WCHA Press Releases

No. 7 Minnesota State opens its title defense with a home series against Alaska
WCHA Week 4: Chase For The MacNaughton Cup Begins

Opening Faceoff

- Polling Place: Minnesota State, the defending champion of the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), remained at No. 7 in this week's USCHO.com poll, while Bowling Green jumped two spots to No. 15.

  • The Mavericks climbed one spot, to No. 7, USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings following a split at No. 16 North Dakota. The series included Minnesota State's first win in Grand Forks since March 10, 2006.
  • The Falcons were idle last weekend, but posted a 4-1, nonconference win over No. 19 Western Michigan on Tuesday night (Oct. 23).
  • Bemidji State (which was idle last weekend after opening 1-0-1 against North Dakota) is receiving votes.

- Chase for the MacNaughton Cup Begins: Reigning WCHA regular season champion Minnesota State begins defense of its title on the opening weekend of league play, hosting Alaska.

  • While the MacNaughton Cup has resided in Mankato following three of the last four campaigns, the first five years of the "new" WCHA has seen four different regular season champions: Ferris State (2013-14), Minnesota State (2014-15, co-champs in 2015-16 and 2017-18), Michigan Tech (co-champs in 2015-16) and Bemidji State (2016-17).

- 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 130-59-16 (.673) to lead all NCAA Division I men's hockey programs in victories over the last five seasons. Bowling Green (111-71-25, .597).

By the Numbers

- 3 and 7: Bowling Green's national rank in scoring offense and defense, respectively. The Falcons are averaging 5.20 goals per game (26 in five games), while yielding just 1.60 per contest (eight).

- 150: Career wins for ninth-year BGSU head coach Chris Bergeron, who reached the milestone Tuesday night.

The Week Ahead

- WCHA Openers: The chase for the 2018-19 MacNaughton Cup gets underway with four WCHA series this weekend, with all eight contests available live (and on-demand) via FloHockey.tv.

  • No. 7 Minnesota State opens its title defense with a home series against Alaska (which faces its third-straight top-10 opponent). Alabama Huntsville welcomes Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan (which led the country with 17 home wins in 2017-18) hosts Bemidji State in the Wildcats' first home contests of the season and Alaska Anchorage returns from an 18-day layoff when it skates at Ferris State.

- WCHA-Big Ten in Nonconference Play: A pair of WCHA-Big Ten series take place, including a home-and-home battle of Ohio between ranked teams.

  • No. 15 Bowling Green and No. 4 Ohio State meet for Buckeye State supremacy, with both contests available live on FloHockey.tv. Friday night's game in Columbus begins at 7:00 p.m. ET, while the puck drops at 7:07 p.m. ET Saturday from the Slater Family Ice Arena in Bowling Green.
  • Michigan Tech travels to Madison for a two-game series at No. 14/13 Wisconsin. Friday's contest is televised on FOX Sports Wisconsin PLUS, while Saturday's finale is available on FloHockey.tv.

The Week in Review

- Another full weekend of nonconference action for the WCHA.

No. 7/8 Minnesota State 7, at No. 16 North Dakota 4
at No. 16 North Dakota 4, No. 7/8 Minnesota State 3
(Oct. 19 and 20 at Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.)

- The No. 7/8 Mavericks continued their impressive start to the season, earning a road split at No. 16 North Dakota.

- Minnesota State posted a 7-4 win Friday, the Mavericks' first in Grand Forks since March 10, 2006 (a 3-2 victory thanks to Rob Rankin's overtime winner in the first round of the WCHA playoffs).

- Senior and WCHA Forward of the Week Max Coatta scored three times for his second career hat trick in Friday's win. The Mavericks scored seven goals on 21 shots, with Parker Tuomie lighting the lamp twice.

