- Michaelis Nabs HCA National Award: Minnesota State freshman forward Marc Michaelis was named the Hockey Commissioners' Association National Division 1 College Hockey Rookie of the Month for December 2016.
- Michaelis tied for the NCAA rookie lead with 12 points in December, while ranking second among first-year skaters by averaging 2.00 points-per-game. The freshman from Mannheim, Germany tallied five goals and seven assists in six contests, pacing all men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) skaters in points, points-per-game, goals (tied), assists (tied), power-play assists (tied, with three) and power-play points (tied, with four).
- At the Polls: League-leading Bemidji State and two-time defending MacNaughton Cup champion Minnesota State continue to carry the WCHA banner in the national opinion polls.
- The Beavers are No. 17 in the USCHO.com poll, while the Mavericks are No. 19 and Michigan Tech is receiving votes. BSU is also receiving votes in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine top-15 poll.
- Live on ASN: Friday night marks the return of the WCHA to the American Sports Network (ASN) nationally-televised college hockey doubleheader, as Bowling Green will host No. 17 Bemidji State at the "Madhouse on Mercer" - the Slater Family Ice Arena.
- The game, which begins at 8:37 p.m. ET, will be broadcast live on 96 ASN affiliates spanning 38 states nationwide; and, streamed in Canada via TSN GO. Dave Ellis will handle play-by-play duties, alongside former University of Minnesota All-American and two-time All-WCHA performer Pat Micheletti.
- Playoffs?!?: While it may seem early to be talking about the postseason, Bemidji State became the first team to clinch a spot in the 2017 WCHA Playoffs. With 46 points already, the Beavers can finish no lower than eighth place in the league standings.
- Bemidji State has won 14 WCHA games this year, their most wins in conference play since finishing the 2009-10 College Hockey America campaign at 14-3-1. The program's previous WCHA best was 12 victories in 2014-15 (12-11-5).
- BSU is tied for the NCAA lead with 14 wins (matching Union), while they continue to boast the nation's stingiest defense by allowing just 1.62 goals per game. Junior goaltender Michael Bitzer, the country's active shutout leader with a program-record 14 in his career, ranks among the top-15 nationally this season for: wins (1st - 14), games (1st - 23), starts (1st - 23), minutes (1st - 1389:26), shutouts (t1st - 4), goals-against average (2nd - 1.47), saves (3rd - 516), save percentage (5th - .938) and winning percentage (15th - .674).
- Hot Huskies: A 1-5-2 start a distant memory, Michigan Tech is 12-3-1 in its last 16 contests. The Huskies' .781 winning percentage since Oct. 28 is tied for fourth nationally, while no NCAA team has won more games since that date.
- Tech's run coincides with the first collegiate start by freshman Angus Redmond, who leads the country with a 1.27 goals-against average. The rookie is tied for third nationally for wins, ranks fourth with a .942 save percentage and is sixth with a .781 winning mark (12-3-1).
- 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 10th with 79, Ferris State is 13th with 74 and Bowling Green is tied for 14th with 73.
By the Numbers
- 7: WCHA wins by Alabama Huntsville, already the most in program history (and matching the Chargers' entire 2015-16 overall output).
- 8: Career shutouts by Bowling Green junior goaltender Chris Nell, most in program history.
- 26: Wins for Bemidji State between Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2016, matching Denver for most in the country during the last calendar year.
- 58: Saves by Ferris State freshman goaltender Justin Kapelmaster last Friday against No. 6/5 Boston College, tying for the 22nd-most in a single game in the 65-year history of the WCHA (tied for the seventh-most by a rookie).
The Week Ahead
- Playoff Rematch: No. 17 Bemidji State and Bowling Green meet in a Thursday-Friday series. The rematch of the three-game, 2016 WCHA quarterfinal series features Friday night's nationally televised game on ASN.
- Cappo Cup: Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan resume a storied UP rivalry and competition for the Cappo Cup in a home-and-home set, with the Lakers hosting Friday night and the Wildcats on Saturday.
- Jostling for Position: Two teams tied for fourth in the WCHA - No. 19 Minnesota State and Alabama Huntsville - meet for two games in Huntsville.
- Heading to the Last Frontier: Alaska Anchorage, which is 3-3-0 in its last six games, hosts Ferris State. The league's reigning Offensive Player of the Week (UAA forward Matt Anholt) skates against the defending Defensive Player of the Week (FSU freshman goaltender Justin Kapelmaster).
- Nonconference Test: Michigan Tech plays at No. 12 Notre Dame, with both games broadcast nationally by the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).