WCHA Press Releases

WCHA Week 6 Notes: UP Rivals Meet Again
Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech series headlines this weekend's action

Opening Faceoff

- Alaska Fairbanks Opts Out: The University of Alaska Fairbanks announced Dec. 11 that it would join downstate rival Alaska Anchorage in opting out of the 2020-21 season. The move was part of a larger decision that saw the school also shut down the Nanook men's and women's basketball seasons. With this opt-out, the WCHA will be an eight-team league for the 2020-21 season.

- Stein Makes the Cut: Ferris State freshman goaltender Logan Stein made the final U.S. roster for the 2021 World Junior Championships, which will be held Dec. 25-Jan. 6 in Edmonton, Alta. The Suwanee, Ga., native is the first FSU player to represent the United States at the WJC. The United States will play a pair of exhibition games against Switzerland and Finland on Dec. 20 and 22, respectively, and will open the tournament against Russia on Christmas night. All the U.S. games will be aired by the NHL Network.

- Chargers Among Power Play Leaders: Among teams that have played at least four games this season (thru Dec. 15), Alabama Huntsville ranks No. 3 nationally in power-play percentage. The Chargers have converted on 30.8 percent of their opportunities (4-for-13) so far in 2020-21. Mercyhurst (36.4) tops the list, followed by Clarkson (33.3), UAH, Minnesota (29.0) and North Dakota (29.0).

- WCHA Shares Shutout Lead: WCHA goaltenders are among the stingiest in the NCAA through Dec. 15. League netminders have authored six shutouts so far in 2020-21, which is tied with the Big Ten for the most of any conference. The NCHC is third with three, followed by Hockey East (two) and Atlantic Hockey (one).

- Mavericks Up to No. 5, Bowling Green 13th in Latest USCHO Poll: The Minnesota State Mavericks moved up one spot to No. 5 in the USCHO poll while Bowling Green moved up three spots to No. 13 in the latest rankings released Dec. 14. Lake Superior State, Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan also received votes.

  • The Mavericks are also No. 5 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings while Bowling Green checks in at No. 12. Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan also received votes.
  • Minnesota State and Bowling Green also found themselves ranked in the first College Hockey News Power 16 rankings. MSU checks in at No. 6 while the Falcons hold down the No. 14 spot.

By The Numbers

- 216: Wins for Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings in nine seasons in Mankato, the most for any coach in NCAA Division I over that span.

- 104: Minutes played in the last meeting between Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech last season before Tech took home the win, 4-3, in triple overtime.

- 31: Saves by Michigan Tech's Blake Pietila in a 3-0 blanking of Bemidji State on Saturday to notch his first career shutout.

- 10: Second between goals for Bemidji State's Ethan Somoza and Alex Ierullo against Michigan Tech on Dec. 13, the fastest two goals for BSU since the program moved to Division I in 1999.

- 6: Penalties killed by Ferris State in six attempts against Bowling Green last weekend. The Bulldogs were also 2-for-2 on the power play against the Falcons.

- 0: Losses for Bowling Green when leading after two periods this season.

The Week Ahead

- Ferris State at (RV/RV) Northern Michigan: The Bulldogs and Wildcats will meet for the 101st time on Wednesday evening in what will be the season opener for Northern Michigan. NMU leads the all-time series, 64-30-6 and is 37-16-1 against FSU in Marquette.

- (13/12) Bowling Green at (11/11) Quinnipiac: In a rare meeting (for 2020-21) of ranked teams from different conferences, No. 13/12 Bowling Green will visit No. 11/11 Quinnipiac for a two-game set this weekend. Friday's game will mark the first time the two schools have met on the ice.

- (RV/RV) Northern Michigan vs. (RV/UR) Michigan Tech: The UP rivals renew acquaintances in a non-conference home-and-home series Friday in Houghton and Saturday in Marquette. NMU leads the all-time series, which dates to 1979, 76-69-14, but Tech swept the last meeting in the WCHA Playoffs a season ago.

- (RV/RV) Bemidji State at (5/5) Minnesota State: The top two teams in the WCHA a season ago meet for the second time in non-conference play this season on Friday and Saturday in Mankato. BSU holds a slim, 58-56-15 lead all-time against MSU. Minnesota State won the first meeting of the season, 5-0, at BSU on Nov. 22.

2021 WCHA Postseason Tournament

Once again in 2021, the WCHA will crown a playoff champion at the WCHA Postseason Tournament. The winner will receive an automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship and the Jeff Sauer WCHA Championship Trophy, presented by Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup.