WCHA Week 4: Three League Series, Six Nonconference Regional Rivalry Games Ahead
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Lake Superior State opened its season with a 13-goal outburst - its most in a weekend since 2005 - to sweep Big Ten opponent Michigan State on Great Lake State Weekend.

Opening Face-Off

- Minnesota Nice: The two men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) teams based in the "State of Hockey" are off to hot starts, as ninth-ranked Minnesota State and No. 18 Bemidji State are both 4-0-0. The Mavericks' perfect four-game start, which includes last weekend's sweep of then-No. 7/5 St. Cloud State, is the program's first since 1998-99 (6-0-0). o The Mavericks' perfect four-game start, which includes last weekend's sweep of then-No. 7/5 St. Cloud State, is the program's first since 1998-99 (6-0-0). o The Beavers are 4-0-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign (BSU lost its fifth game that year, while the 2009-10 Beavers were undefeated through the season's first eight games at 7-0-1). BSU is also in the USCHO.com poll for the first time since March 22, 2010.

- Great Lake State Weekend: Lake Superior State made sure last weekend lived up to its nickname, opening its 51st season of college hockey with a convincing sweep of Michigan State, 6-1 and 7-3. The 13 goals scored by the Lakers were their most in a single series since also putting up 13 at Western Michigan on Nov. 4-5, 2005. o After the sweep, LSSU is receiving votes in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine polls.

- Building a Dam: Bemidji State junior goaltender Michael Bitzer has helped key the Beavers' 4-0-0 start, ranking second nationally with a 0.50 goals-against average and third with a .977 save percentage. The 2014-15 WCHA Rookie of the Year and a member of this year's Mike Richter Award Watch List, Bitzer is also tied for the NCAA lead with two shutouts after blanking Northern Michigan in back-to-back games last weekend. o Bitzer has matched Matt Climie (2004-08) for the BSU record with 12 career shutouts, tops among active NCAA netminders.

- Righting the Ship: WCHA teams went 5-5-1 in 11 nonconference games last weekend, helping reverse a 1-9-0 start. Six more out-of-league contests await this weekend, all against ranked opponents in regional rivalry contests.

- Tradition Starts Here: Four (4) of the nation's top-15 winningest teams over the past three seasons play in the WCHA - the highest representation among that upper 25% of programs of any D-I conference since realignment (Hockey East has four, the NCHC has three, the Big Ten and ECAC Hockey both have two each and Atlantic Hockey has a single program). o Minnesota State is third nationally with 78 wins, Ferris State and Michigan Tech are tied for 11th with 67 and Bowling Green is tied for 15th with 63.


By the Numbers

- 0: Seconds this year that Bemidji State has trailed. In four games, the Beavers have held the lead for 194:39 of 240 minutes played.

- 5: Lake Superior State skaters in the NCAA's top-10 scoring list, after the Lakers' opening weekend. J.T. Henke (2g-2a), Mitch Hults (1g-3a), Gage Torrel (2g-2a) and freshman Brayden Gelsinger (1g-3a) all are averaging 2.0 points-per-game to tie for eighth, while Owen Headrick (see next note) is second at 3.0 points-per-contest.

- 6: Points last weekend for Lake Superior State sophomore D Owen Headrick, tops among all NCAA skaters. The blue-liner scored once and tallied five assists, posting consecutive three-point outings in the Lakers' sweep.

- 22: Bemidji State is a perfect 22-for-22 on the penalty kill this season, one of three NCAA teams yet to give up a power-play goal.


The Week Ahead

- Trio of WCHA Series: Three league sets await, including the home opener for Alabama Huntsville after three-straight road weekends. The Chargers will host a Lake Superior State team that hung 13 goals on Michigan State last weekend. Elsewhere, No. 9 Minnesota State visits Alaska in the Nanooks' league opener; and, Ferris State hosts Northern Michigan as both teams look to earn its first league points.

- Ranked Nonconference Opponents and Regional Rivalries: All three nonconference series this weekend pits WCHA teams against ranked opponents and regional rivals. No 18 Bemidji State visits No. 1 North Dakota in a series that features two of the nation's top goalies (BSU junior Michael Bitzer and UND junior Cam Johnson). Michigan Tech travels to Ann Arbor to meet No. 11/12 Michigan, while Bowling Green and No. 19 Ohio State play a home-and-home (at BGSU on Friday, at OSU on Saturday).


