- Season-High Three in the Top-20: The men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) enters Week 9 of the 2018-19 season with three teams in the top-20 of the USCHO.com poll (along with two in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ledger): No. 4 Minnesota State, No. 12 Bowling Green and No. 20 Lake Superior State.
- The Mavericks (10-2-0, split at Bemidji State), Falcons (8-3-2, idle) and Lakers (7-4-1, split with Northern Michigan) are all in the same spot as in Week 8.
- This marks the first time Lake Superior State has been ranked in consecutive USCHO.com polls since Dec. 30, 2013 (No. 18) and Jan. 6, 2014 (No. 19) -- the end of an 11-week string in the rankings. Prior to last week, the Lakers had not been ranked since Nov. 7, 2016 (also No. 20).
- Bemidji State (22nd, by voting points), Michigan Tech (23rd) and Northern Michigan (31st) are all receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll.
- National Leaders (Offensive): A trio of WCHA skaters are among the top-15 nationally for points per game: Minnesota State junior Parker Tuomie is tied for seventh at 1.50 (7g-11a--18pts), while the Mavericks' Marc Michaelis (8-8--16) and Michigan Tech's Jake Lucchini (6-10--16) are tied for 13th at 1.33.
- Michaelis and Lake Superior State senior Anthony Nellis are tied for 11th with 0.67 goals per game (eight each). Bowling Green sophomore Brandon Kruse is tied for eighth with 0.92 assists per game (12 total), while Tuomie is tied for 12th at 0.92.
- Lake Superior State defenseman Jacob Nordqvist is tied for 14th among NCAA rookies at 0.83 points per game (2-8--10), followed by Minnesota State's Julian Napravnik, who is tied for 16th at 0.82 (3-6--9).
- National Leaders (Goaltenders): Minnesota State senior Mathias Israelsson (1.41), Bemidji State sophomore Henry Johnson (1.51) and Bowling Green junior Ryan Bednard (1.72) are ranked 3-5 nationally for goals-against average, while BSU sophomore Zach Driscoll (1.81) is 11th and Lake Superior State senior Nick Kossoff (2.12) is 17th.
- Johnson is the WCHA leader with a .938 save percentage, good for sixth nationally. Alabama Huntsville sophomore Mark Sinclair (.931) is 13th, Driscoll (.926) is 15th), Israelsson (.925) is 16th, Bednard (.925) is 17th and Northern Michigan senior Atte Tolvanen (.920) is 20th.
- 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 137-60-16 (.681) to lead all NCAA Division I men's hockey programs in victories in that span, while Michigan Tech (118-75-26, .598) is tied for 10th and Bowling Green (115-73-27, .598) is 14th.
By the Numbers
- 14: Straight regular-season WCHA league games for Minnesota State without a loss (13-0-1) prior to last Saturday's defeat at Bemidji State, matching Ferris State's 12-0-2 run during the 2013-14 season for the WCHA's longest since realignment. The stretch began with a Jan. 13 win at Alaska, included the final nine games of the Mavericks' MacNaughton Cup-winning 2017-18 campaign (8-0-1) and spanned the first five contests this season (5-0-0).
The Week Ahead
- League Play Heats Up: This weekend begins a two-week stretch of all-WCHA league games between now and the holiday break. All eight contests this weekend will be streamed live on FloHockey.tv.
- A top-20 matchup awaits in Sault Ste. Marie, as No. 20 Lake Superior State hosts No. 4 Minnesota State. Also in the UP, Michigan Tech puts its perfect 6-0-0 WCHA mark on the line against Bemidji State. Alaska welcomes Ferris State, while Alabama Huntsville hosts No. 12 Bowling Green for a Saturday-Sunday set.
The Week in Review
First-place Michigan Tech improved to 6-0-0 in WCHA play with a sweep of Alaska, while a pair of intrastate rivalry series resulted in splits between No. 20 Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan, and No. 3 Minnesota State and Bemidji State.
No. 12/11 Bowling Green 5, at U.S. Under-18 Team 4 (Exhibition)
(Nov. 21 at USA Hockey Arena; Plymouth, Mich.)
- The Falcons took a break from intercollegiate competition to skate against some of the top young players in the world, defeating the U-18 squad from the U.S. National Team Development Program.
- Five different Bowling Green players scored in the 5-1 exhibition victory, as Stephen Baylis, Sam Craggs, Shane Bednard, Max Johnson and Lukas Craggs all lit the lamp. Eric Dop made 29 saves for the win.
No. 3 Minnesota State 3, at Bemidji State 2
at Bemidji State 4, No. 3 Minnesota State 2
(Nov. 23 and 24 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)
- A series with Minnesota WCHA bragging rights on the line left nothing decided, as the third-ranked Mavericks and host Beavers played to a split in their first meetings of the season.
