WCHA Week 7: No. 11 Minnesota State Hosts No. 15 Bemidji State In Marquee Matchup
Four WCHA Series And Two Nonconference Sets With Big Ten On Tap
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One of the top matchups in all of college hockey this weekend will be in Mankato, where the No. 11 Mavericks host the No. 15 Beavers in a series between WCHA front-runners.

Opening Face-Off

- Polling Place: The first USCHO.com poll of November features a trio of men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) teams, with No. 11 Minnesota State, No. 15 Bemidji State (up from No. 18) and - making its season debut in the poll - No. 20 Lake Superior State. The Mavericks are also 11th in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine top-15, with the Beavers and Lakers receiving votes.

- Winning Hockey: With eight wins, Bemidji State has matched No. 3 Boston College and No. 16/15 Union for the most wins in the country. Minnesota State is tied for fourth with seven victories, while Lake Superior State is tied for seventh with six wins.

- Bemidji State Keeps Rolling: At 8-2-0, No. 15 Bemidji State is off to its best 10-game start since the 2009-10 team opened at 9-1-0. The Beavers' perfect 8-0-0 WCHA mark is also their best league start since that same 2009-10 squad posted an identical 8-0-0 mark in College Hockey America (BSU dropped its ninth CHA game that season, at Niagara).

  • Since joining the WCHA for the 2010-11 season, here are the dates that Bemidji State previously reached eight overall wins and eight league wins: 2010-11 (Jan. 7 overall / Feb. 19 WCHA); 2011-12 (Dec. 16 / Feb. 10); 2012-13 (N/A - finished 6-22-8 and 5-16-7); 2013-14 (Jan. 25 for both); 2014-15 (Jan. 23 / Feb. 14); 2015-16 (Jan. 9 / Feb. 12).
  • Bemidji State has either been tied or had the lead for 554:36 of 602:05 ice time this season (92.1 percent). The Beavers have skated with the lead for 392:58 (65.3 percent).

- Charging Ahead: Alabama Huntsville has jumped into third place in the WCHA standings on the strength of its success away from home, having posted a 4-1-1-0 mark through six league road games.

  • The Chargers, who won twice at Ferris State (Oct. 1-2) and again at Alaska Anchorage (Nov. 4-5), have posted two road sweeps in a season for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign. UAH has been on the road for eight of its first 10 games overall.
  • UAH is already one conference win shy of matching its entire 2015-16 output (5-17-6) and is three away from its best WCHA mark (7-20-1 in 2014-15).

- Tradition Starts Here: Four (4) of the nation's top-15 winningest teams over the past three seasons play in the WCHA - tied for 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).

  • Minnesota State ranks fourth nationally with 83 wins, Michigan Tech is tied for 11th with 70, Ferris State is tied for 13th with 69 and Bowling Green ranks 15th with 65.

By the Numbers

- 5.25: Average combined goals scored in the first 32 WCHA league games (168 total), up 5.4 percent from the final 2015-16 tally of 4.98 per contest (697 goals in 140 games).

- 99: Career wins for Michigan Tech head coach Mel Pearson, just one win shy of joining the legendary John MacInnes as the only coaches in program history to record at least 100 victories. Currently in his sixth season behind the bench of his alma mater, Pearson - a two-time WCHA Coach of the Year - owns a 99-83-24 (.539) career mark.


The Week Ahead

- No. 15 Bemidji State at No. 11 Minnesota State: One of the top matchups in all of college hockey this weekend will be in Mankato, where the No. 11 Mavericks host the No. 15 Beavers in a series between WCHA front-runners. MSU is 4-1-0 in the last five meetings.

- No. 20 Lake Superior State at Michigan Tech: These UP rivals meet for the only time this season, as the Huskies - undefeated in their last seven meetings with LSSU - host the No. 20 Lakers. LSSU will play 10 of its final 12 games of 2016 on the road.

- Alaska at Alabama Huntsville: The Chargers return home to host just their second series of the year in the Von Braun Center, welcoming the Nanooks. The teams split in Huntsville last season.

- Bowling Green at Northern Michigan: Two teams looking to move up the WCHA standings meet in Marquette, as the Wildcats host the Falcons. BGSU has won four-straight in the series - all one-goal triumphs.

- WCHA-Big Ten matchups: For the second-straight weekend, WCHA teams will play two nonconference series against Big Ten opponents. Ferris State skates in a home-and-home beginning Thursday at Michigan State, while Alaska Anchorage visits No. 12 Penn State.


The Week in Review

- Tenth-ranked Minnesota State traveled to the UP this weekend to face red-hot Lake Superior State in a series that saw both teams earn wins.

