- Polling Place: Defending WCHA regular season champion Minnesota State, the coaches' and media pick to repeat atop the league, rose to No. 7 (from 11th) in this week's USCHO.com poll and No. 8 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings, followed by No. 17 Bowling Green, which also made a multiple-spot jump (from 20th).
- The Mavericks' four- and three-spot climb came following a nonconference home sweep of then-No. 8/9 Boston University. The Falcons' 2-1-0 week featured a road win at then-No. 18 Western Michigan.
- Northern Michigan, Bemidji State (which opened 1-0-1 against then-No. 13/12 North Dakota) and Michigan Tech are all receiving votes.
- Historic Effort for the Beavers: Bemidji State opened its season last Friday with a 2-1 home victory over then-No. 13/12 North Dakota, then followed Saturday with a 1-1 tie in Grand Forks. The 1-0-1 weekend marked the Beavers' first-ever series victory against UND, in a regional rivalry that dates back to 1970.
- BSU received stellar goaltending by sophomores Henry Johnson and Zach Driscoll. After playing 19:48 last season with one save, Johnson posted a 28-stop victory. Driscoll turned aside 26 shots in the 1-1 road tie, his first collegiate start since 2016 with SCSU (he led the USHL with eight shutouts last season).
- Among the Best: Three (3) of the nation's top-15 winningest teams since 2013-14 realignment play in the WCHA.
- Minnesota State has gone 129-58-16 (.675) to lead all NCAA Division I men's hockey programs in victories over the last five seasons. Michigan Tech (111-72-26, .593) is tied with Minnesota Duluth for 10th, while Bowling Green (110-71-25, .595) is 14th.
By the Numbers
- 22: Goals by Bowling Green in four games, as the Falcons lead the country by averaging 5.50 goals per contest. Max Johnson and Brandon Kruse (2g-6a each) are tied for the NCAA lead with eight points apiece, while fellow sophomore Connor Ford (fourth with six points) paces the country with a +6 rating and three power-play goals.
- 153: Minnesota State victories under head coach Mike Hastings, most in the country since opening night of the 2012-13 seasons. Hastings, who has guided the Mavericks to a 153-72-19 (.666) mark, will serve as the head coach of the U.S. national team competing at the World Junior Championship in Vancouver/Victoria this winter.
The Week Ahead
- It's Been Awhile: The full weekend of nonconference play features a pair of WCHA-NCHC series pitting opponents that haven't met in quite some time.
- No. 7/8 Minnesota State travels to Grand Forks for the first time since March 2-3, 2012, while the Mavericks and No. 16 North Dakota have not played anywhere since the final weekend of the 2012-13 season.
- Northern Michigan and No. 4 St. Cloud State will face-off for the first time since a Wildcats' sweep in St. Cloud on Jan. 4-5, 2013.
- Veterans and Newcomers: Two of the NCAA's longest-tenured coaches and two of its newest meet this weekend.
- Longtime bench bosses Rick Gotkin (546 wins at Mercyhurst since 1988) and Bob Daniels (444 wins at Ferris State since 1992) will be behind the benches when the Bulldogs host the Lakers on FloHockey.tv.
- On the other end of the spectrum, Division I's two youngest head coaches match wits in Denver, with the Pioneers' David Carle (28 years old) opposite Alaska's Erik Largen (32).
- Sunbelt Battle: College hockey's two southernmost Division I teams will play for the first time in Huntsville, as UAH welcomes Arizona State for a Friday-Saturday series. Both games (7:07 p.m. CT) are available via FloHockey.tv.
The Week in Review
- A full week of nonconference play nets the WCHA some big wins.
No. 20 Bowling Green 6, at No. 18 Western Michigan 2
(Oct. 9 at Lawson Ice Arena; Kalamazoo, Mich.)
at Robert Morris 3, No. 20 Bowling Green 2
(Oct. 12 at Colonials Arena; Neville Island, Pa.)
at No. 20 Bowling Green 6, Robert Morris 0
(Oct. 14 at Slater Family Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio)
- BGSU's 2-1-0 week was bookended by a big road win at No. 18 Western Michigan and a 6-0 shutout of Robert Morris in the Falcons' home opener.
- The Falcons tallied six goals at WMU despite being outshot 36 to 19, thanks to WCHA Goaltender of the Week Ryan Bednard (34 saves).
- WCHA Forward of the Week Cameron Wright, Connor Ford and Lukas Craggs all had one goal and one assist apiece vs. the Broncos.
- Brandon Kruse (2g-1a) and Max Johnson (3a) had three-point efforts Sunday against Robert Morris, while Bednard fashioned a 15-save shutout.
at No. 11 Minnesota State 4, No. 8/9 Boston University 3
at No. 11 Minnesota State 5, No. 8/9 Boston University 3
(Oct. 12 and 13 at Verizon Center; Mankato, Minn.)
- The 11th-ranked Mavericks put together a pair of impressive wins against No. 8/9 Boston University, sweeping the Terriers for the second-consecutive season.
- Minnesota State trailed twice, but scored the last two goals of the game in a 4-3, series opening win. Dallas Gerads and Parker Tuomie each scored two goals apiece.
- Three goals in the first period Saturday set the tone for the Mavericks, who never trailed in a 4-3 victory. After BU rallied for a 3-3 tie, Charlie Gerard scored with less than a second remaining int the second period. Tuomie added a pair of assists.