- Marc Michaelis' power-play goal with 4:15 remaining in regulation snapped a 2-2 tie and gave the Mavericks a 3-2 win Friday, rescuing Minnesota State after the Beavers had rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Parker Tuomie and Josh French scored second-period goals to give the visitors a 2-0 lead, but Ethan Somoza brought Bemidji State within one late in the second stanza, and sophomore defenseman Brad Johnson scored shorthanded for his first career goal at 4:25 of the third period. Mathias Israelsson had 22 saves for the Mavericks, while Henry Johnson made 24 stops for the Beavers.
- Adam Brady scored 53 seconds into Saturday's game and Bemidji State never trailed en route to a 4-2 victory and series split. Freshman Nick Cardelli also scored in the opening stanza, senior Jay Dickman's power-play goal 3:29 into the third period and Aaron Miller added an empty-netter. Zach Driscoll made 19 saves for the host Beavers.
at No. 20 Lake Superior State 4, Northern Michigan 2
Northern Michigan 2, at No. 20 Lake Superior State 1
(Nov. 23 and 24 at Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
- The Upper Peninsula rivals opened their annual Cappo Cup series with a split in Sault Ste. Marie.
- Playing as a ranked team for the first time since Nov. 2016, the No. 20 Lakers responded with a 4-2 home win Friday over the rival Wildcats. NMU's Troy Loggins snapped a scoreless tie with a power-play goal 1:16 into the second period, but the Lakers rattled off the next four goals. Anthony Nellis drew LSSU even at 10:36 of the second period, before fellow senior Gage Torrel bookended the second intermission with goals (at 19:44 of the second period and 0:48 of the third). Collin Saccoman, the top goal-scorer among WCHA defensemen, netted his sixth of the season I the third period, while Nick Kossoff made 22 saves for the Lakers.
- The Wildcats responded Saturday with a clutch 2-1 win, that was a 1-0 contest for the majority. NMU's Luke Voltin scored his first goal of the season 2:19 into the game, a lead that remained until Loggins netted an empty-netter with 1:16 remaining. Senior goaltender Atte Tolvanen was fantastic with 25 saves, nearly pitching a shutout before LSSU's Steven Ruggiero scored with 12 seconds remaining.
at Michigan Tech 2, Alaska 1
at Michigan Tech 7, Alaska 2
(Nov. 23 and 24 at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena)
- The Huskies improved to 6-0-0 in WCHA play with a sweep of Alaska, including an emotional win Friday on the Copper Country Strong night.
- Friday was a special night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena, as Michigan Tech hosted a Copper Country Strong game – a recognition of the many volunteers who helped in the wake of the Father's Day Flood in Houghton (many of whom were brought on the ice during intermission), and a remembrance and celebration of 12-year-old Thatcher Markham, who tragically lost his life in the flood. The Huskies wore special jerseys with "Thatcher" on the back to honor the late cousin of senior goaltender Devin Kero. As for the game itself, Kero made 20 saves – including 14 over the last two periods – as Tech held on for the 2-1 win. Brian Halonen scored in the first period, before fellow freshman Tommy Parrottino netted the tie-breaking, game-winning power-play goal in the second. UAF freshman goalie Gustavs Grigals was outstanding with 46 saves for the Nanooks.
- Gavin Gould scored the first three Huskies goals Saturday for his second career hat trick, leading first-place Tech to a 7-2 victory. Gould lit the lamp once in the first period and twice in the second, before Halonen scored his fourth of the weekend. Alex Smith, Jake Lucchini and Tyler Rockwell added third-period tallies, while Matt Jurusik made 27 saves.
at No. 17 North Dakota 5, Alaska Anchorage 2
at No. 17 North Dakota 4, Alaska Anchorage 3
(Nov. 23 and 24 at Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.)
- The Seawolves nearly pulled off the road upset Saturday, but were swept by No. 17 North Dakota.
- UAA goaltender Kris Carlson made 34 saves, including several spectacular stops, Friday in a 5-2 loss. Nicolas Erb-Ekholm and Nils Rygaard scored for the Seawolves.
- Erb-Ekholm lit the lamp twice Saturday, giving him a three-goal weekend in Grand Forks, as UAA took a 3-1 lead into the third period. However, the Fighting Hawks scored three times in the span of 1:24 midway through the third period, including two on the power play, to win, 4-3. Eric Sinclair also scored for the Seawolves, while goaltender Kristian Snead made 32 saves in just his second career start.
at No. 8 Notre Dame 2, Northern Michigan 1 - OT
(Nov. 27 at Compton Family Ice Arena; South Bend, Ind.)
- The Wildcats took the eighth-ranked Fighting Irish to OT in South Bend, but dropped a 2-1 decision in their final nonconference game of the regular season.
- Darien Craighead scored the lone NMU goal, connecting for a power-play marker at 19:39 of the second period to tie the contest at 1-1. Atte Tolvanen made 33 saves for the Wildcats, including 15 in the third period.
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.