WCHA Week 3: Quest For The MacNaughton Cup Gets Underway
FERRIS STATE HOSTS NORTHERN MICHIGAN AND LAKE SUPERIOR STATE WELCOMES MICHIGAN TECH IN FIRST LEAGUE GAMES OF THE SEASON; FIVE NONCONFERENCE SERIES ALSO ON TAP
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Ferris State hosts Northern Michigan in WCHA action this weekend

Opening Face-Off

- Ice Breaker Champs: Facing two ranked opponents in a hostile environment, in the season's first full weekend with a new (to the program) goaltender, a first-year head coach and a handful of younger defensemen? Not a problem for Michigan Tech, which defeated then-No. 16 Union (6-3) on Friday, and host and No. 6/12 Minnesota Duluth (4-3) on Saturday to win the 2017 Ice Breaker Tournament at AMSOIL Arena.

  • The now-No. 15/13 Huskies received four points (2g-2a) from senior defenseman and Tournament MVP Mark Auk. Fellow senior Joel L'Esperance scored twice Friday against the Dutchmen to earn a spot on the All-Tournament Team, while freshman Justin Misiak's first collegiate goal was the tie-breaking, game-winner in the Championship Game.
  • Junior transfer Patrick Munson was in net both games, making 35 saves Friday and 33 stops in Saturday's title contest.

- Early Nonconference Tests: Eleven (11) of the WCHA's first 12 nonconference games have come against teams that were ranked in either the USCHO and/or USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls at the time of puck drop, while the lone exception came against a squad that had been 20th the weekend prior.

  • WCHA teams have recorded victories against then-No. 6/12 Minnesota Duluth (Michigan Tech), then-No. 16 Union (Michigan Tech) and then-No. 20 Western Michigan (Ferris State), while earning ties against then-No. 7 North Dakota (Alaska Anchorage) and then-No. 17 Air Force (Alaska).
  • The trend continues this weekend, with a series at No. 2 Boston University (Minnesota State), a home-and-home with No. 5/9 Minnesota Duluth (Bemidji State) and two games at No. 6/4 St. Cloud State (Alaska).

- Among the Best: Four (4) of the nation's top-20 winningest teams since 2013-14 play in the WCHA -- matching the NCHC for the second-highest representation among that upper-third of any conference since realignment.

  • Minnesota State is tied for sixth nationally over the last four seasons with 98 wins, Michigan Tech ranks ninth with 91, Bowling Green is 17th with 84 and Ferris State is 18th with 81 victories.

By the Numbers

- 1: Last weekend marked the first NCAA Division I wins as head coaches for Michigan Tech's Joe Shawhan and Northern Michigan's Grant Potulny. Shawhan and the Huskies won a pair of games to take home the Ice Breaker championship, while Potulny and the Wildcats earned a 4-1 victory over Lake Superior State last Saturday night.

- 74: NCAA-leading saves total last weekend for Alaska Anchorage senior Olivier Mantha, who backstopped the Seawolves to a tie and OT loss to then-No. 7 North Dakota. Mantha finished with a .949 save pct. and 1.90 GAA in 126:21 in net.

- 1,130: Career saves as a Lake Superior State goaltender for current Michigan Tech head coach Joe Shawhan between 1982-87. The Huskies travel to Sault Ste. Marie for a series with the Lakers this weekend.

- 5,406: Attendance for the Minnesota State vs. St. Cloud State game Saturday night, the second-largest crowd ever to witness a Maverick men's hockey game at Verizon Center.


The Week Ahead

- WCHA Openers: The quest for the fabled MacNaughton Cup begins with the first WCHA games of the season. Ferris State hosts Northern Michigan, while Lake Superior State welcomes No. 15/13 Michigan Tech for the Great Lake State Weekend.

- Nonconference Play: Another tough slate awaits WCHA team. In addition to the matchups against ranked opponents listed above, Alaska Anchorage visits Colorado College and Bowling Green has a home-and-home with Michigan State.