WCHA Weekend Preview: Oct. 22-24, 2015
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
Bemidji State hosts Minnesota State for a WCHA series this weekend

Opening Face-Off

- Falcons, Huskies Carry WCHA Banner in Polls: No. 12 Bowling Green and No. 16 Michigan Tech are ranked in the latest USCHO.com poll, while Bemidji State and Minnesota State are the top two schools in the "receiving votes" column. The Falcons hold the same ranking in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine top 15 poll, where the Huskies are receiving votes.

- Nice Start for the Kids: WCHA underclassmen have enjoyed a solid start to the 2015-16 campaign. Three freshmen forwards rank among the top 16 NCAA rookies for points per game: MTU's Brett Boeing is tied for second at 2.00 (0g-4a--4pts in 2 games), LSSU's Gage Torrel is tied for eighth at 1.33 (1-3--4 in 3) and UAA's Jeremiah Luedtke is tied for 13th at 1.25 (0-5--5 in 4). A pair of sophomores are in the top five nationally for goals per game: UAH's Brennan Saulnier is tied for the NCAA lead at 1.50 (3 goals in 2 games) and BSU's Gerry Fitzgerald is tied for fourth at 1.33 (4 in 3).

- Powering Up: LSSU freshman Mitch Hults has scored three goals in his first four games - all on the power play, tying for the national lead in the category. MTU's Alex Petan, BSU's Graeme McCormack and UAA's Tad Kozun all have a pair of power-play goals in the early going. Meanwhile, Bemidji State (4th), Michigan Tech (7th) and Northern Michigan (9th) are in the top ten for power-play efficiency.

- Bemidji State Continues Impressive Run: Eleven of Bemidji State's last 19 games (dating back to Jan. 23) have come against opponents ranked in the top ten nationally, with the Beavers posting an impressive 5-4-2 mark in those contests. Last Friday, BSU twice erased two-goal deficits en route to a 4-4 tie with top-ranked North Dakota.

- Early Momentum in Anchorage and Ohio: Of the 25 D-I teams to play at least four games thus far, only 10 have winning records - including 3-1-0 Alaska Anchorage (.750) and 3-1-1 Bowling Green (.700).

The Week Ahead

- Alaska Anchorage at Alabama Huntsville: Two teams off to solid starts meet or their WCHA openers, as the Chargers - who forged an opening weekend split for the first time since 2010-11 - host the Seawolves, one of 11 NCAA teams with at least three wins.

- Minnesota State at Bemidji State: The in-state rivals face-off for the first time in 2015-16 to open WCHA play, with the Mavericks looking for their first win of the season and the Beavers hoping to maintain momentum from a 1-1-1 start against ranked opponents.

- No. 16 Michigan Tech vs. Northern Michigan: The first 2015-16 chapter of the intense UP rivalry will be written this weekend, with the No. 16 Huskies and Wildcats meeting for a home-and-home series.

- WCHA vs. Big Ten: The remaining two series pit the WCHA against the Big Ten, with Lake Superior State traveling to Michigan State and Ferris State hosting Wisconsin. WCHA teams are 2-1-2 (.600) against Big Ten opponents this season.


- A total of eight WCHA games this weekend can be viewed live via WCHA.tv.

All rankings listed by USCHO.com poll first, followed by USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll


Alaska Anchorage (0-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 3-1-0) at Alabama Huntsville (0-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 1-1-0)
Von Braun Center; Huntsville, Ala. – Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24 (7:07 p.m. CT both nights)

- Two teams looking to continue their early momentum meet up when Alaska Anchorage visits Alabama Huntsville for their respective WCHA openers.

- UAA won both games last weekend at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush. The Seawolves lead the WCHA with an average of 3.75 goals per game (4 in 15 games).

- Seawolves' freshman D Wyatt Ege was named WCHA Rookie of the Week after scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals last Friday vs. RPI. Fellow rookie Jeremiah Luedtke is tied for third among NCAA freshmen at 1.25 assists per game (5 in 4 games).

- UAH, idle from NCAA competition last week, split its opening-weekend series for the first time since 2010-11. Chargers' sophomore F Brennan Saulnier recorded five points on opening weekend (3g-2a) and is tied for the NCAA lead with his average of 1.50 goals per game.

- The UAH top line of Max McHugh, Chad Brears and Saulnier combined for four goals and five assists for nine points in an Oct. 10 win vs. UConn – most by a Charger line since Feb. 25, 2006.

- UAA leads the all-time series, 18-4-1; however, UAH posted a two-game sweep in Huntsville last Jan 2-3 (winning by scores of 3-2 and 2-1.