The Week in Review

- In an early-season WCHA matchup, Bemidji State and goaltender Michael Bitzer held host Northern Michigan scoreless en route to a pair of 2-0 wins. The Beavers improved to 4-0-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

- Michigan Tech opened up its home schedule this weekend with a five-point series over Alabama Huntsville, including the first-ever 3-on-3 overtime win in WCHA history.

- For the first time since the 1998-99 campaign, Minnesota State has started the season 4-0-0 after the No. 14 Mavericks completed an impressive sweep over No. 7/5 St. Cloud State at the Verizon Wireless Center.

- Lake Superior State opened its season with a 13-goal outburst - its most in a weekend since 2005 - to sweep Big Ten opponent Michigan State on Great Lake State Weekend.

- Bowling Green skated to a 4-4 tie in its home opener Friday against Western Michigan, before falling on the road Saturday in Kalamazoo, Mich.

- Alaska Anchorage split a pair of contests at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush, earning its first victory of the season with a 1-0 triumph over Canisius on Saturday. Alaska ran into some tough luck in its own tournament, as the host Nanooks dropped a pair of overtime games.

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


Bemidji State 2, at Northern Michigan 0
Bemidji State 2, at Northern Michigan 0
(Oct. 14 and 15 at Berry Events Center; Marquette, Mich.)

In an early-season WCHA matchup, Bemidji State and goaltender Michael Bitzer held host Northern Michigan scoreless en route to a pair of 2-0 wins. The Beavers improved to 4-0-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

Friday night, Leo Fitzgerald's first period goal proved the be the decider as Wildcats goaltender Atte Tolvanen's 30 saves were not enough. Jay Dickman also added some insurance with a power-play goal in the third frame, while Bitzer made 21 saves in the shutout.

Saturday night it was the same story, as Bitzer got yet another 21-save shutout and two first-period goals proved to be the difference as the Beavers finished off the sweep. Dickman got his second goal of the weekend early in the first period, which was followed up with another goal a few minutes later courtesy of Kyle Bauman. Tolvanen finished with 22 saves for NMU.


at Michigan Tech 7, Alabama Huntsville 3
at Michigan Tech 1, Alabama Huntsville 1 - OT (MTU scores in 3v3 OT)
(Oct 14 and 15 at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena; Houghton, Mich.)

Michigan Tech opened up its home schedule this weekend with a five-point series over Alabama Huntsville, including the first-ever 3-on-3 overtime win in WCHA history.

It was all hands on deck Friday night for the Huskies, as four skaters had multiple-point games. Mark Auk opened the scoring just over the halfway point in the first period and, 15 seconds later, Dylan Steman added another to the scoreboard. Shane Hanna's power-play goal gave the Huskies a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the locker room, while Tech then scored three more in the second stanza (from Jake Lucchini 26 seconds into the frame, Chris Leibinger and Reid Sturos). Alex Smith added Michigan Tech's final tally in the third period, while Brandon Salerno, Max McHugh and Jordan Larson all scored for UAH.

Saturday night, the fans saw the first ever 3-on-3 overtime game-winner in WCHA history, as Sturos put one in the back of the net in the second overtime to give Michigan Tech the two points. Unlike the night before, scoring was scarce, as the scoreboard remained zeros until the halfway point in the third, when defensemen Matt Roy got a power-play goal to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later, UAH's Kurt Gosselin tied it up, where it would remain until the Sturos goal. Tech sophomore goaltender Devin Kero, making his first career home start, stopped 21 of 22 shots through the 65-minute mark for the win.


at No. 14 Minnesota State 4, No. 7/5 St. Cloud State 1
at No. 14 Minnesota State 6, No. 7/5 St. Cloud State 4
(Oct. 14 and 15 at Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.)

For the first time since the 1998-99 campaign, Minnesota State has started the season 4-0-0 after the No. 14 Mavericks completed an impressive sweep over No. 7/5 St. Cloud State at the Verizon Wireless Center.

On Friday night, the Mavericks got an early 1-0 lead thanks to defenseman Clint Lewis finding senior forward Michael Huntebrinker to put one in the net at the 3:28 mark of the first period. From there, a pair of goals courtesy of junior forwards C.J. Franklin and Brad McClure put Minnesota State up 3-0 midway through the second period. Freshman Jake Wahlin added the lone tally for SCSU late in the second, before Max Coatta capped off the scoring in the third as the Mavericks closed out the 4-1 victory. Senior goaltender Cole Huggins made 23 saves on 24 shots for the win.

