- Mavericks, Falcons in Top-10: For the first time since the final rankings of the 2014-15 season, the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) has two teams in the top-10 of the national opinion polls. Defending league regular season champion Minnesota State is ranked fourth in both, while Bowling Green is No. 9 in the USCHO.com poll and No. 10 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ledger.
- The 5-1-0 Mavericks climbed three spots after opening WCHA play with a sweep of Alaska.
- The Falcons (5-1-1) rose six spots in the USCHO.com poll and made their season debut in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings with an undefeated week against then-No. 19 Western Michigan (1-0) and then-No. 4 Ohio State (1-0-1).
- Bemidji State (2-1-1) and Lake Superior State (4-0-0, all on the road) are both receiving votes.
- Johnson Named HCA National Player of the Month: Bowling Green sophomore forward Max Johnson, who tied for the NCAA scoring lead with 13 points in October, was named the HCA National Player of the Month.
- A facilitator as well as a scorer, Johnson lit the lamp six times (on 18 shots) and handed out seven assists. He also led a potent BGSU power play, paced the country with 10 man-advantage points and tying for tops with five power-play goals.
- Among the Best: Four (4) of the nation's top-15 winningest teams since 2013-14 realignment play in the WCHA.
- Minnesota State has gone 132-59-16 (.676) to lead all NCAA Division I men's hockey programs in victories over the last five seasons. Bowling Green (112-71-26, .598) and Michigan Tech (112-73-26, .592) are tied for 13th, while Ferris State (97-91-17, .515) is tied for 20th.
By the Numbers
- 2: Shorthanded 5-on-3 goals in Bowling Green history, following Stephen Baylis' effort last Friday at Ohio State. The other came from BGSU alumnus and former NHL winger Dan Bylsma scored the first.
- 0.50 and .984: NCAA-leading goals-against average and save percentage for Lake Superior State sophomore goaltender Mareks Mitens, who has been sensational in his two starts (both road wins).
- 36: NCAA-leading goals scored by Bowling Green, which is also tops among schools with at least two games played by averaging 5.14 goals-per-contest (the Falcons are also eighth by yielding just 1.71 goals-per-game).
The Week Ahead
- Three WCHA Series: A 2018 WCHA Semifinals rematch highlights a trio of WCHA series this weekend, with all six games available live (and on-demand) via FloHockey.tv.
- The last time Bowling Green and Northern Michigan met, a trip to the 2018 WCHA Championship was on the line in Marquette, Mich. (NMU prevailed, 3-2 in overtime, in Game 3 of the WCHA Semis). Now, the ninth-ranked Falcons play at home as a top-10 team for the first time since 2015, hosting the Wildcats.
- Bemidji State, which is receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll, visits Alaska Anchorage. Alabama Huntsville wraps up a six-game homestand by welcoming Michigan Tech.
- WCHA-Big Ten in Nonconference Play: After two such series last weekend, there are three sets between WCHA and Big Ten opponents this Friday-Saturday, including an all-Minnesota matchup of top-10 teams.
- No. 4 Minnesota State locks horns with No. 10/8 Minnesota for a home-and-home series, with Saturday's game from Mankato live on FloHockey.tv. Lake Superior State hosts No. 12/13 Michigan for the first time since 2012-13 (both games on FloHockey.tv), while Ferris State and Michigan State play a home-and-home on FloHockey.tv.
The Week in Review
- League play opens with four series, while WCHA-Big Ten teams meet in nonconference.
at No. 7 Minnesota State 4, Alaska 0
at No. 7 Minnesota State 3, Alaska 1
(Oct. 26 and 27 at Verizon Center; Mankato, Minn.)
- The No. 7 Mavericks opened defense of their 2017-18 MacNaughton Cup title with a sweep of visiting Alaska.
- Minnesota State dominated on special teams and defensively in a 4-0 win Friday, going 4-for-8 on the power play and holding UAF to just six shots on goal. Freshman Julian Napravnik scored twice, while Reggie Lutz and Charlie Gerard added a goal apiece.
- The Mavericks added two more power-play goals, both by defenseman Ian Scheid, in the 3-1 win. Parker Tuomie, who is tied for third nationally with 11 points, had two assists in the game and four on the weekend. Max Newton scored for the Nanooks, their lone goal in the series.
Lake Superior State 4, at Alabama Huntsville 3
Lake Superior State 2, at Alabama Huntsville 1
(Oct. 26 and 27 at Von Braun Center; Huntsville, Ala.)
- The Lakers improved to 4-0-0, all on the road, with a sweep of the host Chargers.
- Four different Lakers scored (including three in the third period), Nick Kossoff made 25 saves and LSSU held on for a 4-3 victory Friday. LSSU's Brayden Gelsinger opened the scoring with a short-handed marker in the first period, but UAH's Tyr Thompson answered in the second. Collin Saccoman, Anthony Nellis and Alexandro Ambrosio all lit the lamp in the third period for the Lakers, who withstood an extra-attacker goal by UAH with :22 seconds remaining.