- No. 18 Bemidji State visited Fairbanks to face the Alaska Nanooks and came away still undefeated in conference play with the weekend sweep.

- Alabama Huntsville traveled to Anchorage and left in the third spot in the WCHA standings after a sweep of the host Seawolves. With the wins, UAH has posted two road sweeps in the same season for the first time since 2004-05.

- Bowling Green hosted Ferris State and came away with its first conference victory in the opener, before the Bulldogs won their second in three road contests to earn a split.

- Michigan Tech visited in-state rival Michigan State this weekend and came away with a nonconference split following a 5-1, Saturday victory over the Big Ten foe.

- Northern Michigan faced off with Wisconsin for the second time this season and, for the second time, won the series opener to earn a split.

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


at Lake Superior State 5, No. 9 Minnesota State 1
No. 9 Minnesota State 2, at Lake Superior State 1
(Nov. 4 and 5 at Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)

Tenth-ranked Minnesota State traveled to the UP this weekend to face red-hot Lake Superior State in a series that saw both teams earn wins.

Friday night, the host Lakers got out to and early lead and never looked back en route to a 5-1 win. Goals by Josh Nenadal and Brayden Gelsinger gave them a 2-0 advantage less than five minutes into the first period. Minnesota State tallied their lone goal midway through the second, a short-handed score off the stick of freshman Marc Michaelis. A few minutes later, LSSU's Gage Torrel scored his fifth goal of the season, while the Lakers added two more in the third period (by freshman Max Humitz and Diego Cuglietta) to finish off the victory. Lake Superior State goaltender Gordon Defiel had an outstanding night, ending with 24 saves on 25 shots to remain undefeated on the season.

Saturday night, the Mavericks bounced back in a gritty game that saw goals hard to come by. It looked like there wouldn't be a tally in the opening frame until junior forward Brad McClure scored at the 19:12 mark to put Minnesota State ahead going into the dressing room. Midway through the second period, Jordan Nelson added another goal, this one short-handed, to push the Mavericks' lead to 2-0. J.T. Henke got the Lakers on the board at 10:46 of the second stanza, but Minnesota State goaltender Jason Pawloski shut the door on the Lakers over the final 29:14 to earn the win. Pawloski finished with 19 saves, including 12 in the third period.


No. 18 Bemidji State 6, at Alaska 2
No. 18 Bemidji State 3, at Alaska 1
(Nov. 4 and 5 at Carlson Center; Fairbanks, Alaska)

No. 18 Bemidji State visited Fairbanks to face the Alaska Nanooks and came away still undefeated in conference play with the weekend sweep.

A four-goal, third-period outburst was the difference Friday, as the Beavers opened the series with a 6-2 win. The teams traded first-period goals by BSU senior captain Charlie O'Connor and UAF freshman James LaDouce (first career goal), while Kyle Bauman's second-period strike gave the Beavers a 2-1 lead entering the final frame. The third period was all Bemidji State, as the visitors scored four unanswered goals. Phillip Marinaccio netted a power-play goal, Gerry Fitzgerald tallied a pair and Bauman scored his second of the night.

O'Connor got the scoring going again Saturday with a power-play goal towards the end of the first period. Just as the night before, the Nanooks responded thanks to a power-play strike by freshman Ross Heidt. BSU's Brendan Harms put the Beavers ahead to stay at the 17:19 mark of the second period with his own man-advantage goal, while Marinaccio added an insurance tally in the third for the sweep-clinching, 3-1 victory. BSU goaltender Michael Bitzer stopped 21-of-22 shots for his eighth win of the season.


Alabama Huntsville 5, at Alaska Anchorage 2
Alabama Huntsville 3, at Alaska Anchorage 2 - OT
(Nov. 4 and 5 at Sullivan Arena; Anchorage, Alaska)

Alabama Huntsville traveled to Anchorage and left in the third spot in the WCHA standings after a sweep of the host Seawolves. With the wins, UAH has posted two road sweeps in the same season for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign.

The visiting Chargers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in Friday's series opener, when Cam Knight, Hans Gorowsky and Brennan Saulnier all scored in the first 6:19 of the opening period. UAA's Brad Duwe, playing in his first game of the season, responded to put the home team on the board midway through the first. But a goal by John Teets put the Chargers back to a three-goal lead going into the dressing room. Duwe added his second goal of the night in the middle stanza, before Kurt Gosselin's third-period power-play tally wrapped up the 5-2 victory for UAH. Chargers' junior goaltender Jordan Uhleski earned his first collegiate win with a 25-save effort.

