WCHA Weekend Preview: Nov. 13 - 14, 2015
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
Alaska Anchorage hosts Ferris State this weekend

Opening Face-Off

- Falcons and Huskies in Top 20: Two teams that will face-off this weekend in Houghton, Mich. - No. 15 Bowling Green and No. 20 Michigan Tech - are the WCHA representatives in this week's USCHO.com poll. Both schools are receiving votes in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine poll, while Minnesota State and Alaska Anchorage received votes in the USCHO.com ledger.

- Competitive Balance: Six of the WCHA's ten teams are at .500 or better overall, including a trio of schools playing better than .600 hockey: Alaska Anchorage (.688, 5-2-1), Michigan Tech (.625, 5-3-0) and Bowling Green (.611, 4-2-3).

- Points for Everyone: Nine of the first 12 WCHA series of the 2014-15 season resulted in sweeps (75 percent). This year, there have been 11 WCHA series thus far - and only three sweeps (27.3 pct.). While the ratio eventually came down in 2014-15, at season's end, 61.4 percent of WCHA series (43) resulted in one team winning both contests.

- Heating Up: While Alaska Anchorage is off to its best eight-game start (5-2-1) since the 2008-09 season and Bowling Green survived playing six of its first seven games on the road, three WCHA teams have begun to find their stride in the last three to four weekends. Ferris State is 4-2-1 in its last seven games, Michigan Tech is 4-1-0 in its last five contests and Minnesota State has rebounded from an 0-4-0 start to go 5-1-0 in its last six outings.

- Century Mark: Alaska senior forward Tyler Morley reached and surpassed the career 100-point mark with a five-point weekend, and now sits at 103 points (48g-55a) in 107 collegiate contests (0.96ppg). Morley joins Michigan Tech senior Alex Petan (107 points on 44 goals and 63 assists in 124 games) as the two WCHA players among the nine active NCAA Division I skaters in the century club. Next up is Alaska Anchorage senior Blake Tatchell, who is 11 points shy (27 goals and 62 assists for 89 points in 116 games).

- Talons Up in Goal: Bowling Green's Chris Nell ranks second nationally with a .960 save percentage (167-for-174) and third with a 1.07 goals-against-average (7 in 394:04), helping the Falcons post a WCHA-best mark of 1.89 goals per contest (ninth in the NCAA). The sophomore has allowed one-or-fewer goals in four-of-six starts this year and two-or-fewer in 12 of 18 career starts (including five shutouts).

By the Numbers

- 0.86: Goals-per-game average, tied for sixth-best nationally, by UAH's Brennan Saulnier, UAF's Tyler Morley and BSU's Gerry Fitzgerald. Their six goals are tied for seventh-most among all NCAA players, a group that also includes BGSU's Kevin Dufour.

- 1.57 and 1.43: Points-per-game averages for Morley and Saulnier, good for ninth and tied for 13th, respectively, in the country.


- Nine WCHA games this weekend can be viewed live (or archived) via WCHA.tv.

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


No. 15 Bowling Green (1-1-2, 4 pts. WCHA / 4-2-3) at No. 20 Michigan Tech (5-3-0, 10 pts. WCHA / 5-3-0)
John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. – Fri., Nov. 13 and Sat., Nov. 14 (both 7:07 p.m. ET)

- Bowling Green and Michigan Tech, which finished 2-3 in the WCHA standings last year and met in the 2015 Final Five semifinals, face off for the first time this season in a top-20 matchup.

- Both teams are coming off undefeated weekends, as BGSU skated to a pair of home ties against Lake Superior State and MTU swept a series at Alabama Huntsville.

- BGSU sophomore G Chris Nell, who started both ends of a weekend series for the first time in his career last weekend, has allowed one-or-fewer goals in four-of-six starts this season.

- BGSU head coach Chris Bergeron has 84 career wins with the Falcons. His next victory will move him past BGSU Athletics Hall-of-Famer Scott Paluch and into fourth place in school history.

- Tech is 11-1-0 in its past 12 home games and 11-2-1 over its last 14 November contests (home and road). This season, the Huskies are 4-1-0 in their last five games after losing two of their first three contests.

- MTU senior G Jamie Phillips, who has started all eight games for the Huskies this year, is tied for the all-time school record with seven career shutouts.

- Michigan Tech leads the all-time series 11-8-2, including a 5-3-2 mark on home ice. MTU won two of three meetings last year, splitting in Houghton before winning in the Final Five semifinals, 5-2.

Alaska (1-3-0, 2 pts. WCHA / 3-5-0) at Bemidji State (0-3-1, 1 pt. WCHA / 1-4-2)
Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn. – Fri., Nov. 13 (7:37 p.m. CT) and Sat., Nov. 14 (7:07 p.m. CT)

- Idle last week, Bemidji State hosts Alaska in a matchup of teams looking to generate momentum in league play.

