Winner Is Crowned WCHA Postseason Champion And Earns Bid To 2017 NCAA Tournament
- Battle for the Broadmoor: Two teams. One Broadmoor Trophy. The 2017 men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Championship is set, as Michigan Tech will host Bowling Green on Saturday, March 18 at 7:07 p.m. ET from the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Mich. The winner will be crowned WCHA postseason champion and will earn the league's automatic bid to the 2017 Division I Men's Hockey Championship.
- With a win, Bowling Green will advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990. Michigan Tech's 2015 appearance was its first in the NCAAs since 1981.
- About Michigan Tech: The second-seeded Huskies outlasted No. 3 seed Minnesota State in a three-game semifinal series, sandwiching 5-1 and 4-1 victories around a 1-0 loss in Game 2. MTU swept seventh-seeded Lake Superior State in the quarterfinals, winning 6-4 and 8-0.
- Michigan Tech has played in four WCHA playoff championship games (1962, 1965, 1996 and 2015), winning twice (1962 and 1965); the Huskies also earned WCHA co-playoff titles in 1960, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1981.
- At 22-14-7, the Huskies have reached the 20-win plateau for three-straight campaigns, marking the first time Tech has done so since a stretch from the 1980-81 through 1982-83 seasons (including the final two years of John MacInnes' Hall of Fame tenure in Houghton).
- The Huskies have won eight of their last nine WCHA postseason games at home, while scoring at least four goals in six of their last seven. Counting the tournament, MTU is 11-4-4 this season at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
- Freshman goaltender Angus Redmond, who has allowed just three goals in the last four playoff games, ranks third nationally with a 1.78 goals-against average. Fellow rookie Gavin Gould has scored five goals in the last four contests, including a hat trick in the decisive semifinal-round Game 3.
- Michigan Tech leads the nation in opponent shots on goal, yielding just 23.02 per game. The Huskies are second in the WCHA (fifth nationally) by allowing 2.16 goals per contest, while they are third in the league for scoring offense (2.93 goals per game). Tech ranks second in the WCHA on the power play at 18.7 pct. (37-for-198) and second (fifth nationally) for penalty-kill rate (86.7 pct., 183-for-211).
- About Bowling Green: The No. 4 seed Falcons became the first road team to win a series in the 2017 WCHA Playoffs, upsetting top-seeded Bemidji State with a two-game sweep at the Sanford Center (4-3, overtime victory in Game 1; and, a 2-1 triumph in Game 2). BGSU swept Ferris State, the No. 5 seed, in the quarterfinals by scores of 6-1 and 5-3.
- Bowling Green is playing in its first conference championship game since the 1988 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) final, a 5-3 Falcons' victory over Lake Superior State.
- The Falcons have won seven-straight games, the program's longest run since a seven-game winning streak during that same 1987-88 season -- an NCAA Tournament campaign under Jerry York.
- At 21-17-2, Bowling Green has won at least 20-games for three-straight seasons, a first for the Falcon program since a nine-year stretch under York between 1981-82 and 1989-90.
- Junior goaltender Chris Nell, who set a program record with a 220:18 scoreless streak between Feb. 11 and March 3, leads the NCAA with a 1.10 goals-against average and .964 save percentage during the Falcons' winning streak (since Feb. 11). Senior forward Kevin Dufour is tied for second nationally during that same span with eight goals.
- BGSU is second in the WCHA for scoring offense (2.95 goals per game) and fourth for scoring defense (2.48 goals allowed per contest). The Falcons' power play is fifth in the league (15.6 pct., 33-for-212), while their penalty kill is seventh (83.0 pct., 166-for-200).
- On-Campus Championship History: The last time the WCHA held a one-game, on-campus playoff championship was March 13, 1965, when Michigan Tech defeated host North Dakota, 6-4 at the Winter Sports Building in Grand Forks, N.D. The WCHA's last on-campus playoff championship of any kind was a two-game, total-goal series in 1987 (won by host North Dakota, 10-6, in goals scored over Minnesota).
- Bitzer for Hobey: Bemidji State junior goaltender Michael Bitzer, the 2016-17 WCHA Player of the Year and the nation's leader in both goals-against average (1.71) and shutouts (six), has been named a top-10 finalist for the 2017 Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
- Tradition Starts Here: Three (3) of the nation's top-15 winningest teams since 2013-14 play in the WCHA - matching the NCHC for the second-highest representation among that upper 25% of any conference since realignment (Hockey East has five teams, Atlantic Hockey and ECAC Hockey have two apiece, and the Big Ten has a single program).
- Minnesota State ranks third nationally with 98 wins, Michigan Tech is tied for 11th with 88 and Bowling Green is 13th with 84.
By the Numbers
- 20 (x4): For the second consecutive season, the WCHA has produced four, 20-win teams. Michigan Tech has 22 wins and Bowling Green has 21, while league regular season champion Bemidji State and Minnesota State each finished with 22 victories.