- Dryden McKay (49 saves on the series) earned WCHA Rookie of the Week honors after becoming the first Minnesota State goaltender to start and win on opening night since Ken Hilgert accomplished the feat in a 12-3 win over UW-Stevens Point in 1984-85.
at Bemidji State 2, No. 13/12 North Dakota 1
(Oct. 12 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)
Bemidji State 1, at No. 13/12 North Dakota 1 - OT
(Oct. 13 at Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.)
- The Beavers enjoyed their first-ever winning series (1-0-1) against North Dakota in a rivalry dating back to 1970.
- Freshman Owen Sillinger scored midway through the third period to break a 1-1 tie and propel BSU to a 2-1 home victory over the No. 13/12 Fighting Hawks on Friday. Making his first collegiate start, sophomore goalie Henry Johnson turned aside 28-of-29 shots.
- Charlie Combs scored his first goal of the season with 4:14 left in regulation to tie the game and push overtime Saturday, while the BSU defense and penalty-kill unit (4-for-4), led by goaltender Zach Driscoll, held UND in check for a 1-1 draw. In his first collegiate start since 2016 (with St. Cloud State), Driscoll made 26 saves (including a combined 15 in the third period and overtime).
at Michigan State 4, Northern Michigan 2
Northern Michigan 4, at Michigan State 3
(Oct. 12 and 13 at Munn Ice Arena; East Lansing, Mich.)
- Intrastate rivals played a pair of tight contests, with the Wildcats earning a split with the host Spartans in East Lansing, Mich.
- Despite 41 saves from Atte Tolvanen and the first NMU goal for transfer Tony Bretzman, the Wildcats dropped a 4-2 decision Friday as Michigan State scored twice in the final two minutes.
- The Wildcats used three special-teams goals for a 4-3 win Saturday. Adam Rockwood scored a short-handed marker, Denver Pierce scored on the power play and Darien Craighead snapped a 3-3, third-period tie with a man-advantage goal.
at Colorado College 1, Alabama Huntsville 0
(Oct. 12 at Broadmoor World Arena; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
at No. 10/13 Denver 6, Alabama Huntsville 0
(Oct. 13 at Magness Arena; Denver, Colo.)
- The Chargers' season-opening offensive struggles continued in a pair of shutout losses in Colorado.
- Sophomore goaltender Mark Sinclair was sensational Friday, making 46 saves in a 1-0 loss at Colorado College.
- Jake Theut made 43 stops for UAH on Saturday, but No. 10/13 Denver scored two goals in each period for a 6-0 victory.
No. 5/3 St. Cloud State 3, at Alaska 2
No. 5/3 St. Cloud State 6, at Alaska 2
(Oct. 12 and 13 at Carlson Center; Fairbanks, Alaska)
- The Nanooks went toe-to-toe with the No. 5/3 Huskies for most of 120 minutes on the weekend, but dropped both games in their home-opening series.
- UAF took a 1-0, first-period lead Friday (on a Kyle Marino goal) and rallied back within 3-2 early in the third stanza (thanks to a James LaDouce marker), but could not complete the comeback.
- After holding leads of 1-0 and 2-1 Saturday, the Nanooks entered the third period trailing by a single goal at 3-2. However, SCSU tallied three over the final 20 minutes for a 6-2 victory. Brennan Blaszcak and Ryker Leer scored for UAF.
No. 18 Western Michigan 4, at Ferris State 3
(Oct. 12 at Ewigleben Ice Arena; Big Rapids, Mich.)
at No. 18 Western Michigan 5, Ferris State 0
(Oct. 13 at Lawson Ice Arena; Kalamazoo, Mich.)
- Despite a furious comeback Friday, the Bulldogs dropped both games of a home-and-home series against their in-state rival.
- Trailing 4-0 after just 11 minutes Friday at home, Ferris State scored three-straight goals and trailed by one with 7:04 remaining, but could not close the gap in a 4-3 loss. Coale Norris scored twice for the Bulldogs, Corey Mackin picked up a pair of assists and goaltender Justin Kapelmaster overcame the rocky start to finish with 37 saves.
- Saturday in Kalamazoo was a different story, as the Bulldogs could not solve Western Michigan netminder Trevor Gorsuch (26 saves) in a 5-0 loss.
No. 3/2 Minnesota Duluth 2, at No. 19 Michigan Tech 1
No. 3/2 Minnesota Duluth 5, at No. 19 Michigan Tech 2
(Oct. 12 and 13 at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena; Houghton, Mich.)
- The host Huskies renewed a longtime rivalry, but fell twice to defending national champion Minnesota Duluth.
- Despite holding a 33-27 edge in shots Friday, No. 19 Michigan Tech fell, 2-1 to the No. 3/2 Bulldogs. Gavin Gould scored the lone Tech goal, while Devin Kero made 25 saves.
- After a scoreless opening 20 minutes Saturday, UMD netted four-straight goals during a five-goal second period outburst, turning a 1-1 tie into an eventual 5-2 win. Tech freshman Andrew Bellant scored on his first collegiate shot, knotting the contest 5:03 into the second stanza.
at Lake Superior State 3, Nipissing 1 (Exhibition)
at Lake Superior State 4, Nipissing 0 (Exhibition)
(Oct. 12 and 13 at Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
- After opening its regular season the week before by sweeping Mercyhurst, Lake Superior State returned home for a pair of exhibition wins against Nipissing University.
- Brayden Gelsinger, Yuki Miura and Pierre-Luc Veillette all scored in LSSU's 3-1 win Saturday.
- Max Humitz had a two-goal, one-assist effort Saturday, Gelsinger had a pair of helpers and two goalies (Mareks Mitens and Roman Bengert) combined on a 16-save shutout in a 4-0 LSSU victory.