WCHA Week 10: Back To League Play
Bowling Green and Bemidji State meet in rematch of 2017 WCHA Playoff semifinals; Northern Michigan hosts Alabama Huntsville and Ferris State welcomes Alaska Anchorage, while Alaska visits Lake Superior State
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Bowling Green and Bemidji State meet in rematch of 2017 WCHA Playoff semifinals

Opening Face-Off

- Mavericks Set the Pace: Minnesota State, which sits atop the standings in the Men's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), is eighth in this week's USCHO.com poll and 11th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings. Bemidji State and Bowling Green received votes in the USCHO.com ledger.

- United We Charge: UAH went 4-3-1 in November, the Chargers' first winning month with more than six games played since February 2006 (6-2-0). The program's five other months of at least .500 hockey since then were: March 2007 (4-1-1), December 2009 (1-0-1), February 2010 (3-3-0), January 2015 (4-4-0) and October 2015 (3-2-1).

  • UAH's .562 winning percentage in November tied for 15th-best nationally (tied for second in the WCHA), while the Chargers were also 15th by averaging 3.25 goals per game (third WCHA).
  • Huntsville native Josh Kestner and fellow senior Brennan Saulnier each had five goals and two assists apiece over eight games, while junior Tyler Poulsen led the WCHA with seven assists.

- A November to Remember for Maloney: Ferris State senior forward Mitch Maloney put together the best month of his collegiate career, tying for the national lead with nine goals in November -- including a NCAA-best eight even-strength markers.

  • The Macomb, Mich. native lit the lamp in seven of the Bulldogs' eight games, including a natural hat trick in a 6-2 win Nov. 24 at Alabama Huntsville.
  • Maloney is now tied with Northern Michigan's Robbie Payne for the overall WCHA lead with 12 goals this season, good for third-most nationally. The 12 goals match Maloney's single-season career high, with 20 games remaining on Ferris State's regular season schedule.

- Welcome to the WCHA: Rookies continue to make an impact in their inaugural WCHA season, with three ranking among the top-20 nationally for freshman scoring.

  • Bowling Green's Cameron Wright has 15 points (5g-10a) in his first 15 collegiate contests, tying for third in the NCAA rookie scoring race at 1.00 points per game. Minnesota State's Jake Jaremko (3-10=13) is tied for seventh at 0.93 and BGSU's Max Johnson (3-8=11) is tied for 20th at 0.73
  • Bowling Green's freshman class has combined for 43 points this season (13g-30a), good for third-best nationally among rookie groups. Minnesota State ranks eighth with 27 points (10g-27a) from its first-year players.

- Hats Off: With another one last weekend, WCHA players have combined for six hat tricks this season, matching ECAC skaters for the second-most nationally (Hockey East has produced eight, three-goal efforts).

  • Minnesota State's Marc Michaelis and Max Coatta each have hat tricks, as do Alabama Huntsville's Christian Rajic, Bemidji State's Jay Dickman, Ferris State's Mitch Maloney and Northern Michigan's Robbie Payne.

By the Numbers

- 2: Assists for Zach Whitecloud in Bemidji State's 5-3 win at Princeton on Nov. 22, the sophomore defenseman's first collegiate game since Nov. 4. He competed with Team Canada at the 2017 Karjala Cup, held Nov. 8-12 in Switzerland and Finland.

- 6: UAH players with a positive plus/minus rating through two months of the 2017-18 season, after the Chargers finished the 2016-17 campaign with only two such skaters.


The Week Ahead

- Back to League Games: After a heavy load of nonconference games last week, Dec. 1-2 features four WCHA series. Bemidji State visits Bowling Green, hoping to exact a small measure of revenge after the Falcons swept the host Beavers in the semifinal round of the 2017 WCHA Playoffs. Alabama Huntsville begins a stretch of 12-straight league road games with a series at Northern Michigan. Both Alaska schools are in Michigan, as the Seawolves visit Ferris State and the Nanooks are at Lake Superior State.


The Week in Review

- Both teams used offensive outbursts to earn victories, as Alabama Huntsville wrapped up a six-game homestand by splitting with Ferris State.

- Michigan Tech wrapped up a two-week stay in Alaska with its first WCHA sweep of the season, scoring 10 goals in two victories over the Nanooks.

- Bemidji State spent Thanksgiving in New Jersey, earning a 5-3 win at Princeton on Wednesday before dropping a 4-1 decision Friday night.

- Ohio rivals squared off in Bowling Green, but visiting Miami got the upper hand with a win and tie over the Falcons.

- Minnesota State outshot Minnesota Duluth by a 34-26 margin, but fell to the host Bulldogs 3-1 in a nonconference game. The teams will meet for a second time Jan. 23, but in Mankato.

- Northern Michigan suffered its first sweep of the season, dropping a pair of games at Omaha.

- Lake Superior State hosted the next generation of America's top hockey talent and blanked the U.S. Under-18 Team, 6-0, in an exhibition contest.

- Full recaps and box scores, along with the "Inside the WCHA" highlights show, are available at wcha.com.


Ferris State 6, at Alabama Huntsville 2
at Alabama Huntsville 5, Ferris State 3
(Nov. 24 and 25 at Von Braun Center; Huntsville, Alabama)

Both teams used offensive outbursts to earn victories, as Alabama Huntsville wrapped up a six-game homestand by splitting with Ferris State.

