Nov. 13-14 in Houghton.

- Alabama Huntsville at Alaska Anchorage: The Chargers and Seawolves meet with both teams coming off bye weeks. UAA earned three of four league points Oct. 23 and 24 in Huntsville

- Nonconference Tests: Only three nonconference contests remain for WCHA teams after this weekend's six-to-eight game slate.

- North Star College Cup presented by TRIA Orthopaedic Center of Minnesota: Returning champion Bemidji State will defend its crown at the Xcel Energy Center against a field that includes the first-place teams in the WCHA (No. 19 Minnesota State), Big Ten (No. 20 Minnesota) and NCHC (No. 3 St. Cloud State).

- Alaska at Wisconsin: The Nanooks, who haven't played a nonconference opponent since Oct. 17, travel to Madison.

- Minnesota Duluth at Northern Michigan: The Wildcats (4-2-3 at home) will host UMD for the first time since Oct. 9, 2010.


The Week in Review

- In posting a sweep over visiting Alaska Anchorage by identical 6-2 scores, No. 18 Bowling Green scored its most goals since also tallying 12 against Alaska on Jan. 7-8, 2005.

- In a series filled with late-game heroics, visiting Ferris State earned its second-straight three-point weekend and Bemidji State rallied for a tie and point in the finale.

- No. 20 Minnesota State enjoyed its highest-scoring weekend of the year, netting 13 goals and yielding just one in a two-game home sweep of Lake Superior State.

- Full recaps, box scores and select video highlights are available online at wcha.com.


at No. 18 Bowling Green 6, Alaska Anchorage 2
at No. 18 Bowling Green 6, Alaska Anchorage 2
Jan. 21 and 22 at Ewigleben Ice Arena; Big Rapids, Mich.

In posting a sweep over visiting Alaska Anchorage by identical 6-2 scores, No. 18 Bowling Green scored its most goals since also tallying 12 against Alaska on Jan. 7-8, 2005. Ten different Falcons scored a goal, the most by a BGSU club in back-to-back games since wins over Connecticut and Colgate on Dec. 30, 2005 and Jan. 3, 2006.

Two goals by BGSU freshmen in an eight-second span of the second period Friday snapped a 1-1 tie and propelled the Falcons to the win. Stephen Baylis scored the first at the 7:51 mark, followed by Joe McKeown's first career goal (the game-winner) at 7:59 - both part of a five-goal, second stanza eruption. Brandon Hawkins had a three-point game (1g-2a), while Shane Bednard tallied a pair of assists.

Hawkins completed a five-point weekend with two goals Saturday, while BGSU scored three times in the first period, twice in the second and once more in the third. Brent Tate's power-play marker at the 12:15 mark of the opening stanza stood as the game winner.

Falcons' sophomore goaltender Chris Nell made a combined 47 saves in the sweep.


Ferris State 3, at Bemidji State 2 - OT
Ferris State 1, at Bemidji State 1 - OT
Jan. 22 and 23 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.

In a series filled with late-game heroics, visiting Ferris State earned its second-straight three-point weekend and Bemidji State rallied for a tie and point in the finale.

Friday night's game ended in dramatic fashion, as FSU senior D Simon Denis scored with an extra attacker to tie the game with 25 seconds remaining in the third period and Mitch Maloney added the game-winner 47 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 Ferris State win. After the Bulldogs' Gerald Mayhew opened the scoring with a first-period goal, two John Parker tallies (including a tie-breaking goal at the 9:52 mark of the third period) gave Bemidji State a 2-1 lead into the final seconds.

The next evening brought a defensive battle which was still scoreless after 40 minutes. Ferris State's Drew Mayer broke through for the Bulldogs at 3:57 of the third, but Charlie O'Connor found the equalizer for BSU at the 14:12 mark. The two teams settled for the 1-1 tie, with FSU's Darren Smith (35 saves) and BSU's Michael Bitzer (29) going toe-to-toe between the pipes.


at No. 20 Minnesota State 8, Lake Superior State 0
at No. 20 Minnesota State 5, Lake Superior State 1
Jan. 22 and 23 at Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.

No. 20 Minnesota State enjoyed its highest-scoring weekend of the year, netting 13 goals and yielding just one in a two-game home sweep of Lake Superior State.

The Mavericks got at least one point from 14 different players and a perfect outing from netminder Cole Huggins in an 8-0, series-opening win Friday. The junior goaltender made 17 saves for his eighth career shutout, while the MSU offense scored twice in the first period before adding three goals each in both the second and third stanzas. Freshman Max Coatta enjoyed his first career two-goal game, while fellow rookie Daniel Brickley tallied his first collegiate marker. Blue-liner Casey Nelson had three assists for the Mavs.

C.J. Franklin scored twice - including the game-winner - to pace Minnesota State in a 5-1 win Saturday. Teddy Blueger logged two assists, while Jordan Nelson's short-handed goal opened the scoring. Huggins completed an impressive weekend by making 22 saves.