Minnesota State (0-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 0-4-0) at Bemidji State (0-0-0-, 0 pts. WCHA / 1-1-1)
Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn. – Friday, Oct. 23 at 7:37 p.m. CT and Saturday, Oct. 24 at 7:07 p.m. CT

- Minnesota State and Bemidji State continue their in-state rivalry at the Sanford Center.

- The Mavericks, who have been shut out in three-consecutive games for the first time in program history, will be looking for their first win of the season.

- MSU's penalty kill has been top-notch, as the Mavs are one of eight teams in the country to not allow a goal when down a man this season (7-for-7).

- On the flip slide, Bemidji State ranks fourth in the country with a .364 power-play efficiency, converting on 4-of-11 chances. Senior D Graeme McCormack connected twice on the power play last Friday in a 4-4 tie with No. 1 UND, earning WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors.

- Beavers' sophomore F Gerry Fitzgerald is tied for fourth nationally at 1.33 goals per game (4 in 3 games). Five of his 11 career goals have factored in the decision (4 GWGs and 1 tying strike).

- In a series that dates back to 1974, BSU holds a slight 79-75-13 edge in the rivalry. MSU won three of five meetings last year, but the Beavers took two of the final three – including in the championship game of the 2015 North Star College Cup.

No. 16 Michigan Tech (1-1-0, 2 pts. WCHA / 1-1-0) vs. Northern Michigan (0-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 1-1-2)
Friday, Oct. 23 at Berry Events Center; Marquette, Mich. – 7:07 p.m. ET
Saturday, Oct. 24 at John MacInness Student Ice Arena; Houghton, Mich. – 7:07 p.m. ET

- Longtime UP rivals Northern Michigan and No. 16 Michigan Tech will meet for the first time in 2015-16, facing off Friday night in Marquette and Saturday in Houghton.

- MTU opened its season last weekend with a split at Ferris State. Huskies' freshman Brett Boeing recorded four assists in his collegiate debut (5-1 win Oct. 16), becoming the first MTU player with four helpers in a game since Oct. 10, 2010 (Deron Cousins).

- Tech senior F Alex Petan, who ranks fourth among active D-I players with 105 career points (in 119 games), had a three-point effort last Friday (2g-1a).

- NMU split a home-and-home with Lake Superior State last weekend, winning 6-3 Friday behind the first career hat trick by sophomore F Robbie Payne.

- Wildcats' junior F Gerald Hanson, one of nine NMU players with a point this season, has recorded five assists – tied for second nationally and tied for first in the WCHA.

- The Huskies-Wildcats rivalry dates back to 1979-80, with NMU holding a 68-54-14 all-time edge. However, MTU is on a 6-2-1 run in the last 10 meetings (including 2-1-1 last year).


Wisconsin (0-0-0-0, 0 pts. Big Ten / 0-2-2) at Ferris State (1-1-0, 2 pts. WCHA / 1-2-1)
Ewigleben Ice Arena; Big Rapids, Mich. - Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24 (7:07 p.m. ET both nights)

- Ferris State will host Wisconsin at the Ewigleben Ice Arena for the first time ever this weekend.

- The "Dawg Pound" student section at Ewigleben, which is sold out this year for the fifth consecutive campaign, will welcome its 69th and 70th consecutive sellouts this weekend.

- FSU is coming off a home split with Michigan Tech, earning a 3-2 victory last Saturday behind a 35-save effort from senior goaltender Charles Williams. After missing all of last season due to injury, Williams has posted a .922 save percentage in 224:30 between the pipes.

- The Bulldogs' seven goals to date have come from six different goal scorers. A total of 11 FSU players have registered points this season.

- Wisconsin holds a slim 3-2-1 all-time advantage in the series, with all six previous meetings taking place in Madison.

Lake Superior State (0-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 1-3-0) at Michigan State (0-0-0-0, 0 pts. Big Ten / 1-2-1)
Munn Ice Arena; East Lansing, Mich. – Thursday, Oct. 22 and Friday, Oct. 23 (7:05 p.m. ET both nights)

- Lake Superior State continues its road-heavy early schedule, traveling to East Lansing for a nonconference series against Michigan State. After this weekend, five of LSSU's first six games will have been away from Taffy Abel Arena.

- The Lakers and Spartans have already met once this season, with Michigan State winning 4-1 in the second game of the Ice Breaker Tournament in Portland, Maine.

- LSSU freshman G Nick Kossoff led the Lakers to a 4-0 victory last Saturday against Northern Michigan, recording 19 saves to become the first Laker to register a shutout in his collegiate debut.

- Last weekend, freshmen Mitch Hults and Josh Nenadal each scored twice, Owen Headrick added a goal and Gage Torrel had three assists.

- The Lakers trail the all-time series against head coach Damon Whitten's alma mater, by a count of 34-70-14.


- Alaska

- No. 10 Bowling Green