WCHA Press Releases

WCHA Week 17: WCHA Quarterfinals Open The Championship Season
Best two-of-three series the first step on the road to the Sauer Trophy

Opening Faceoff

- High-Caliber Backstops: The WCHA enters the postseason as the only Division I conference with three goaltenders ranked in the top-10 nationally in goals-against average and save percentage. Minnesota State's Dryden McKay (1.32), Michigan Tech's Blake Pietila (1.74) and Lake Superior State's Mareks Mitens (1.86) rank No. 1, No, 5 and No. 8, respectively, in GAA. Pietila (.937), Mitens (.934) and McKay (.933), check in at No. 4, No. 6 and No. 7, respectively in save percentage.

- WCHA Announces All-Decade Team for the 2000s: The WCHA continued its recognition of 70 Years of Excellence last week with the announcement of its All-Decade honorees for the 2000s.

  • Named to the All-Decade Team were forwards Peter Sejna of Colorado College (2000-03), John Pohl of Minnesota (1998-2002) and Brett Sterling of Colorado College (2002-06); defensemen Jordan Leopold of Minnesota (1998-2002) and Matt Carle of Denver (2003-06) and goaltender Brian Elliot of Wisconsin (2003-07).
  • Minnesota's Leopold was honored as the Player of the Decade. The first of six consecutive Hobey Baker Award winners for the league during the decade, Leopold captained Minnesota's 2002 national championship squad and was a two-time WCHA Defensive Player of the Year honoree during his career.
  • Minnesota's Don Lucia was named the WCHA Coach of the Decade. Lucia, who coached at Minnesota from 1999-2018, led the Golden Gophers to back-to-back national championships (2001, 2002) along with a third Frozen Four appearance during the 2000s (2004-05). In WCHA play, Lucia's Minnesota squads captured two MacNaughton Cups and three Broadmoor Trophies during the decade.

- WCHA Lands Four the Top-20 This Week: Minnesota State, Bowling Green, Bemidji State and Lake Superior State represent the WCHA in the latest USCHO rankings released March 8. Minnesota State is up to No. 3 this week while Bowling Green remains at No. 13 with Bemidji State No. 15 and Lake Superior State No. 18. Michigan Tech also received votes.

  • The Mavericks and Falcons are also No. 3 and No. 13, respectively, in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings this week while Lake Superior State and Bemidji State received votes.
  • Minnesota State and Bemidji State are ranked in the latest College Hockey News Power 16 rankings released March 9. MSU is No. 5 while the Beavers are No. 13.

By The Numbers

- 36: Team-leading blocked shots total for Alabama Huntsville's Lucas Bahn.

- 50: Career points for Bemidji State's Alex Ierullo after his game-winning goal on March 7 against Alabama Huntsville.

- 40: Saves by Ferris State freshman goaltender Logan Stein in the Bulldogs' regular-season finale on March 6.

- 25: Team-high point total for Michigan Tech's Trenton Bliss on 12 goals and 13 assists.

- 18: Bowling Green players who have registered at least one point against Northern Michigan this season.

- 18 (Again): Assists for Northern Michigan's Joseph Nardi, the ninth-best total in the NCAA.

- 6: Career-high consecutive games with at least a point for Lake Superior State's Pete Veillette as the Lakers begin postseason play.

- 5: Game-winning goals for Minnesota State junior forward Julian Napravnik, which is tied for the NCAA lead.

The Week Ahead

- No. 8 Ferris State at No. 1 (3/3) Minnesota State: The top-seeded Mavericks and eighth-seeded Bulldogs meet for the fourth time in the WCHA postseason. Minnesota State defeated Ferris State, 4-1, in the 2014 WCHA championship game and 4-0 in 2015 WCHA semifinals. Ferris State won the most recent meeting, 2-1, in the 2016 WCHA championship game.

- No. 7 Alabama Huntsville at No. 2 (18/RV) Lake Superior State: The Chargers and Lakers will meet for the first time in WCHA postseason play. The Lakers were 3-0-1 in the four meetings between the teams this season.

- No. 6 Northern Michigan at No. 3 (13/13 Bowling Green): This weekend will mark the fourth meeting between the Wildcats and Falcons in WCHA postseason play. Bowling Green swept NMU, 2-0, in the 2015 quarterfinals and the 2019 semifinals with NMU taking a 2-1 series win in the 2018 semifinals.

- No. 5 (RV/UR) Michigan Tech at No. 4 (15/RV) Bemidji State: Michigan Tech won the only other WCHA playoff matchup with the Beavers, taking a 2-0 series sweep from BSU in the quarterfinals en route to the 2018 WCHA Postseason title.

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.