WCHA Weekend Preview: Oct. 14-15, 2016
Series news and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
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Michigan Tech hosts Alabama Huntsville for the Huskies' home opener (and the end of UAH's season-opening, six-game road trip).

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

- The full WCHA weekly release can be found online here.

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


WCHA

Bemidji State (2-0-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 2-0-0) at Northern Michigan (0-0-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 1-1-0)
Berry Events Center; Marquette, Mich. Fri., Oct. 14 and Sat., Oct. 15 (both 7:07 p.m. ET)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- Northern Michigan hosts Bemidji State in the Wildcats' home opener and first WCHA contests.

- Bemidji swept then-No. 14/15 Bowling Green last weekend, while Northern Michigan split a pair of one-goal contests against Wisconsin at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

- BSU leads the all-time series (since 2009), 5-4-3 including a 3-1-2 edge in Marquette.

- Seven Beavers players had multi-point weekends against BGSU, including senior F Phillip Marinaccio's team-high three (3a). He assisted on the game-winning goal each night.

- BSU junior G Michael Bitzer is 3-1-1 all-time versus NMU, which includes a pair of shutouts. He carries a career 0.99 GAA and .959 save percentage versus NMU into the series. NMU sophomore netminder Atte Tolvanen stopped 80 of 81 shots against the Beavers last year.

- With two shorthanded goals and three helpers on Oct. 8, WCHA Offensive Player of the Week Robbie Payne became the first Wildcat in 10 years to have a five-point night.

- NMU senior F Gerard Hanson finished the opening weekend with four points (2g-2a) and is now already just one goal away from equaling his 2015-16 total.


Alabama Huntsville (2-0-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 2-2-0) at Michigan Tech (0-2-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 0-4-0)
John MacInnes Student Ice Arena; Houghton, Mich. Fri., Oct. 14 and Sat., Oct. 15 (both 7:07 p.m. ET)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- On a weekend in which it will welcome back NHL All-Star Game MVP John Scott and honor last year's Cup co-champs, Michigan Tech hosts Alabama Huntsville for the Huskies' home opener (and the end of UAH's season-opening, six-game road trip).

- Both teams suffered road sweeps last weekend (UAH at UConn and MTU at Minnesota State).

- Michigan Tech is 10-0-0 all-time against Alabama Huntsville, including 6-0-0 in Houghton.

- Sophomore Max McHugh paces the UAH offense with two goals so far in the 2016-17 season, posting one goal in each of the season-opening victories at Ferris State on Oct. 1-2 .

- Sophomore Cam Knight is currently leading the Chargers and the nation with 14 blocked shots.

- MTU freshman D Mitch Reinke a Minnesota native played both nights last weekend at Minnesota State, recording his first collegiate point with an assist.

- Huskies' senior Matt Wintjes was the starting goaltender Friday (20 saves). Sophomore Devin Kero started between the pipes for Tech on Saturday, stopping a career-high 32 shots.


NONCONFERENCE

No. 7/5 St. Cloud State (season opener) at No. 14 Minnesota State (2-0-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 2-0-0)
Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn. Fri., Oct. 14 and Sat., Oct. 15 (both 7:07 p.m. CT)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- After an impressive sweep last weekend, No. 14 Minnesota State continues its season-opening homestand by welcoming No. 7/5 St. Cloud State of the NCHC to the Verizon Wireless Center.

- Minnesota State leads the all-time series by a 69-53-10 margin. The 132 games between the two schools makes the Huskies Minnesota State's most often-played opponent.

- Senior netminder Cole Huggins stopped 45 of 46 shots for a .979 save percentage and a 0.50 goals against average in season-opening action for the Mavericks and earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors for the third time in his career. Saturday's 25-save, 4-0 shutout of Michigan Tech is a school record 11th of his career and gives him 40 wins in his four seasons with the Mavericks, which ranks sixth all-time at Minnesota State.

- Sophomore D Daniel Brickley, a WCHA All-Rookie Team pick last year, led all Minnesota State scorers with six points in the two wins over Michigan Tech last week with a goal and five assists.

- Junior F Zeb Knutson, who had game-winning tallies in both wins versus Michigan Tech last weekend, scored three times in the two games with the Huskies.


Western Michigan (0-0-0-0, 0 pts. NCHC / 2-0-0) vs./at No. 20 Bowling Green (0-2-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 0-2-0)
Fri., Oct. 14 at BGSU Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio. (7:07 p.m. ET)
Sat., Oct. 15 at Lawson Arena; Kalamazoo, Mich. (7:05 p.m. ET)
WATCH FRIDAY'S GAME LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- No. 20 Bowling Green faces NCHC foe Western Michigan in a home-and-home beginning Friday, with the Falcons' home opener.

- BGSU is 71-57-7 all-time against the Broncos. Last season, the Falcons fell to WMU 4-1 in October, before dropping a narrow 1-0 final at the Huntington Center in Toledo on Dec. 30 to the Broncos. In fact, the Falcons are 0-6-1 at Western Michigan in Chris Bergeron's tenure and have come away without a win in nine straight Kalamazoo meetings.