- The Nanooks earned their first WCHA points last weekend, splitting a home series with visiting Northern Michigan.

- Alaska senior F Tyler Morley is the reigning WCHA Offensive Player of the Week after a league-high five-point weekend (3g-2a) vs. NMU.

- Bemidji State sophomore F Gerry Fitzgerald is tied for seventh nationally with six goals this season, while his 0.86 goals-per-game mark is sixth-best.

- BSU captain Graeme McCormack is tied for third nationally with six power-play points (3g-3a).

- The Beavers lead the all-time series 6-1-2, including a 5-1-1 mark at home. BSU won both games last year, taking 6-1 and 4-3 (overtime) decisions.

Ferris State (3-3-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-4-2) at Alaska Anchorage (2-1-1, 5 pts. WCHA / 5-2-1)
Sullivan Arena; Anchorage, Alaska – Fri., Nov. 13 and Sat., Nov. 14 (both 7:07 p.m. AT)

- Two teams on a roll meet at the Sullivan Arena, as Ferris State (4-2-1 in its last seven games) visits Alaska Anchorage (5-2-1, for the Seawolves' best eight-game start since 2008-09).

- While UAA was idle last week, Ferris State split a home series with visiting Minnesota State.

- The Bulldogs are tied for third in the WCHA for scoring offense at 3.00 goals per game. Ferris State's 30 goals have come from 13 different scorers, while a total of 19 skaters have tallied at least one point. Junior F Gerald Mayhew has 11 points (3g-8a) to tie for the overall WCHA lead.

- Freshman G Darren Smith has started four of FSU's last five games, going 3-1-1 with a .928 save percentage and 2.52 GAA.

- Alaska Anchorage is tied for the WCHA's most prolific offense, netting 25 goals in eight games (3.12 goals per game). Senior F Blake Tatchell is tied for third with 10 points (4g-6a).

- UAA has 18 freshmen and sophomores, and the underclassmen have accounted for a combined 43 points – 62 percent of the Seawolves' scoring.

- UAA's only win in this series came on Dec. 19, 1986. The Seawolves also managed a tie on Feb. 12, 1988, but FSU leads 8-1-1 (including a 4-0-0 margin last season).


Arizona State (3-6-0 as D-I Independent) at Lake Superior State (0-2-2, 2 pts. WCHA / 2-6-2)
Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Fri., Nov. 13 (7:37 p.m. ET) and Sat., Nov. 14 (7:07 p.m. ET)

- Arizona State plays its third of five scheduled WCHA opponents during its maiden D-I season, traveling to Sault Ste. Marie for a two-game series at Lake Superior State.

- The Lakers are coming off an impressive road weekend, skating to a pair of 1-1 ties at then-No. 14 Bowling Green.

- LSSU sophomore G Gordon Defiel made 70 saves on 72 shots last weekend (.972 save percentage), turning aside all 29 shots he faced during the third period and overtime.

- LSSU's freshman class leads all WCHA rookie groups with 11 goals and 27 points, while tying for the league lead with 16 assists. Mitch Hults (3g-2a—5pts) and Gage Torrel (2g-3a—5pts) are tied for tops among LSSU freshmen scorers.

- Another Lakers' newcomer, sophomore transfer J.T. Henke, leads the team with five goals and seven points.

- LSSU is second in the WCHA and 13th nationally with 131 blocked shots.

Minnesota State (5-1-0, 10 pts. WCHA / 5-5-0) vs. Minnesota (0-0-0-0, 0 pts. B10 / 3-4-0)
Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn. – Fri., Nov. 13 (7:07 p.m. CT) - WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV
Mariucci Arena; Minneapolis, Minn. – Sat., Nov. 14 (7:05 p.m. CT)

- Longtime in-state rivals and former conference foes Minnesota State and Minnesota meet this weekend for a home-and-home series.

- Both teams won the second game last weekend to salvage road splits, with the Mavericks defeating Ferris State and the Gophers winning at Notre Dame.

- Minnesota State has gone 5-1-0 in its last six games after going winless in its first four contests, all in nonconference play.

- After suffering three consecutive shutouts for the first time in program history Oct. 10-17, Minnesota State has scored 20 goals in its last six games (3.33 goals per contest).

- The Mavericks are tied for fifth nationally by allowing just 24.6 shots on goal per game, while Minnesota State has outshot opponents by a 316-248 margin overall,

- MSU junior D Casey Nelson extended his point-scoring streak to six games with a four-point effort at Ferris State (2g-2a). The Mavericks' leading scorer, Nelson is tied for third among all NCAA defensemen with nine points (3g-6a).


- Alabama Huntsville (2-3-1, 5 pts. WCHA / 3-4-1) & Northern Michigan (3-2-1, 7 pts. WCHA / 4-3-3)