High-volume scoring got the job done again for the Mavericks in the series finale Saturday night. Lewis netted a goal just 20 seconds into the first to get things started, and added his second goal five minutes later for an early 2-0 lead. After SCSU scored three-straight goals to close the first period, Minnesota State lit the lamp four times in the second stanza for the 6-4, comeback victory. Jordan Nelson got his first goal of the season to tie it 3-3 and, after the Huskies went back ahead, freshman Parker Tuomie scored his first career goal for a 4-4 tie. Chandler Madry's game-winner put the Mavs on top, 5-4, before Tuomie added a second marker for the final 6-4 margin.


at Lake Superior State 6, Michigan State 1
at Lake Superior State 7, Michigan State 3
(Oct. 14 and 15 at Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)

Lake Superior State opened its season with a 13-goal outburst - its most in a series since 2005 - to sweep Big Ten foe Michigan State on Great Lake State Weekend.

Gage Torrel gave the Lakers an early 1-0 lead in Friday's series opener and, after Michigan State tied it, LSSU rattled off five unanswered goals to win in convincing fashion, 6-1. J.T. Henke notched the game-winner at the 18:43 mark of the first period, Owen Headrick tallied a power-play marker and freshmen Max Humitz, Brayden Gelsinger and Kris Bindulis all scored their first career goals. LSSU goaltender Gordon Defiel made 19 saves and went the last 55 minutes without giving up a goal.

The Lakers would continue the scoring early on in the Saturday night finale, netting four first-period goals courtesy of Humitz, Gus Correale (twice) and Torrel. After the Spartans cut the lead in half in the second period, LSSU's Anthony Nellis and Mitch Hults responded to restore the four-goal advantage. Henke finished the Lakers' scoring in the third period, Defiel made 30 saves for the 7-3 victory.


at No. 20 Bowling Green 4, Western Michigan 4 - OT
at Western Michigan 8, No. 20 Bowling Green 2
(Oct. 14 at BGSU Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio and Oct. 15 at Lawson Arena; Kalamazoo, Mich.)

Bowling Green skated to a 4-4 tie in its home opener Friday against Western Michigan, before falling on the road Saturday in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Falcons' freshman Alec Rauhauser netted his first career goal Friday, while senior Sean Walker found the back of the net for his first career shorthanded goal, helping BGSU build a 4-2, third-period lead. WMU rallied with a pair of third-period goals to escape with the 4-4 tie.

Walker scored his second goal in as many nights Saturday and Mark Friedman tallied his first of the season, but that was it for BGSU as the Falcons dropped an 8-2 decision at Western Michigan.


No. 13 Michigan 2, Ferris State 1
(Oct. 15 at Ewigleben Ice Arena; Big Rapids, Mich.)

Ferris State dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 13 Michigan before a sellout crowd of 2,516 fans inside FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena, despite nearly doubling UM in shots.

Andrew Mayer had the lone Ferris State goal on a power play in the third period to even the contest at a goal apiece, while Corey Mackin tallied his first assist of the season. The Bulldogs held a 29-16 advantage in shots, but the Wolverines scored a power-play goal (their second of the game) at the 15:32 mark of the third period for the win.


Omaha 3, Alaska Anchorage 1
Alaska Anchorage 1, Canisius 0
(Brice Alaska Goal Rush - Oct. 14 and 15 at Carlson Center; Fairbanks, Alaska)

Alaska Anchorage split a pair of contests at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush, earning its first victory of the season with a 1-0 triumph over Canisius on Saturday.

Omaha's two-goal first period Friday proved the difference. UAA rallied within 2-1 in the second period on Jonah Renouf's first career goal, but it was not enough. Senior transfer Rasmus Reijoa made 30 saves in his first UAA start.

Mason Mitchell and Olivier Mantha led the Seawolves to their first win of the season, 1-0 over Canisius on Saturday. Mitchell scored the game's only goal with just 50 seconds remaining in the first period, while Mantha made 22 saves - including 15 over the final two stanzas - for his third career shutout.


Canisius 2, at Alaska 1 - OT
Omaha 4, at Alaska 3 - OT
(Brice Alaska Goal Rush - Oct. 14 and 15 at Carlson Center; Fairbanks, Alaska)

Alaska ran into some tough luck in its own tournament, as the host Nanooks dropped a pair of overtime games at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush.

Tristan Thompson's first career goal gave UAF a 1-0, first-period lead Friday against Canisius, but the visitors scored once in the third and again in OT for the win.

The Nanooks staged a thrilling rally Saturday against Omaha, erasing a 3-1, third-period deficit to force overtime on goals by Troy Van Tetering and Marcus Basara. However, Omaha became the first lower-48 team to win the BAGR when the Mavericks scored 1:15 into the extra period.