- Bowling Green has won its last three consecutive home-openers at the BGSU Ice Arena. Last season, the Falcons downed in-state rival Ohio State 2-0, while in 2014 they beat Miami 3-2, and back in 2013 the Falcons rallied for a 4-3 win over Ohio State to open the season.

- Sophomore F Stephen Baylis tops the Falcons stat sheets with one goal and one assist through the first two games of the season. By notching the lone goal against the Beavers on Friday, then by assisting Mitch McLain in his third career shorthanded goal, Baylis had a hand in both goals the Falcons scored on the weekend.

- With increased success, the BGSU Ice Arena has seen more and more fans line up for BG hockey games. A year ago, Bowling Green played in front of crowds exceeding 3,000 fans on eight occasions, doubling the four times from the 2015-15 campaign including 4,613 for a game against Ferris State on Feb. 27, 2016.


Michigan State (season opener) at Lake Superior State (season opener)
Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Fri., Oct. 14 at 7:37 p.m. ET and Sat., Oct. 15 at 6:07 p.m. ET
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- Both Lake Superior State and Michigan State officially begin their 2016-17 seasons at the Taffy Abel Arena in the Great Lake State Weekend.

- The Spartans hold an all-time series advantage of 71-35-14 overall and lead the Lakers 25-17-7 in games played in Sault Ste. Marie. MSU held a 2-1-0 edge last season, with LSSU skating to a 4-2 win at Munn Ice Arena. The teams are deadlocked 4-4-2 in their last 10 meetings. The Lakers began their preseason on Oct. 2 with a 3-3 tie against Laurentian. The Voyageurs eventually won an unofficial sudden-death shootout in three rounds. LSSU held its annual Blue and Gold Game last weekend.

- Lake Superior State's freshmen scored 11 game-winning goals in 2015-16, tied for most among rookie classes in the NCAA. That group (Matt McArdle, Diego Cuglietta, Jake Hand, C.J. Hayes, Owen Headrick, Mitch Hults, Anthony Nellis, Josh Nenadal and Gage Torrel) begins their sophomore campaigns this weekend.

- Junior G Gordon Defiel returns in the LSSU net after earning All-WCHA Third Team accolades a year ago.


No. 13 Michigan (0-0-0-0, 0 pts. Big Ten / 1-1-0) at Ferris State (0-2-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 0-4-0)
Sat., Oct. 15 at Ewigleben Ice Arena; Big Rapids, Mich. (7:07 p.m. ET)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV

- Ferris State welcomes No. 13 Michigan to a sold-out Ewigleben Arena for the rare, single-game matchup Saturday night.

- Four of the last five meetings in Big Rapids between the Bulldogs and Wolverines have been played in front of sold out crowds, including FSU's 4-3 victory in the 2014-15 season opener.

- Redshirt freshman forward Craig Pefley has now totaled six assists in his first four games. The St. Clair, Mich. native played in just one game last year due to injury and was given a medical redshirt. Pefley's six assists most in the NCAA have him tied for third in the nation in total points.

- With Chad McDonald's goal at Western Michigan on 10/7, the senior became the first Bulldog to score against every Division I College hockey team in Michigan (Other than Ferris State) since Garrett Thompson (2010-2014).

- Ferris State has dressed all of the seven freshmen skaters that they brought in for the 2016-17 season over the course of the first four games, with every one of them playing in multiple contests.

- For the first time since the 1995-96 campaign, Ferris State will play all six Division I college hockey opponents in the state of Michigan in a single season.


BRICE ALASKA GOAL RUSH

Canisius (0-0-0, 0 pts. AHA / 0-2-0) vs. Alaska Anchorage (0-0-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 0-2-0)
Fri., Oct. 14 at 4:07 p.m. AT
Omaha (season opener) at Alaska (0-0-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 1-1-0)
Fri., Oct. 15 at 7:07 p.m. AT
Omaha vs. Alaska Anchorage / Canisius at Alaska
Sat., Oct. 15 at 4:07 p.m. and 7:07 p.m. AT
All games at Carlson Center (Fairbanks, Alaska) and available on WCHA.TV

- Alaska hosts the ninth annual Brice Alaska Goal Rush, welcoming Alaska Anchorage, Canisius (Atlantic Hockey) and Omaha (NCHC) to the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. The teams will compete for the coveted gold pan award.

- Both Alaska schools were in action in Anchorage last weekend, with UAF defeating UAA and both teams falling to Minnesota.

- The Seawolves are 10-5-1 all-time at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush, which started in 2008-09 (including two wins last year and a 4-1-1 mark since head coach Matt Thomas took over in 2013). UAA won the BAGR twice in 2008 for the inaugural event and again in 2011.

- UAF has won the other six Brice Alaska Goal Rush events (2009, 2010 and 2012-15).

- UAA sophomore F Jeremiah Leudtke holds the tournament record for single-game assists with four.

- UAF junior D Justin Woods and sophomore F Ryker Leer both contributed a goal and an assist in the Nanooks' 4-1 win over UAA, while senior G Davis Jones collected 19 saves.