WCHA Week 13: Play Resumes With 15 Games, Including 13 Nonconference Contests
Four WCHA Teams To Play In Prestigious Holiday Tournaments; Alaska Anchorage Hosts No. 15 Bemidji State In Lone WCHA Series
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Alaska Anchorage hosts Bemidji State in WCHA league action on Friday and Saturday

Opening Face-Off

- At the Polls: League-leading Bemidji State and two-time defending MacNaughton Cup champion Minnesota State continue to carry the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) banner in the national opinion polls.

  • The Beavers are No. 15 in both the USCHO.com and the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine polls, while the Mavericks are No. 19 in the former and are receiving votes in the latter. Michigan Tech is receiving votes in both polls.

- Hot Huskies: An 0-4-0 start a distant memory, Michigan Tech is 12-3-3 in its last 18 contests. The Huskies' .750 winning percentage since Oct. 14 is tied for fifth nationally, while no NCAA team has won more games since Nov. 1 (Tech is 9-2-1 in that span).

  • Behind NCAA goals-against average leader Angus Redmond (the freshman goaltender sports a 1.40 mark), Tech now boasts the NCAA's sixth-ranked scoring defense at 2.14 goals allowed per game. Redmond also ranks fourth nationally with a .937 save percentage and tied for fifth with an .821 winning percentage (11-2-1).

- Bemidji State Sets Pace: No. 15 Bemidji State, which holds a seven-point lead in the race for the MacNaughton Cup, is tied for second nationally with 13 wins. BSU's .659 winning percentage (13-6-3) ranks ninth in the country.

  • The Beavers lead the nation by allowing just 1.59 goals per game. Junior goaltender Michael Bitzer ranks among the top-15 nationally for: wins (t1st - 13), games (1st - 21), starts (1st - 21), minutes (1st - 1270:24), goals-against average (2nd - 1.46), shutouts (t2nd - 3), save percentage (3rd - .940), saves (4th - 483) and winning percentage (11th - .690, 13-5-3).

- Charging Ahead: Alabama Huntsville will open the second half of league play Jan. 6 tied for fourth place in the WCHA standings. Through 16 games, the Chargers have already posted their most WCHA victories ever at 7-7-2-0.

  • UAH has posted three road sweeps (at FSU, at UAA and at NMU) and has a four-game road winning streak - both firsts for the program since the 2004-05 campaign. The Chargers are 6-1-1-0 on the road in WCHA play.

- 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 and the NCHC each have three teams apiece, the Big Ten and ECAC Hockey both have two each and Atlantic Hockey has a single program).

  • Minnesota State ranks fourth nationally over the last three-and-a-half seasons with 87 wins, Michigan Tech is tied for 10th with 78, Ferris State is 13th with 74 and Bowling Green is tied for 14th with 72.

The Week Ahead

- Welcome Back: Following a 10-day hiatus for the holiday break, the WCHA returns with eight teams playing 15 games from Wednesday-Sunday of this week.

- Holiday Tournaments: Four WCHA teams are participating in prestigious holiday tournaments this week.

  • Michigan Tech hosts the 52nd annual Great Lakes Invitational on Thursday and Friday, the final one held at the fabled Joe Louis Arena. The Huskies skate against Michigan in one semifinal, while No. 16 Western Michigan and Michigan State square off in the other contest.
  • Ferris State opens the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh against Robert Morris on Thursday, and will play one of two ranked opponents in the second contest - either No. 6/5 Boston College or No. 14/13 Quinnipiac.
  • Northern Michigan skates against Cornell on Wednesday in the opener of the Florida College Hockey Classic, which also features Colorado College and Merrimack.
  • Alabama Huntsville comes to Minneapolis for the Mariucci Classic, hosted by No. 11 Minnesota. The Chargers open against Massachusetts on Friday, and will face either Mercyhurst or the Gophers on Saturday.

- Nonconference Games: Two WCHA teams hit the road for nonconference series, as Lake Superior State will visit No. 20 Omaha, while Alaska travels to No. 12 Notre Dame. A third league school, Bowling Green, will host a single contest against RIT on Friday night at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.

- No. 15 Bemidji State at Alaska Anchorage: The lone WCHA series of the weekend sees the Seawolves hosting the league-leading Beavers for a pair of afternoon contests in Anchorage. Both the Friday and Saturday games will begin at 1:37 p.m. AT.