WCHA Weekend Preview: Dec. 4 - 5, 2015
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
Alaska gets a visit from Lake Superior State this weekend

Opening Face-Off

- Falcons and Huskies Rise in Top 20: No. 14 Bowling Green (up one spot) and No. 17 (tied) Michigan Tech (up two) both rose in this week's USCHO.com poll, while the Falcons moved into the No. 15 spot in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine rankings. Minnesota State received votes in former, while the Huskies were among five teams receiving votes in the latter.

- Winning November: Both Bowling Green and Michigan Tech tied for third nationally with six wins during the month of November. The Huskies posted the NCAA's eight-best winning percentage at .812 (6-1-1), while the Falcons tied for 11th at .778 (6-1-2).

- Stingy "D": Bowling Green's defense, which has been exceptional all season (tied for ninth nationally at just 2.00 goals allowed per game), was a tick better in November, tying for sixth in the country at 1.67 GAPG. Just a notch below, however, was Lake Superior State, with the Lakers winning or tying five of eight games behind a "D" that allowed just 14 goals in the month - a 1.75 GAPG that tied for eighth-best in the NCAA.

- Playing it Close: Not surprisingly with those defensive numbers, Lake Superior State has played eight-straight contests that either finished in a tie or was decided by one goal (2-3-3). Meanwhile, Bowling Green's current five-game winning streak has been built on five one-goal victories (including two overtime contests).

- Breaking Out the Broom: After the season's first 20 WCHA series resulted in just five sweeps, four teams broke out the broom this past weekend (in five series): Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State.

- Heinonen in the Clutch: Michigan Tech's sweep last weekend at Alaska was keyed partly by Tyler Heinonen, who netted the game-winning goal in both contests and now is tied for second nationally with three on the season. The junior has scored goals in five-straight games (six total) and has moved into a tie for sixth in the country with nine overall.

- "Madhouse on Mercer": Bowling Green has made sure its home arena has lived up to the moniker, matching Quinnipiac for the longest home unbeaten streak in the country at 11 games (9-0-2). The Falcons are 5-0-2 on home ice this season and are 15-3-3 in their last 21 home contests.

By the Numbers

- 115 and 93: Career point totals for seniors Alex Petan (MTU) and Blake Tatchell (UAA), respectively. Petan is the fifth-leading scorer among active D-I players, with 47 goals and 68 assists in his 130 collegiate games. Tatchell, who has totaled 27 goals and 66 assists in 122 games, is just seven points shy of becoming the third active WCHA player in the century club (UAF's Tyler Morley has 105 points). Petan and Tatchell will share the same ice this weekend when the Huskies host the Seawolves.


- All ten (10) 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


Minnesota State (7-1-2, 16 pts. WCHA / 8-6-2) at No. 14/15 Bowling Green (6-2-2, 14 pts. WCHA / 9-3-3)
BGSU Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio – Fri., Dec. 4 and Sat., Dec. 5 (both at 7:07 p.m. ET)

- Two of the WCHA's hottest teams meet in Ohio, as the Mavericks (3-0-2) and Falcons (5-0-0) each own league-best, five-game unbeaten streaks. MSU is also 8-2-2 in its last 12 contests.

- BGSU, two points behind front-running Minnesota State and Michigan Tech in the WCHA standings, will put its 11-game home unbeaten streak on the line against a Mavericks team that is 3-1-2 in WCHA road outings.

- Minnesota State averages 3.10 goals per WCHA game – highest in the league. Bowling Green, meanwhile, leads the league by yielding just 1.90 goals per WCHA contest and is tied for ninth nationally for the season (2.00 gapg).

- MSU senior F Bryce Gervais, who leads the team with seven goals, has played in 138 consecutive games. His 10 career GWGs are tied for fifth most in program history.

- BGSU sophomore D Mark Friedman doubled his career goal total with two last weekend. He is now riding a five-game point streak, one shy of his career high (2g-5a—7pts).

- Since the formation of the "new" WCHA in 2013-14, Minnesota State is 63-28-6 (49-12-6 WCHA) and Bowling Green is 50-29-14 (36-21-9 WCHA), while both teams have made consecutive Final Five appearances.

- Minnesota State leads the all-time series by a 5-3-1 margin, including a 3-2-1 advantage at the BGSU Ice Arena.

Bemidji State (3-5-2, 8 pts. WCHA / 4-6-3) at Ferris State (5-5-2, 12 pts. WCHA / 6-6-4)
Ewigleben Ice Arena; Big Rapids, Mich. – Fri., Dec. 4 and Sat., Dec. 5 (both at 7:07 p.m. ET)

- The Beavers and host Bulldogs meet in a rematch of the 2015 WCHA quarterfinals, which featured Ferris State's sweep-clinching, triple-OT victory at Bemidji State.

- BSU has earned five points in its last three WCHA games (2-0-1), while FSU has come away from all six of its league series with two points.

