- Polling Place: Northern Michigan, off to a strong 5-3-0 start under first-year head coach Grant Potulny, is No. 20 in the USCHO.com poll -- the Wildcats' first appearance in the national rankings since they were 19th on Dec. 1, 2014. Minnesota State is 10th, while fellow men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) programs Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and Bowling Green are all receiving votes.
- The Mavericks, who have played the nation's sixth-toughest schedule to date, are ranked 11th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll (the Wildcats are receiving votes, as are the Falcons and Beavers).
- Whitecloud to Wear the Maple Leaf: Bemidji State sophomore defenseman and 2016-17 All-WCHA Rookie Team performer Zach Whitecloud will compete for the Canadian National Men's Team this week at the 2017 Karjala Cup, held in Switzerland and Finland. The only active NCAA player to skate for Canada in the tournament (Northeastern's Dylan Sikura was selected but will not play due to injury), Whitecloud will miss the Beavers' series at Minnesota State this weekend.
- Michigan Tech alumnus Geoff Kinrade and former Alaska Anchorage defenseman Mat Robinson are also on Team Canada, which plays Nov. 8 (vs. Switzerland), Nov. 10 (vs. Sweden) and Nov. 12 (vs. Finland).
- Alumni from Ferris State (Chad Billins) and Bowling Green (Dan Sexton) will skate this weekend for the U.S. Select Team that is competing at the 2017 Deutschland Cup in Germany.
- Early Impact: A pair of Bowling Green freshmen have helped the Falcons rise to the top of the early-season WCHA standings.
- Forward Cameron Wright leads WCHA rookies and is tied for ninth nationally at 1.00 points per game, tallying four goals and five assists in his first nine collegiate games.
- Goaltender Eric Dop is 3-1-0 in his first four starts, while leading the WCHA with a 1.75 goals-against average (eighth-best nationally) and a .936 save percentage (sixth in the country).
- Playmakers: Northern Michigan senior forward Robbie Payne has lit the lamp seven times, tying for fourth nationally with 0.88 goals per game. Lake Superior State senior forward J.T. Henke (11 assists) is 10th in the country with 1.10 assists per game, while Bemidji State senior forward Gerry Fitzgerald (eight helpers) is 11th at 1.00 per contest.
By the Numbers
- 4: Years since an Alaska Anchorage goaltender tallied an assist, before Oliver Mantha's helper on Austin Azurdia's game-winning goal last Saturday at Lake Superior State (last: Rob Gunderson on Oct. 18, 2013 against Western Michigan).
- 8: Straight games on the road to open the season for Alabama Huntsville, which hosts its home opener Friday against Alaska Anchorage. The Chargers will be home for the rest of November, enjoying a six-game homestand.
- 10: WCHA rinks in which fan Will Sterrett hopes to see a game during the 2017-18 season. He continues #ChasingMacNaughton this weekend at Bowling Green (Friday) and Alabama Huntsville (Saturday).
- 11: Years since Ferris State had won at the Yost Ice Arena, before Ryker Killins' OT goal lifted the Bulldogs to a 3-2 triumph over Michigan last Friday. FSU's most recent win in Ann Arbor had come Feb. 25, 2006 -- a 4-3, OT victory.
- .964: NCAA-best penalty-kill percentage by Bemidji State (27-for-28). The Beavers have killed 13-of-14 penalties in WCHA games to lead the league with a .929 mark.
The Week Ahead
- First Full WCHA Weekend: For the first time this season, all 10 teams will compete in a WCHA league series. Two intra-state matchups are on tap, as UP rivals Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan meet for a home-and-home set, while "State of Hockey" programs Bemidji State and Minnesota State face-off in Bemidji. Also, Alabama Huntsville hosts Alaska Anchorage, Bowling Green welcomes Lake Superior State and Ferris State meets Alaska in Big Rapids, Mich.
The Week in Review
- It was an exciting weekend in Fairbanks, as visiting Bemidji State and the host Nanooks battled in a pair of nail-biters.
- An overtime thriller gave Lake Superior State a win in Friday's series opener, but visiting Alaska Anchorage bounced back to record its first victory of the season in Saturday's contest.
- Bowling Green exacted a measure of revenge in a rematch of the 2017 WCHA Championship, returning to Houghton, Mich. and leaving with five league points against then-No. 20 Michigan Tech.
- Two teams enjoying strong starts locked horns in Marquette, with No. 9 Minnesota State winning the opener and host Northern Michigan taking the finale for a series split.
- Alabama Huntsville traveled west to take on nonconference foe Arizona State, while the series between college hockey's southern-most teams resulted in a split.
- Ferris State won in overtime Friday, its first victory at Yost Ice Arena since 2006, to earn a nonconference split at Michigan.
- Full recaps, box scores and select video highlights are available at wcha.com.
at Alaska 4, Bemidji State 3 - OT
Bemidji State 3, Alaska 2
(Nov. 3 and 4 at Carlson Center; Fairbanks, Alaska)
It was an exciting weekend in Fairbanks, as visiting Bemidji State and the host Nanooks battled in a pair of nail-biters.
Chad Staley picked an opportune time for his first goal of the season, scoring 1:24 into overtime to give UAF a 4-3, comeback victory in Friday's series opener. The teams had traded leads in the early going and were tied 2-2 heading into the third period, when BSU forward Kyle Bauman pushed the Beavers ahead at the 5:57 mark. But with under five minutes remaining, Nanooks' defenseman Zach Frye sent the game to extra time.