'Battle for the Broadmoor' – 2017 WCHA Championship
- (4) Bowling Green at (1) Michigan Tech: The Huskies swept the lone regular season series between the teams, winning 3-1 and 2-1 on Dec. 9-10 at the Slater Family Ice Arena. Jake Lucchini (2g-1a) had a three-point weekend for Michigan Tech, while Matt Roy, Alex Gillies and Jake Jackson also scored goals. Angus Redmond turned aside 47-of-49 shots in the MTU net, yielding goals to the Falcons' Matt Meier and Stephen Baylis.
- Michigan Tech leads the all-time series, which dates to the 1972-73 season, by a 15-9-3 margin. The Huskies are 6-4-2 in games played in Houghton. Tech has won three straight in the series against the Falcons and are undefeated in six of the last seven meetings.
The Week in Review – 2017 WCHA Playoffs (Semifinals)
- Bowling Green became the only road team to win a series during the 2017 WCHA Playoffs, upsetting top-seeded Bemidji State in two games to earn a shot at the Broadmoor Trophy.
- Michigan Tech punched its ticket to the 2017 WCHA Championship with a hard-fought, three-game semifinal-round series victory over Minnesota State.
- Full recaps, box scores and select video highlights are available at wcha.com.
(4) Bowling Green 4, at (1) Bemidji State 3 - OT
(4) Bowling Green 2, at (1) Bemidji State 1
(Mar. 10 and 11 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)
Bowling Green became the only road team to win a series during the 2017 WCHA Playoffs, upsetting top-seeded Bemidji State in two games to earn a shot at the Broadmoor Trophy.
Kevin Dufour played the hero in Friday's Game 1, capping a hat trick with the tying goal in the third period and the game-winner in overtime, lifting the No. 4 seed Falcons to the 4-3 victory. After Bowling Green opened the scoring on Dufour's first goal of the game, Bemidji State responded with a Phillip Marinaccio goal to send the teams into the first intermission tied at 1-1. Myles Fitzgerald scored the lone goal in the second frame to give the host Beavers a 2-1 advantage heading into the final 20 minutes of play. The third period was a back-and-forth stanza befitting playoff hockey, with the teams trading goals. Matt Pohlkamp pulled BGSU even 32 seconds into the frame; but, just more than a minute later, Nate Arentz answered to put BSU back on top. Dufour's goal at the 13:30 mark sent the game into overtime, where the teams skated evenly for 17:23. The senior then scored to complete the hat trick and the Falcons' Game 1, comeback win. BGSU goaltender Chris Nell finished the night with a career-high 45 saves.
In Game 2, the Beavers looked to even up the series, scoring just three minutes after the drop of the puck thanks to Gerry Fitzgerald. Continuing from the night before, Dufour tied the game at 1-1 early in the second with his 18th goal of the season and fourth of the weekend. Another familiar scorer would send the Falcons into the 2017 WCHA Championship, as Pohlkamp registered his second goal of the weekend at the 3:49 mark of the third period, snapping the 1-1 tie and giving BGSU a 2-1 victory and semifinal-round series sweep.
at (2) Michigan Tech 5, (3) Minnesota State 1
(3) Minnesota State 1, at (2) Michigan Tech 0
at (2) Michigan Tech 4, (3) Minnesota State 1 (Mar. 10, 11, and 12 at John MacInnes Student Arena; Houghton, Mich.)
Michigan Tech punched its ticket to the 2017 WCHA Championship with a hard-fought, three-game semifinal-round series victory over Minnesota State.
The second-seeded Huskies opened the series with a four-goal, third-period outburst that turned a 1-1 tie into a 5-1, Game 1 victory over the No. 3 seed Mavericks. After Mark Auk (MTU) and freshman Charlie Gerard (MSU) traded first-period goals, the floodgates opened for Tech in the final stanza. Reid Sturos scored 3:31 into the period to give MTU the lead, Jake Jackson followed at 6:55, before freshman Gavin Gould and Dane Birks (short-handed, empty-netter) put the game away. Michigan Tech freshman goaltender Angus Redmond made 22 saves in the win.
With their season on the line, the Mavericks used a strong defensive effort to keep their hopes alive with a 1-0 win in Game 2. Zeb Knutson scored the lone goal of the night, as his marker 6:29 into the second period was the difference in the game. From there, Minnesota State goaltender Jason Pawloski (15 saves) and the Maverick defense shut the door, finishing the shutout to force a decisive Game 3.
The Huskies rode a wave of goals from Gould, who registered his first career hat-trick, to a 4-1 victory in Game 3. The rookie opened the scoring at the 7:10 mark of the first period. But less than a minute later, Maverick freshman Ian Scheid tied the game up with a goal of his own. Gould found his scoring touch again in the second stanza, netting back-to-back, power-play goals within 1:25 to put Tech on top, 3-1. Chris Leibinger added an empty-net goal, Redmond made 20 saves and the Huskies earned the right to host the 2017 WCHA Championship.