- A third period goal spoiled the Mavericks' comeback attempt in a 4-3 loss Saturday. Minnesota State rallied from an early 2-0 hole and a 3-2 deficit thanks to goals by Julian Napravnik (first career goal for the freshman, assisted by Coatta), Coatta and Marc Michaelis (short-handed).

at Ferris State 5, Mercyhurst 2
Mercyhurst 3, at Ferris State 1
(Oct. 19 and 20 at Ewigleben Ice Arena; Big Rapids, Mich.)

- In a matchup of head coaches with a combined 992 victories at their current schools, Bob Daniels (445 wins at Ferris State) and Rick Gotkin (547 wins at Mercyhurst) each earned a W during a nonconference split.

- Five goals by underclassmen propelled the host Bulldogs to a 5-2 win Friday night. In front of his father, former Ferris State player Tim Wendt, freshman Hunter Wendt scored his first two collegiate goals and added an assist. Sophomore Frankie Melton (1g-1a) had a multi-point effort, while rookie goaltender Roni Salmenkangas made 21 saves to earn the win in his first collegiate start.

- Despite holding a 27-16 edge in shots, Ferris State fell, 3-1, on Saturday. The lone Bulldog goal came of the stick of Jason Tackett in the third period.

at No. 9 Denver 4, Alaska 1
Alaska 3, at No. 9 Denver 3 - OT
(Oct. 19 and 20 at Magness Arena; Denver, Colo.)

- Playing well on the road, the Nanooks held leads both nights but settled for a Saturday-night tie in their trip to No. 9 Denver.

- Colton Leiter scored a power-play goal to give Alaska a 1-0, first-period lead Friday, but the Pioneers scored three of their own in the frame and added an empty-net tally for the 4-1 win.

- The Nanooks stormed out to a 3-0 lead after the first 21 minutes Saturday, getting goals by Kylar Hope, Ryker Leer and Leiter. But, Denver rallied for the 3-3 tie, scoring a pair of extra-attacker goals in the final 1:52.

- UAF's Anton Martinsson earned WCHA Goaltender of the Week honors after leading the league with 64 saves and a .914 save percentage during the series.

Arizona State 2, at Alabama Huntsville 1
Arizona State 5, at Alabama Huntsville 1
(Oct. 19 and 20 at Von Braun Arena; Huntsville, Ala.)

- The Chargers' early-season scoring woes continued in a series of college hockey's two southernmost teams, with visiting Arizona State earning a series sweep by scores of 2-1 and 5-1.

- Hans Gorowsky scored for UAH on Friday, while freshman Jack Jeffers netted his first collegiate goal Saturday.

at No. 4 St. Cloud State 4, Northern Michigan 1
at No. 4 St. Cloud State 5, Northern Michigan 0
(Oct. 19 and 20 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)

- The Wildcats' first visit to St. Cloud since Jan. 2013 did not end well for Northern Michigan, as the No. 4 Huskies skated to a series sweep (4-1 and 5-0).

- Freshman Griffin Loughlan scored the lone NMU goal on the weekend, scoring on the power-play Friday for his first collegiate marker. SCSU won 4-1 Friday.

at No. 15 Bowling Green 4, No. 19 Western Michigan 1
(Oct. 23 at Slater Family Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio)

- The No. 15 Falcons opened a three-game week against ranked nonconference opponents with a 4-1 home win over No. 19 Western Michigan.

- After the Broncos scored the first goal just 2:04 into the game, BGSU tallied the final four markers and goaltender Ryan Bednard finished with 19 saves.

- Stephen Baylis tied the contest with a short-handed goal and later added an assist, Max Johnson netted the game-winner and both Craggs brothers (Lukas and Sam) lit the lamp for the Falcons.

2019 WCHA Postseason Tournament

Once again in 2019, the WCHA will bring the singular intensity and passion of playoff college hockey directly to its member institution fans with an eight-team, three-round tournament hosted on-campus by the highest remaining seeds. The winner will receive an automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship and the Jeff Sauer WCHA Championship Trophy, presented by Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup.