WCHA Weekend Preview: Jan. 8 - 10, 2016
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
Alabama Huntsville hosts Alaska this weekend with Friday's game telecast by American Sports Network (ASN)

Opening Face-Off

- Falcons and Mavericks in Top 20: The WCHA continues to be represented in the USCHO.com poll by No. 16 Bowling Green and No. 18 Minnesota State, with Michigan Tech receiving votes. All three teams are receiving votes in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine poll.

- Mavericks on a Roll: When Minnesota State takes the ice Friday for the first time since Dec. 12, it will do so with an unbeaten streak of nine games (5-0-4) - currently the longest run in the country. The Mavericks are also 10-2-4 in their last 16 contests.

- Competitive Balance: As the second half of the WCHA league season begins in earnest this weekend, seven teams are .500 or better in league play. With 70 percent of its membership at or above the .500 mark in league play, just three points separate the top three teams in the WCHA standings and there is only a six-point gap between fourth place (and home ice for the league playoffs) and ninth (and out of the postseason).

- Don't Leave Your Seats: Forty-three (42) of the first 72 WCHA games have been either ties (15) or one-goal decisions (28), with 22 overtime contests. Seventeen (17) league games have featured a tie-breaking, third-period game-winning goal (including six in the last five minutes of regulation), with an additional seven victories coming in overtime.

- Live on ASN: The WCHA will make its debut this week on the American Sports Network (ASN) national college hockey package, as Alabama Huntsville hosts Alaska on Friday, January 8 at 7:07 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast live on 107 ASN affiliates nationwide, spanning 39 states and including MASN's Dish Network (Ch. 432) and Direct TV (Channel 640) stations. Joel Goldberg will handle play-by-play duties, alongside former University of Minnesota All-American and two-time All-WCHA performer Pat Micheletti.

- Quickly Around the WCHA: UAH has killed off 40 of its last 41 penalties and ranks 12th nationally at 86.6 percent...With 12 points in WCHA play, UAA has already matched its 2014-15 output...UAF senior F Tyler Morley is now tied for the league lead with 19 points, having tallied six in his last three games (3g-3a)...BSU is 4-3-2 on the road, already matching its road victory total from 2014-15 (4-10-3)...BGSU has held opponents to three-or-fewer goals in 16 straight games and 20 of 22 contests this season...FSU's all-underclassmen line of Jacob Hetz (Fr.), Trevor Recktenwald (Fr.) and Andrew Mayer (So.) combined for six points (3g-3a) at the Mariucci Classic...LSSU freshman G Nick Kossoff, who is tied for the NCAA lead among rookies with three shutouts (in seven starts), went 2-0-1 with a .962 save percentage in December...MTU is undefeated in nine of its last 10 games away from Houghton...MSU leads the nation for fewest shots on goal allowed per game (22.05)...NMU has played in an NCAA-high nine overtime games, going 2-1-6 in those contests.


- All ten (10) WCHA games this weekend can be viewed live (or archived) via WCHA.tv, while Friday's Alaska at Alabama Huntsville game will be broadcast live on the American Sports Network (ASN).

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


No. 16 Bowling Green (8-2-4, 20 pts. WCHA / 12-5-5) at Lake Superior State (4-4-4, 12 pts. WCHA / 7-11-4)
Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Fri., Jan. 8 (7:37 p.m. ET) and Sat., Jan. 9 (7:07 p.m. ET)

- Just one win shy of matching its entire 2014-15 overall victory total and three WCHA points away from equaling last season's output, Lake Superior State (4-2-2 in last eight WCHA games) hosts No. 16 Bowling Green.

- BGSU went 1-2 in three games last week (with a win over Clarkson), while LSSU went 1-1 at the Catamount Cup (with a victory over Brown).

- The Falcons, which lost in their last outing, have won four-straight games this year (and seven-consecutive dating back to last season) after a loss.

- BGSU's eight goals last weekend matched its' weekend season high. The Falcons have held opponents to three-goals-or-fewer in 16-straight games and 20 of 22 contests overall.

- Lakers' freshman G Nick Kossoff was 2-0-1 in December. He led the WCHA in shutouts with two and finished second in both saves percentage (.962 percent) and goals-against average (1.01).

- LSSU's freshmen, including WCHA Rookie of the Month Gage Torrel, have combined for 22 goals and 36 assists. The 58 points is second (WCHA) only to Ferris State's junior class (20-41--61).

- The Lakers and Falcons skated to a pair of 1-1 ties Nov. 6-7 in Ohio. BGSU leads the all-time series between these storied programs, 77-69-12.

Northern Michigan (5-5-4, 14 pts. WCHA / 7-7-6) at No. 18 Minnesota State (9-1-4, 22 pts. WCHA / 10-6-4)
Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn. – Fri., Jan. 8 and Sat., Jan. 9 (7:07 p.m. CT both nights)

- 18th-ranked Minnesota State, idle since Dec. 12, brings the NCAA's longest current unbeaten streak into the series vs. Northern Michigan. The Mavericks are 5-0-4 in their last nine games.

- Northern Michigan captured third place at the 51st annual Great Lakes Invitational, rallying for a 2-1, overtime victory over Michigan State in the consolation game.

