- Season-High Three in the Top-20: The top-three teams in the current men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) standings enter Week 10 of the 2018-19 season ranked in the top-20 of the USCHO.com poll: No. 3 Minnesota State (second in the standings), No. 12 Bowling Green (third) and No. 20 Michigan Tech (first).
- The Mavericks (12-2-0, tied for the second-most wins in the country and the third-best winning percentage) moved up one spot (while remaining at No. 4 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll). The Falcons (10-3-2, tied for fifth nationally in wins and sixth in winning percentage) stayed in the same USCHO spot and dropped to 13th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings, while the Huskies (8-5-2) returned to the rankings.
- #FollowTheHuskies: Michigan Tech has surged to the top of the WCHA standings at the virtual quarter pole by virtue of an undefeated, 7-0-1-1 start in league play. Coupled with their victory in the 2017-18 regular season finale, the Huskies bring a nine-game league unbeaten run (8-0-1) into this weekend's series.
- Tech joins the two nationally top-ranked teams as the only three in the country to be undefeated in conference play. USCHO's top team, Massachusetts, is 7-0-0 in Hockey East, while St. Cloud State -- the top-ranked team in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll -- is 4-0-2 in the NCHC.
- #NanookNation: CollegeHockeyNews.com dubbed Alaska as its national "Team of the Week" following the Nanooks' inaugural sweep under first-year head coach Erik Largen.
- After a winless eight-game start (0-7-1, including a pair of league losses), Largen -- a Fairbanks native -- has guided UAF to a 4-3-1 mark in its last eight contests. The Nanooks have jumped to fifth place in the WCHA.
- 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 139-60-16 (.684) to lead all NCAA Division I men's hockey programs in victories in that span, while Michigan Tech (119-75-27, .600) is tied for 10th and Bowling Green (117-73-27, .601) is 14th.
By the Numbers
- 1.67: NCAA-best goals allowed per game by Bowling Green, which also ranks ninth by scoring 3.67 per contest.
- 4: Game-winning goals this season by a Jandric brother (Steven - 3; Chris - 1), accounting for all four UAF victories.
- 6: WCHA goalies among the top-20 nationally for winning percentage: MSU's Mathias Israelsson (t-1st at 1.000, 7-0-0) and Dryden McKay (14th at .714, 5-2-0), BGSU's Ryan Bednard (6th at .792, 9-2-1), MTU's Matt Jurusik (t-7th at .650, 6-2-0), LSSU's Nick Kossoff (t-16th at .688, 5-2-1) and UAF's Gustavs Grigals (20th at .667, 4-2-0).
The Week Ahead
- All 10 Teams in Action: This weekend is the first of the 2018-19 season that features all 10 WCHA teams skating in a league series. Each of the 10 games will be live streamed on FloHockey.tv.
- Championship Rematch: Fierce UP rivals Northern Michigan and No. 20 Michigan Tech will meet for the first time since the Huskies' 2-0 win at the 2018 WCHA Championship. The teams will skate in the first of two home-and-home series this season, with Friday's contest in Marquette and Saturday's at Houghton.
- Quarterfinals Rematch: Another meeting of 2018 WCHA Playoff opponents occurs in Big Rapids, where No. 12 Bowling Green and Ferris State faceoff for the first time since the Falcons swept last March's quarterfinals.
- Rivalry Renewed: From D-II national championship bouts to College Hockey America and now to the WCHA, the passionate and historic Bemidji State-Alabama Huntsville rivalry adds another chapter this weekend in Bemidji.
- Key City Weekend: No. 3/4 Minnesota State returns home to host Alaska Anchorage. The Seawolves, thankfully safe and sound after last week's Anchorage earthquake, will play in Mankato this weekend and Bemidji the next.
- Jockeying for Position: Lake Superior State, still receiving votes in the USCHO poll after two weeks at No. 20, trails host Alaska by one point heading into the weekend. UAF took five points last month in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Week in Review
It was a weekend of sweeps or near-sweeps, with #4 Minnesota State (at #20 Lake Superior State), #12 Bowling Green (at Alabama Huntsville) and Alaska (vs. Ferris State) all picking up two victories. Michigan Tech also took five-of-six points from visiting Bemidji State.
