- Come On and Play: After five men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) teams opened the 2018-19 regular season last weekend, the remaining five officially begin their campaigns this week.
- The WCHA is coming off a 2017-18 season that saw it send two teams to the NCAA regionals (Minnesota State and Michigan Tech), join Hockey East as one of two conferences to produce a quartet of 20-win teams (MSU, Northern Michigan, Bowling Green and MTU), land three teams in the final national polls (No. 9 MSU, No. 16 MTU and No. 20 NMU), produce three All-Americans (MSU's C.J. Suess, NMU's Philip Beaulieu and BGSU's Alec Rauhauser) and have 24 players (from all 10 schools) sign professional contracts.
- Among the Best: Four (4) of the nation's top-20 winningest teams since the 2013-14 realignment play in the WCHA, including three in the top-15.
- Minnesota State has gone 127-58-16 (.672) to lead all NCAA Division I men's hockey programs in victories over the last five seasons (and, the Mavericks lead with 151 wins during the six-season Mike Hastings era).
- Michigan Tech (111-70-26, .599) is tied with Notre Dame for 10th, Bowling Green (109-70-25, .596) is tied with Minnesota Duluth for 13th and Ferris State (94-88-17, .515) is tied with Clarkson for 20th.
- Polling Place: Defending WCHA regular season champion Minnesota State, the coaches' and media pick to repeat atop the league, is No. 11 in this week's USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, followed by No. 19 Michigan Tech and No. 20 Bowling Green.
- The Falcons jumped in following a season-opening, 8-2 win at Mercyhurst last Saturday (followed by a 6-2 triumph at No. 18 Western Michigan on Tuesday).
- Northern Michigan (No. 20 in the preseason poll) and Lake Superior State (which opened with a road sweep at Merrimack) are receiving votes.
- Welcome Back, Jack: The WCHA family was thrilled by the successful return to the ice last weekend of Alaska defenseman Jack Weiss, less than a year after being diagnosed with testicular cancer. Now cancer-free, the senior played both games at Arizona State.
- First "W" for Curley: Alaska Anchorage's Matt Curley picked up his first victory as an NCAA Division I head coach last Sunday, as the Seawolves scored twice in the third period for a 4-3, comeback win over Colorado College.
The Week Ahead
- Nonconference Tests: The week, which got underway with No. 20 Bowling Green's 6-2 win Tuesday at No. 18 Western Michigan, features 17 nonconference games, including 12 against ranked opponents.
- Including Tuesday, WCHA teams are playing 11 games this week against NCHC opponents: Alabama Huntsville is at Colorado College and No. 10/13 Denver, Alaska hosts No. 5/3 St. Cloud State, Bemidji State has a home-and-home with No. 13/12 North Dakota, Ferris State plays home-and-home against No. 18 Western Michigan and No. 19 Michigan Tech welcomes No. 3/2 Minnesota Duluth.
- The WCHA will also skate against Atlantic Hockey (No. 20 Bowling Green is at/vs. Robert Morris, the Big Ten (Northern Michigan at Michigan State) and Hockey East (No. 11 Minnesota State hosts No. 8/9 Boston University).
- Exhibition for the Lakers: Lake Superior State hosts Nipissing for two exhibition contests.
The Week in Review
- WCHA posts important nonconference wins on opening weekend.
Bowling Green 8, at Mercyhurst 2
(Oct. 6 at Mercyhurst Ice Center; Erie, Pa.)
The Falcons' offense was flying on opening night, scoring eight times on 35 shots -- including three power-play goals -- en route to a dominating, 8-2 win at Mercyhurst.
WCHA Forward of the Week Stephen Baylis had a natural hat trick for his first career three-goal performance, turning a 3-0 Bowling Green lead into a 6-0 advantage.
Baylis added an assist for a four-point night, joining Max Johnson (2g-2a) and Brandon Kruse (4a) in that category.
Ryan Bednard carried a shutout into the third period and finished with 18 saves in the victory.
Lake Superior State 5, at Merrimack 4
Lake Superior State 1, at Merrimack 0
(Oct. 6 and 7 at Lawler Rink; North Andover, Mass.)
The Lakers had a terrific start to the season, getting excellent goaltending and clutch scoring to earn a road sweep at Merrimack.
Senior netminder Nick Kossoff made 28 saves in a 5-4 win Saturday, then sophomore Mareks Mitens - the WCHA Goaltender of the Week - made 31 stops in a 1-0 shutout Sunday.