UAH again jumped out to a 2-0 lead in Saturday's series finale, but needed overtime heroics by Matt Salhany to escape with the 3-2 win and sweep. Gorosky and Gosselin both scored in the first period for the Chargers, who led by two entering the final period. UAA gave the home crowd a thrill, forcing overtime with a pair of third-period goals. Seawolves' captain Matt Anholt got them on the board at the 5:52 mark, before Nils Rygaard drew UAA even with a short-handed goal at 14:07. The teams remained deadlocked deep into the overtime, when Salhany netted the game-winner with just 1:06 remaining. Seawolves' goaltender Olivier Mantha ended the night with 31 saves.


at Bowling Green 4, Ferris State 1
Ferris State 3, at Bowling Green 1
(Nov. 4 and 5 at BGSU Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio)

Bowling Green hosted Ferris State and came away with its first conference victory in the opener, before the Bulldogs won their second in three road contests to earn a split.

Coming off their first victory of the season, the Falcons ran their winning streak to two by getting on the scoreboard early and often Friday night. Tyler Spezia and Matt Pohlkamp pushed BGSU to an early 2-0 lead just over six minutes into the game. The Bulldogs would respond soon with Dominic Lutz' first career goal; but, just 22 seconds later, BGSU freshman Alec Rauhauser stretched the lead back to two. The Falcons received an insurance goal late in the middle frame by Mitch McLain to finish off the Bulldogs by a 4-1 margin. BGSU held a 34-15 edge in shots, as FSU goaltender Darren Smith finished the contest with 30 saves.

Ferris State came roaring back Saturday night, riding a 26-save effort by freshman goaltender Justin Kapelmaster to earn a 3-1 win and series split. Freshman Taylor Fernandez got the Bulldogs on the board first with a goal just over six minutes into the opening frame. BGSU freshman Lukas Craggs scored his first career goal to knot things up at the 8:52 mark of the second period. Shortly after, Andrew Dorantes scored a power-play goal to put Ferris State back in front, while Gerald Mayhew added a short-handed tally in the third period for the final, 3-1 margin.


at Michigan State 3, Michigan Tech 2 - OT
Michigan Tech 5, at Michigan State 1
(Nov. 4 and 5 at Munn Ice Arena; East Lansing, Mich.)

Michigan Tech visited in-state rival Michigan State this weekend and came away with a nonconference split following a 5-1, Saturday victory over the Big Ten foe.

Friday night, the two teams played their sixth-straight overtime contest, with the host Spartans earning a 3-2 win. Michigan State scored first seven minutes into the game, but Michigan Tech rallied to take a 2-1 lead. Mason Blacklock drew the Huskies even less than a minute after MSU's score, while the Huskies went ahead in the second period on a goal from Jake Lucchini. But, two straight power-play goals from Michigan State's Mason Appleton - one in the second period and one in overtime - would lift the home team to victory.

Looking to avenge their overtime loss from the night before, the Huskies came out firing Saturday night, scoring two goals in the first five minutes off the sticks of Mark Auk and Joel L'Esperance. MSU put their only goal of the night in late in the opening frame to cut the lead in half. But from there the Huskies took over the night, as they finished the night scoring three unanswered goals courtesy of Shane Hanna, Reid Sturos and Chris Leibinger to give visiting Tech a 5-1 victory. Freshman goaltender Angus Redmond made 13 saves for the win.


Northern Michigan 5, at Wisconsin 2
at Wisconsin 2, Northern Michigan 0
(Nov. 4 and 5 at Kohl Center; Madison, Wis.)

Northern Michigan faced off with Wisconsin for the second time this season and, for the second time, won the series opener to earn a split.

Mathias Israelsson made 34 saves, and Dominik Shine netted two goals, to propel Northern Michigan to a 5-2 win Friday in Madison. The teams traded goals early (with NMU's Zach Diamantoni scoring), before the Wildcats broke the scoring open in the middle frame. Shine, playing in just his third game, scored two straight goals late in the first period and early in the second to put NMU on top to stay, 3-1. Filip Starzynski put the Wildcats in front, 4-1, at the 5:02 mark of the second period, while Gerard Hanson added an empty-net goal for the final 5-2 margin. Israelsson made 12 saves in the first period, 13 in the second and nine in the third, negating host Wisconsin's 36-17 edge in shots.

Saturday, the fans saw a goaltending duel between the Wildcats' Atte Tolvanen and the Badgers' Jack Berry. Tolvanen finished with 33 saves for the Wildcats, but his team was unable to put anything in the net as they fell in the finale, 2-0. Wisconsin scored both goals on the power play, tallying one in the second period and one in the third for the victory.