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.
at Alaska 4, Ferris State 3 - OT
at Alaska 6, Ferris State 2
(Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at Carlson Center; Fairbanks, Alaska)
- The Nanooks picked up their first sweep of the season with a pair of victories over the visiting Bulldogs.
- Steven Jandric continued UAF's season-long theme of Jandric brothers game-winners, scoring 21 seconds into OT to give the Nanooks a 4-3 win Friday. Max Newton scored twice in regulation for Alaska, while Ferris State got goals from three different players, including Cooper Zech's tying marker with 4:32 remaining in regulation. In a matchup of freshman goaltenders, UAF's Gustavs Grigals (23 saves) bested Ferris State's Roni Salmenkangas (22 stops).
- A much different game in the Nanooks' 6-2, Saturday-night victory, but some commonalities. Jandric scored his second-straight game-winner, Newton and Tristan Thompson lit the lamp for the second consecutive night and Grigals made 33 saves. Kyle Marino, Thompson and Jandric all scored during a three-goal first period for UAF, which never trailed.
No. 12 Bowling Green 6, at Alabama Huntsville 2
No. 12 Bowling Green 2, at Alabama Huntsville 1
(Dec. 1 and 2 at Von Braun Center; Huntsville, Ala.)
- The 12th-ranked Falcons reached double-digits in wins with a road sweep over the host Chargers.
- Bowling Green scored once in the first period, twice in the second and blew the game open with three in the third for a 6-2 win in Friday's series opener. Max Johnson led the way offensively with a four-point effort (1g-3a), while Lukas Craggs scored a pair of goals – including a second-period tally that stood as the game-winner. The first career goal by freshman Ben Allen brought UAH within one at 3-2 heading into the second intermission, but Johnson, Cameron Wright and Craggs scored in the final stanza.
- Craggs wrapped up a big weekend with the tie-breaking, game-winning goal 48 seconds into the third period, snapping a 1-1 tie and giving the Falcons a 2-1 victory for the sweep. Casey Linkenheld scored in the first period for BGSU, while freshman Jack Jeffers was credited with UAH's lone goal.
No. 4 Minnesota State 4, at No. 20 Lake Superior State 2
No. 4 Minnesota State 3, at No. 20 Lake Superior State 0
(Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
- A matchup between ranked WCHA opponents went to the Mavericks, as Minnesota State never trailed in a sweep of the host Lakers.
- Sophomore forward Walker Duehr scored his first two goals of the season as part of the Mavericks' three-goal first period Friday, leading Minnesota State to a 4-2 victory in the series opener. Connor Mackey also scored in the opening frame, while Marc Michaelis netted a third-period strike. LSSU senior Diego Cuglietta scored both Lakers goals.
- Freshman goaltender Dryden McKay made 23 saves for his first collegiate shutout and the Mavericks scored once in each period for a 3-0, sweep-clinching victory Saturday. Charlie Gerard's first-period power-play goal stood as the game-winner, while Parker Tuomie lit the lamp in the second period and Josh French scored an empty-netter.
at Michigan Tech 3, Bemidji State 3 - OT (MTU scores in 3v3 OT)
at Michigan Tech 7, Bemidji State 2
(Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena; Houghton, Mich.)
- The first-place Huskies got a 3-on-3 OT goal Friday, then exploded for seven goals Saturday to remain undefeated in WCHA play.
- Senior captain Jake Lucchini finished off a 2-on-1 breakaway with a goal in the 3-on-3 OT on Friday, giving Michigan Tech the extra league point after a 3-3 tie with visiting Bemidji State. The teams reached overtime thanks to a pair of Charlie Combs goals for the Beavers, the second of which tied the score with 5:32 remaining in regulation. Eric Gotz (first career goal), Thomas Beretta and Alec Broetzman all scored for Michigan Tech, which got 25 saves from goaltender Devin Kero. Henry Johnson made 27 stops for BSU.
- For the second straight Saturday, Michigan Tech scored seven goals for a decisive home win, this time a 7-2 rout of the Beavers. The Huskies scored the first six goals of the game, including a pair from Alex Smith. Dylan Steman also lit the lamp twice, with his second-period goal standing as the game-winner prior to a final-stanza shorty. Matt Jurusik made 26 saves for Tech.
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.