Every weekday from June 12-27, we will be looking back at the "Top Shelf Moments" from the 2016-17 WCHA Men's League season. Up next on our countdown is…
Moment #11: Hats Off
If you wore a hat to a WCHA game the first weekend of December, chances are it was coming off, as three league skaters recorded hat tricks: Minnesota State's Marc Michaelis, Alabama Huntsville's Kurt Gosselin and Bowling Green's Mitchell McLain.
Michaelis, the eventual WCHA Rookie of the Year, torched Alaska for three goals and an assist during the Mavericks' 7-3 win Dec. 2. He scored once in each period, including a power-play marker in the first, the game-winner in the second and a goal at 11:46 of the third that extended Minnesota State's lead to 5-3. Michaelis also added an assist on Daniel Brickley's game-opening, power-play goal. His first career hat trick was the first by a WCHA rookie since his teammate, Brad McClure, netted three goals against Michigan Tech in the 2015 Broadmoor Trophy championship game.
Gosselin was one of just two NCAA Division I defenseman with a hat trick in 2016-17, while becoming the first WCHA blue-liner to accomplish the feat since Dec. 7, 2011 (St. Cloud State's Nick Jensen). Prior to Gosselin's outburst in a 5-3 victory over Ferris State on Dec. 3, no Charger had scored three goals in one game since Feb. 1, 2008 (Cale Tanaka), while a UAH defenseman last turned the trick Jan. 2, 1999 (Shane Stewart, during the team's first D-I season). Gosselin scored twice in the first period to erase a 1-0 deficit and give the Chargers a 2-1 lead, then sparked a three-goal, third-period comeback with the game-tying marker 3:39 into the final stanza.
McLain was the difference in Bowling Green's 5-2 road win at Lake Superior State on Dec. 3, posting his second hat trick in five games. With the performance, he joined teammate Kevin Dufour and Northern Michigan's Dominik Shine as the first WCHA skaters with multiple hat tricks in the same season since Colorado College's Rylan Schwartz had three during the 2011-12 campaign. McLain, who along with Dufour and Shine would tie for second nationally with two hat tricks in 2016-17, scored once in each period. His first-period goal gave BGSU a 1-0 lead 13:14 into the contest, his power-play marker in the second put the Falcons back on top by a 2-1 margin, while his short-handed tally sealed both the hat trick and the outcome.
Gosselin and McLain became the first WCHA pair with hat tricks on the same night since Alaska Anchorage's Brett Cameron (four goals) and Minnesota State's Dylan Margonari on Dec. 6, 2014.