Diego Cuglietta scored a pair of power-play goals Saturday (both assisted by the freshmen duo of Jacob Nordqvist and WCHA Rookie of the Week Pierre-Luc Veillette). Tied 4-4 with just 4:06 remaining in regulation, Anthony Nellis converted on a penalty shot to give LSSU the 5-4 victory.
Mitens was outstanding Sunday, making 25 of his 31 saves to preserve a 1-0 lead. Max Humitz scored the game's only goal, lighting the lamp just 37 seconds into the second period.
Colorado College 10, at Alaska Anchorage 2
at Alaska Anchorage 4, Colorado College 3
(Oct. 6 and 7 at Sullivan Arena; Anchorage, Alaska)
The Seawolves had quite the bounce back weekend, rebounding from a 10-2 loss on opening night to post a 4-3, comeback victory Sunday over visiting Colorado College.
Trailing 3-2 entering the third period Sunday evening, UAA scored two unanswered goals to give head coach Matt Curley his first Division I win. Nils Rygaard tied the score 7:38 into the period, then junior Tomi Hiekkavirta potted his first collegiate game-winning goal at the 10:42 mark.
Rygaard, Hiekkavirta and Joe Sofo all had a goal and assist apiece Sunday, while sophomore goaltender Brody Claeys made 29 saves for his first collegiate win.
Hiekkavirta posted a three-point weekend (1g-2a) and a +2 rating to earn WCHA Defenseman of the Week honors.
at Miami 5, Alabama Huntsville 1
at Miami 4, Alabama Huntsville
(Oct. 6 and 7 at Goggin Ice Center; Oxford, Ohio)
The Chargers struggled on opening weekend, suffering a sweep at Miami.
After the RedHawks scored 4:48 into Saturday's opener, UAH tied the contest just one minute later on a goal by Austin Beaulieu. However, Miami scored the next four goals to win, 5-1.
Miami netminder Ryan Larkin collected a 4-0 shutout Sunday to outduel Jake Theut, who made 41 saves in his Chargers debut (the senior transferred from Northeastern).
at Arizona State 3, Alaska 0
at Arizona State 5, Alaska 0
(Oct. 6 and 7 at Oceanside Ice Arena; Tempe, Ariz.)
In their first-ever trip to Tempe, the visiting Nanooks could not solve Arizona State goalie Joey Daccord, who compiled 36 saves in collecting back-to-back shutouts.
The Sun Devils scored five of their eight goals in the first period (two on Saturday and three on Sunday).
at Bemidji State 5, Lakehead 1 (Exhibition)
(Oct. 6 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)
The Beavers prepped for this weekend's season opener with a 5-1 exhibition victory over Lakehead University.
Newcomer Owen Sillinger scored twice (including a goal just 51 seconds in) and Adam Brady recorded three assists for BSU, while Henry Johnson (one of three Beavers goalies to play) stopped all 11 shots he faced in the second period to earn the win.
at Ferris State 3, U.S. Under-18 Team 1 (Exhibition)
at Ferris State 5, Lethbridge 2 (Exhibition)
(Oct. 6 and 7 at Ewigleben Ice Arena; Big Rapids, Mich.)
The Bulldogs played a pair of exhibition contests and earned wins in both, defeating the U.S. Under-18 Team, 3-1, and the University Lethbridge by a 5-2 count.
Playing against a U.S. U-18 team that features several potential first-round NHL draft picks, Ferris State goaltender Justin Kapelmaster put on a show with a 44-save performance. He was backed by 1g-1a efforts from sophomores Lucas Finner and Liam MacDougall.
Finner and MacDougall again starred Sunday, with the former collecting a goal and two assists and the latter pairing an assist with the game-winning goal.
at No. 10 Minnesota State 7, Mount Royal 3 (Exhibition)
(Oct. 6 at Verizon Center; Mankato, Minn.)
Defending WCHA regular season champion and nationally-ranked Minnesota State got ready for the 2018-19 campaign with a 7-3 victory over Mount Royal University.
The Mavericks scored three goals in the first period -- including one by Jared Spooner just 15 seconds into the game -- and never looked back. Jake Jaremko (1g-2a), Parker Tuomie (2a), Ian Scheid (2a) and Marc Michaelis (1g-1a) all had multi-point efforts.