- More third-period magic for the visitors, as Lake State scored twice in the final 20 minutes to rally for a 2-1 win. After freshman Jack Jeffers gave UAH a 1-0, second-period lead, Nellis tied the game 7:08 into the final stanza. Hampus Eriksson, who assisted on Nellis' goal, broke the tie at the 12:18 mark. LSSU's Mareks Mitens made 13 of his game-high 29 saves in the third period.
at Ferris State 4, Alaska Anchorage 0
at Ferris State 3, Alaska Anchorage 2
(Oct. 26 and 27 at Ewigleben Ice Arena; Big Rapids, Mich.)
- Behind outstanding performances from their underclassmen, led by freshman goaltender Roni Salmenkangas, the Bulldogs captured a home sweep of the Seawolves.
- A trio of freshmen starred for Ferris State in a 4-0 win Friday, as Hunter Wendt opened the scoring at 11:34 of the first period for the game-winning goal, Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year pick Cooper Zech had two assists and Salmenkangas – the first Finnish goaltender to ever start a game for the Bulldogs – made 27 saves for his first collegiate shutout.
- UAA scored the game's first goal (Jeremiah Luedtke) at 8:17 of the first period, but Ferris State's Liam MacDougall tied the contest 1:38 later with his second of the weekend, Jason Tackett put home team ahead at 12:23 of the opening period and the Bulldogs went on to win, 3-2. Salmenkangas made 21 saves to improve to 3-0-0.
at Northern Michigan 3, Bemidji State 0
Bemidji State 2, at Northern Michigan 1
(Oct. 26 and 27 at Berry Events Center; Marquette, Mich.)
- A pair of tightly-contested games, with plenty of last-minute action, resulted in a split for the host Wildcats and Beavers.
- Northern Michigan, which led the country with 17 home wins in 2017-18, won 3-0 in its 2018-19 home opener Friday. The game was very much closer than the score indicated, as it was 1-0 on a Ryan Black, second-period goal, before a pair of empty-net strikes in the final minute. 2017-18 WCHA Goaltender of the Year Atte Tolvanen made 20 saves for his ninth career shutout.
- Saturday's game As dramatic as it gets, as BSU's Aaron Miller scored on a buzzer-beating breakaway with :00.3 remaining in regulation to give the Beavers a 2-1 win. Miller also scored BSU's first goal, tying the game 1-1 in the second period after Darien Craighead's first-period, power-play goal gave NMU a 1-0 lead. BSU goaltender Zach Driscoll was sensational with 27 saves, including 20 over the final two periods.
at No. 15 Bowling Green 4, No. 19 Western Michigan 1
(Oct. 23 at Slater Family Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio)
No. 15 Bowling Green 8, at No. 4 Ohio State 2
(Oct. 26 at Schottenstein Center; Columbus, Ohio)
at No. 15 Bowling Green 2, No. 4 Ohio State 2 - OT
(Oct. 27 at Slater Family Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio)
- The No. 15 Falcons made a big statement, going 2-0-1 vs. nationally-ranked, nonconference opponents.
- On Tuesday, Western Michigan scored the first goal 2:04 into the contest, but the host Falcons scored the next four to win going away, 4-1 and complete the season sweep of the Broncos. Stephen Baylis netted a short-handed tally, Max Johnson scored on the power play and both Craggs brothers (Lukas and Sam) lit the lamp. Head Coach Chris Bergeron picked up his 150th career win, all with Bowling Green.
- The visiting Falcons led 4-0 after the first period Friday, 7-0 after the second, scored eight goals on 28 shots overall and opened the home-and-home series with an impressive 8-2 victory in Columbus. Johnson had his first career hat trick, Alec Rauhauser had three assists and Baylis, BGSU's senior captain, had three points, including an incredible, 5-on-3 short-handed goal to cap the scoring.
- The Falcons completed a 1-0-1 weekend against the 4th-ranked Buckeyes with a 2-2 tie Saturday in front of a sellout home crowd of 5,000 at the Slater Family Ice Arena. OSU scored in the first period and held that 1-0 lead into the third period, but L. Craggs (at 1:17) and Connor Ford (15:10) gave BGSU a 2-1 lead. The Falcons were thinking sweep, but OSU got the tying goal with 2:58 remaining. BGSU goaltender Ryan Bednard wrapped up an impressive 73-save week with 23 stops.
Michigan Tech 6, at No. 14 Wisconsin 2
at No. 14 Wisconsin 6, Michigan Tech 2
(Oct. 26 and 27 at Kohl Center; Madison, Wis.)
- Playing just their second series of the season, the Huskies earned a road split at No. 14 Wisconsin.
- Michigan Tech picked up its first win of the season in impressive fashion Friday, rolling to a 6-2 win. Tech freshmen and Wisconsin natives Trenton Bliss and Alec Broetzman both scored their first collegiate goals in their home state, with Broetzman lighting the lamp twice (game-winner in the first period and a third-period power-play goal). Former Badgers goalie Matt Jurusik, making his first start for the Huskies, made 25 saves for the win.
- The Badgers returned the favor, erasing an early 2-1 Tech lead by scoring the game's final five goals in a 6-2 win. Jurusik made 34 saves as the Huskies were outshot, 40-26.
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.