- Dominik Shine (6 goals), Darren Nowick (3) and Robbie Payne (3) combined to score 12 of Northern Michigan's 14 goals, all but two of which came at even strength, in December.

- Through 20 games, Northern Michigan has played in a national-high nine overtime games, posting a 2-1-6 record. The Wildcats are tied with Notre Dame for the national lead in ties.

- MSU junior F Michael Huntebrinker has an eight-game point streak (4-6--10). Huntebrinker has 4-9--13 on the year new single-season highs for goals, assists and points.

- The Mavericks rank first in the nation for fewest shots on goal allowed per game (22.05) and rank third in shots on goal margin with a +10.7 SOGM mark.

- Including 1-1 and 2-2 overtime ties in Marquette played earlier this season (Nov. 20-21), MSU stands 6-1-3 all-time in the series vs. NMU – including 4-0-0 at home.

Alaska (3-9-4, 10 pts. WCHA / 5-11-4) at Alabama Huntsville (2-10-2, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-14-2)
Von Braun Center; Huntsville, Ala. – Fri., Jan. 8 and Sat., Jan. 9 (7:07 p.m. CT both nights)
WATCH LIVE ON WCHA.TV and Friday's game on American Sports Network (ASN)

- Alaska opens a three-week stay in the Lower 48 with a pair of games at Alabama Huntsville, including Friday's WCHA debut on the American Sports Network (ASN).

- Both teams were in action last weekend, with UAH dropping a pair at now-No. 1 North Dakota, while the Nanooks went 0-1-1 at home against Bemidji State.

- UAF senior F Tyler Morley has six points (3g-3a) during a six-game point streak and is now tied for first in the WCHA with 19 points overall. He also leads the league with 78 shots on goal.

- Nanooks' sophomore D Zach Frye leads all WCHA blue-liners in points (12), assists (10) and assists per game (0.50).

- UAH junior G Carmine Guerriero made 72 saves (on 75 shots) last weekend at North Dakota, including stopping 38-of-39 attempts Friday night.

- The Chargers rate second in the WCHA and 12th nationally with an 86.6 percent success rate (71-for-82) on penalty kills, including 40 of their past 41.

- Alaska won all four meetings during the 2014-15 season, including a pair of overtime contests.

Bemidji State (5-8-3, 13 pts. WCHA / 6-9-4) at Alaska Anchorage (5-5-2, 12 pts. WCHA / 8-7-3)
Sullivan Arena; Anchorage, Alaska – Fri., Jan. 8 and Sat., Jan. 9 (7:07 p.m. AT both nights)

- After taking three of four points last weekend in Fairbanks, Bemidji State remains in Alaska for a series in Anchorage. The Seawolves have been idle since Dec. 12.

- BSU is 4-3-2 on the road, already matching its road win total of the 2014-15 season (4-10-3).

- BSU has surrendered nine power-play goals in 78 opponent opportunities. At nearly 90 percent (.885), BSU is fifth in the country. The Beavers' 88.9 percent mark (56-for-63) in league play is tops in the WCHA.

- UAA's 12 WCHA points ties the Seawolves' entire point total from the 2014-15 slate where they finished 10th. The Seawolves are slightly having a better season than head coach Matt Thomas' first season – UAA was 8-8-2 after 18 games (they finished 18-16-4 overall for UAA's first winning season in 20+ years).

- UAA's top goal-scorer, sophomore F Tad Kozun, is tied for fourth in the WCHA with eight.

- The Beavers have a 7-1-4 all-time record versus the Seawolves, which includes being unbeaten in the last 11 meetings (7-0-4). UAA's only win came in the teams' first meeting, Nov. 12, 2010.


Michigan Tech (9-6-1, 19 pts. WCHA / 11-7-2) at Desert Hockey Classic
Gila River Arena; Glendale, Ariz. – Friday, Jan. 8 and Sunday, Jan. 10

- Michigan Tech will participate in its second-consecutive tournament, traveling to Glendale, Ariz. for the inaugural Desert Hockey Classic. The Huskies will play Connecticut at 5:00 p.m. MT in Friday's opener, followed by either 12th-ranked Yale or host Arizona State on Sunday. The tournament is held at the Gila River Arena, home of the NHL's Arizona Coyotes.

- Tech is coming off a second-place finish at the 51st annual Great Lakes Invitational. The Huskies rallied for a thrilling 3-2, OT win over Michigan State in the semifinals.

- Tech has enjoyed success away from the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in 2015-16. The Huskies are 8-3-3 on the road or in neutral site games this winter and have gone unbeaten in nine of their last 10 contests away from home.

- The Huskies lead the WCHA in scoring offense (3.00 goals per game) and are tied for third in scoring defense (2.35 goals allowed per contest), while also pacing the league with a 25.0 percent success rate on the power play (17-for-68).

- Tech has never played Connecticut or first-year NCAA Division I program Arizona State, but the Huskies do have a brief history vs. Yale. The two storied programs played three times between the 30s and 70s but haven't squared off since. Tech owns a 2-1-0 all-time record against the Bulldogs.