Saturday, Bemidji State used a pair of power-play goals off the sticks of Charlie Combs (first career goal) and Gerry Fitzgerald to rally for a 3-2 win. Combs' strike tied the game with 1:27 remaining in the second period, while Fitzgerald snapped the tie with the game-winner 11:45 into the final frame.
at Lake Superior State 3, Alaska Anchorage 2 - OT
Alaska Anchorage 4, at Lake Superior State 1
(Nov. 3 and 4 at Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
An overtime thriller gave Lake Superior State a win in Friday's series opener, but visiting Alaska Anchorage bounced back to record its first victory of the season in Saturday's contest.
Max Humitz played the hero Friday night, scoring at the 3:32 mark of OT to lift the Lakers to a 3-2 triumph. The teams were scoreless in the first period, before UAA's Nicolas Erb-Ekholm and LSSU's Anthony Nellis traded second-period goals. After William Riedell scored his first collegiate goal to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead 2:26 into the final frame, Seawolves forward Cameron Trott sent the game to extra time with a late, power-play goal.
UAA goaltender Olivier Mantha stole the show in the finale, as the senior finished the night with 34 saves in a 4-1 victory. His offense backed him up, led by two third-period goals by Austin Azurdia and a two-point night from Tad Kozun (1g-1a). The Seawolves scored three times in the third period to put the game away.
Bowling Green 2, at No. 20 Michigan Tech 1
Bowling Green 2, at No. 20 Michigan Tech 2 – OT (BGSU wins shootout, 1-0)
(Nov. 3 and 4 at John MacInnes Student Ice Center; Houghton, Mich.)
Bowling Green exacted a measure of revenge in a rematch of the 2017 WCHA Championship, returning to Houghton, Mich. and leaving with five league points against then-No. 20 Michigan Tech.
BGSU's John Schilling came through in Friday's opener, scoring a pair of power-play goals in a 2-1 win. His second, at the 17:49 mark of the second-period, snapped a 1-1 tie. Freshman goaltender Eric Dop made nine of his 21 saves in the third period as the Falcons held on for the victory.
The next night, the Falcons and Huskies traded special-teams blows throughout, with the of the four goals coming on the power-play. Trailing by a goal late in the third, Tech forward Gavin Gould tied the contest up with his fifth goal of the season. Behind goaltenders Ryan Bednard of BGSU (27 saves) and Devin Kero of MTU (24 stops), the game remained tied through 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 overtimes. Stephen Baylis gave the Falcons the extra point in the WCHA standings, scoring in the sixth round of the sudden-death shootout.
No. 9 Minnesota State 3, at Northern Michigan 0
at Northern Michigan 4, No. 9 Minnesota State 1
(Nov. 3 and 4 at Berry Events Center; Marquette, Mich.)
Two teams enjoying strong starts locked horns in Marquette, with No. 9 Minnesota State winning the opener and host Northern Michigan taking the finale for a series split.
Jason Pawloski made 26 saves Friday night for his fifth career shutout (and second of the season), backstopping the Mavericks to a 3-0 win. The game was close through the first 48 minutes, as MSU clung to a 1-0 lead on Ian Scheid's first-period goal. A pair of forwards finished off NMU in the third, as Max Coatta and Brad McClure netted goals for the visitors.
Northern Michigan used a three-goal, second-period outburst to win Saturday's contest, 4-1, and earn its second series split against a top-10 opponent this season. A first-period goal by MSU's C.J. Suess made it look like it could be another nice night for the Mavericks, but the Wildcats scored three times on special teams in the middle stanza. Troy Loggins and Darien Craighead struck on the power play, while Robbie Payne's game-winner came short-handed. Loggins added an empty-net goal in the third period, while goaltender Mathias Israelsson made 23 saves for the win in his first start of the season.
at Arizona State 3, Alabama Huntsville 2
Alabama Huntsville 3, at Arizona State 1
(Nov. 3 and 4 at Oceanside Ice Arena; Tempe, Arizona)
Alabama Huntsville traveled west to take on nonconference foe Arizona State, while the series between college hockey's southern-most teams resulted in a split.
The first night, despite making things interesting down the stretch on a late Kurt Gosselin goal, the Chargers fell by a 3-2 final.
UAH got back on track the next night, scoring three unanswered goals to close out a 3-1 victory. Freshman Christian Rajic tied the game, Brennan Saulnier netted his second of the weekend for the game-winner and Josh Kestner added an empty-netter. Gosselin assisted on the first two Charger tallies, while goaltender Jordan Uhleski made 18 saves.
at Michigan 7, Ferris State 2
Ferris State 3, at Michigan 2 - OT
(Nov. 2 and 3 at Yost Ice Arena; Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Ferris State won in overtime Friday, its first victory at Yost Ice Arena since 2006, to earn a nonconference split at Michigan.
Thursday's series opener was a one-goal game, at 3-2, with 12:02 remaining in the third period, before the host Wolverines scored four unanswered for a 7-2 victory.
The Bulldogs bounced back in a big way Friday, rallying for the win. Trailing 2-1 with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation, Mitch Maloney scored his second goal of the series (and fifth of the season) to tie the game. Then, after a disallowed Michigan goal in OT, Ferris State's Ryker Killins scored at the 2:26 mark of the extra session for a 3-2 Bulldogs victory. Ferris State freshman Coale Norris, playing against his brother, Josh, brought the Bulldogs even at 1-1 with a first-period goal. Sophomore goaltender Justin Kapelmaster turned in one of his best performances, making 42 saves in the Bulldog net.