- BSU junior G Reid Mimmack has started four of the Beavers' past five games, going 3-0-1 with a 1.37 GAA and a .934 save percentage.

- The Beavers sit atop the WCHA with a penalty kill rate of 89.5 percent, while they are 12th nationally with an 88.7 mark on the season.

- FSU freshman F Corey Mackin is ranked second in the WCHA scoring race with 11 points (5g-6a) in conference play. Fellow rookie Darren Smith has solidified the goaltending position, going 5-2-3 with a 2.22 GAA and .929 save percentage in 11 games overall.

- FSU leads the all-time series 12-6-1; however, BSU went 1-0-1 last season in Big Rapids.

Alaska Anchorage (3-4-1, 7 pts. WCHA / 6-6-2) at No. 17 Michigan Tech (8-4-0, 16 pts. WCHA / 9-4-1)
John Maclnnes Ice Arena; Houghton, Mich. – Fri., Dec. 4 and Sat., Dec. 5 (both at 7:07 p.m. ET)

- The Seawolves continue their tour of the league co-leaders with a trip to Houghton to take on the No. 17 Michigan Tech Huskies. MTU is undefeated in its last three games (2-0-1) and has gone 8-2-1 after opening the season with a 1-2-0 mark.

- Tech is 6-0-0 when ahead after the first period and 7-0-0 when carrying a lead into the third.

- Michigan Tech's sweep last weekend at Alaska was keyed partly by WCHA Nov. Offensive Player of the Month Tyler Heinonen, who netted the game-winning goal in both contests and now is tied for second nationally with three on the season.

- UAA F Blake Tatchell has totaled 27 goals and 66 assists in 122 career games, and is just seven points shy of becoming the third active WCHA player in the century club. This season, Tatchell is third in the WCHA with 14 points overall, while averaging a league-best 1.12 points per conference game (nine points in eight games).

- MTU has won four-straight meetings to take a 32-30-11 lead in the all-time series. UAA hasn't won at Houghton since Feb. 8, 2013.

Northern Michigan (3-4-3, 9 pts. WCHA / 4-5-5) at Alabama Huntsville (2-7-1, 5 pts. WCHA / 3-8-1)
Von Braun Center; Huntsville, Alabama – Fri., Dec. 4 and Sat., Dec. 5 (both at 7:07 p.m. CT)

- Northern Michigan will travel to take on Alabama Huntsville for a WCHA weekend series. Both teams will look to get back in the win column, as the Wildcats are 0-2-2 in their last four games and the Chargers have dropped six-straight contests.

- UAH ranks second in the WCHA (28th nationally) by averaging 2.67 goals through its first 12 games, while NMU is third for overall defense (t-16th nationally) by yielding just 2.36 a game.

- NMU freshman G Atte Tolvanen leads the WCHA with 415 overall saves and is second in save percentage (.930).

- Since returning to the Wildcats' lineup full-time beginning Oct. 21, senior F Cohen Adair has a team-high six points (3g-3a) in seven games.

- UAH junior Brandon Carlson has scored three goals in his last five appearances, playing as a forward on the Chargers' fourth line in each of those contests. He has also excelled on the defensive end with a team-high 20 blocks, which is tied for 17th in the country.

- The Chargers have employed a goaltending tandem each of the past four weekends, with juniors Carmine Guerriero and Matt Larose each starting a game apiece during those series.

- UAH swept NMU at the Von Braun Center last season (Jan. 16-17) for its only two wins thus far in the series (NMY leads 8-2-2).

Lake Superior State (2-3-3, 7 pts. WCHA / 4-9-3) at Alaska (2-6-2, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-8-2)
Carlson Center; Fairbanks, Alaska – Fri., Dec. 4 and Sat., Dec. 5 (both at 7:07 p.m. AT)

- The Lakers, who finished 2-1-3 in WCHA play during November, travel to Fairbanks to face a Nanooks team that is winless in their last five outings (0-3-2).

- Alaska will look to leapfrog LSSU in the WCHA standings this weekend, as the Nanooks are currently a point behind the Lakers.

- LSSU sophomore G Gordon Defiel posted a league-best 1.52 GAA and .956 save percentage in November (third nationally). Defiel faced a league-high 250 shots and made a WCHA-best 239 saves. He had a 0.39 GAA in the third period and overtime, stopping 71-of-72 shots.

- Lakers' freshmen have the fifth-highest point output in the country (tops in the WCHA), contributing 42 points (16g-26a).

- UAF sophomore D Zack Frye, is tied for the lead amongst WCHA defensemen with eight assists. Another second-year player, F, Peter Krieger, is third in the league with nine helpers.

- LSSU leads the all-time series, which began in 1986, by a 32-21-6 margin; however, the Nanooks won three of four meetings last season. UAF holds a 12-7-5 edge all-time in Fairbanks.