The host Chargers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 9:13 of Friday's series opener, but the Bulldogs scored six unanswered goals to win, 6-2. Ferris State forward Mitch Maloney tallied four points on a second-period assist and a natural hat trick in the third. Tyler Dorantes had his first career "playmaker" by assisting on three consecutive Ferris State goals: Liam MacDougall's first collegiate marker, Jasen Fernsler's first as a Bulldog and Corey Mackin's game-winner.

It was UAH's turn to rally in Saturday's series finale. Ferris State scored twice in the final three minutes of the second period -- including another goal from Maloney -- to take a 3-2 lead into the third, but the Chargers lit the lamp three times in the final 20 minutes to win, 5-3. Brandon Salerno's second goal of the game (and of the season, after being held scoreless in his first 11 contests) was the tie-breaking, game-winner. Josh Kestner had two points (1g-1a) for UAH, while goaltender Jordan Uhleski made 32 saves.


Michigan Tech 5, at Alaska 4 - OT
Michigan Tech 5, at Alaska 1
(Nov. 24 and 25 at Carlson Center; Fairbanks, Alaska)

Michigan Tech wrapped up a two-week stay in Alaska with its first WCHA sweep of the season, scoring 10 goals in two victories over the Nanooks.

Jake Lucchini scored with 58 seconds remaining in overtime Friday night, giving the Huskies a 5-4 win and capping the Tech's comeback from a 3-0, second-period deficit. Alex Smith, Brent Baltus and Mark Auk all scored during a three-goal second period for Tech, while Mitch Reinke briefly put the Huskies ahead, 4-3 in the third period. Kylar Hope's goal at 4:47 of the final stanza forced OT for UAF.

Tech cruised to a 5-1 win Saturday, finishing the sweep in Fairbanks. San Jose Sharks prospect Jake Jackson scored twice in the second period, while Huskies goaltender Patrick Munson made 34 saves (including 18 in the first period, when Tech took a 2-0 lead). Munson's 73 stops on the weekend led all WCHA netminders.


Bemidji State 5, at Princeton 3
at Princeton 4, Bemidji State 1
(Nov. 22 and 24 at Hobey Baker Memorial Rink; Princeton, N.J.)

Bemidji State spent Thanksgiving in New Jersey, earning a 5-3 win at Princeton on Wednesday before dropping a 4-1 decision Friday night.

Senior Jordan Heller and freshman Charlie Combs each scored twice to lead the Beavers to a 5-3 win in the series opener. Heller netted both his goals in the first period, while Combs tallied one in the first stanza and another in the second (which stood as the eventual game-winner, the first of his career). Gerry Fitzgerald also scored for BSU, while goaltender Michael Bitzer made 27 saves.

Bemidji State's Jay Dickman found the back of the net just 17 seconds into Friday's contest, but Princeton scored the game's final four goals to win, 4-1. Freshman Jack Burgart made his collegiate debut in the BSU net and finished with 36 saves.


Miami 6, at Bowling Green 3
at Bowling Green 2, Miami 2 - OT
(Nov. 24 and 25 at Slater Family Ice Arena; Bowling Green, Ohio)

Ohio rivals squared off in Bowling Green, but visiting Miami got the upper hand with a win and tie over the Falcons.

BGSU twice overcame deficits Friday night, including climbing out of a two-goal hole, but the RedHawks scored the game's final three goals for a 6-3 win. Playing for the first time since Oct. 21 due to injury, Tyler Spezia tied the game, 3-3, late in the second period with his first goal of the season.

Alec Rauhauser scored the tying goal with 38 seconds left in regulation Saturday as Bowling Green rallied for a 2-2 draw. The Falcons' first goal was scored by freshman Brandon Kruse on a penalty shot -- the first for BGSU since March 6, 2015 (Brandon Hawkins vs. Alabama Huntsville). Goaltender Ryan Bednard made 23 saves for BGSU, including four in overtime. The teams played a 3-on-3 extra session, during which Spezia scored.


at No. 16/15 Minnesota Duluth 3, No. 8 Minnesota State 1
(Nov. 25 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)

Minnesota State outshot Minnesota Duluth by a 34-26 margin, but fell to the host Bulldogs 3-1 in a nonconference game. The teams will meet for a second time Jan. 23, but in Mankato.

UMD scored twice in the first period and added an insurance marker late in the third. Ian Scheid scored in the second period for the No. 8 Mavericks, who owned a 13-6 shots advantage in the final stanza, but could not score.


at Omaha 4, Northern Michigan 3
at Omaha 4, Northern Michigan 1
(Nov. 24 and 25 at Baxter Arena; Omaha, Neb.)

Northern Michigan suffered its first sweep of the season, dropping a pair of games at Omaha.

Trailing 4-2 entering the third period Friday, the Wildcats outshot the host Mavericks 14-2, scored once on a Zach Diamantoni goal and nearly had the equalizer, but Omaha held on for the 4-3 win. Philip Beaulieu and Joseph Nardi also scored for NMU.

Beaulieu lit the lamp for the second-straight night Saturday, but by the time he scored late in the second period, Omaha had already tallied four goals en route to the 4-1 victory.


at Lake Superior State 6, U.S. Under-18 Team 0 (Exhibition)
(Nov. 25 at Taffy Abel Arena; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)

Lake Superior State hosted the next generation of America's top hockey talent and blanked the U.S. Under-18 Team, 6-0, in an exhibition contest.

Freshman goaltender Mareks Mitens made 24 saves in the shutout, while Gage Torrel and Anthony Nellis each scored two goals apiece.