WCHA Men's Weekend Preview
News and notes from the upcoming weekend in WCHA men's hockey
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Lake Superior State hosts its final home games of the regular season, including Saturday's Check Slash Survive (formerly Pink in the Rink) cancer fundraiser

BEMIDJI STATE at ALABAMA HUNTSVILLE

Friday, Jan. 26th | Von Braun Center | Huntsville, Alabama | 7:07 p.m. CT
Saturday, Jan. 27th | Von Braun Center | Huntsville, Alabama | 7:07 p.m. CT
Watch live on WCHA.tv

- Alabama Huntsville hosts long-time rival Bemidji State on a weekend in which the Chargers will honor the 20th anniversary of their 1997-98 Division II national champions – a team that defeated the Beavers to raise the trophy.

- UAH is home for the first time since Nov. 24-25 (a split with Ferris State), going 3-8-1 during a stretch of 12-straight road games. BSU has tied the program's D-I era conference winning streak with eight-straight WCHA wins, and is undefeated in its last 11 league contests (8-0-3).

- BSU senior goaltender Michael Bitzer is 8-1-4 with a 1.58 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in his last 13 games. In that span, which began Dec. 2, he leads the nation with eight wins and 3 shutouts. He is second in NCAA men's hockey history with 21 career shutouts, five behind all-time leader Ryan Miller.

- Beavers sophomore forward Adam Brady had a career-high three assists in a 4-1 win last Saturday at Ferris State. BSU is now 10-1-1 when he logs a point and 4-0-1 when he scores a goal.

- Huntsville native, Josh Kestner, is UAH's offensive leader with 22 points (16g-6a) and is ranked second in the WCHA for goals, first in goals per game (.62), and tied for first in power-play goals (6). He is one of the 74 nominees for the 2018 Hobey Baker Award.

- UAH senior goaltender Jordan Uhleski enters the weekend third in the WCHA with a .912 save percentage, while he is second with 608 saves.

- Since March 1, 2014, BSU is 9-1-1 against UAH, including a series sweep (3-1 and 4-1) on Dec. 29-30 at Sanford Center. The Beavers lead the all-time series, 49-30-5, but the Chargers own a 20-18-3 advantage in Huntsville.


NO. 20 NORTHERN MICHIGAN at ALASKA ANCHORAGE

Friday, Jan. 26th | Sullivan Arena | Anchorage, AK | 7:07 p.m. AT
Saturday, Jan. 27th | Sullivan Arena | Anchorage, AK | 7:07 p.m. AT
Watch live on WCHA.tv

- No. 20 Northern Michigan, which is 12th nationally with a .679 winning percentage since Dec. 1 (8-3-3) and has clinched a spot in the 2018 WCHA Playoffs, can move past idle Minnesota State and into first place in the WCHA standings with three points this weekend. Alaska Anchorage won its last game at Sullivan Arena (2-1 over UAH on Jan. 13), and returns home after being swept last weekend at Bowling Green.

- With help from a five-game scoring streak (1g-7a=8pts), junior forward Adam Rockwood – a first-year Wildcat – is now tied for the NCAA lead with a WCHA-best 23 assists.

- Northern Michigan senior forward, co-captain and Hobey Baker Award nominee Robbie Payne leads the Wildcats and is tied for third in the nation with 17 goals this season. Sophomore forward Darien Craighead has scored a WCHA-best 11 of his 15 goals since Dec. 1, the second-most nationally in that span.

- UAA senior goaltender Oliver Mantha is currently a candidate for the Hobey Baker Award as well, and holds the record for career saves at UAA with 3,255.

- Anchorage native Alec Butcher, who transferred to UAA from Sacred Heart, scored his first goal as a Seawolf last Saturday at Bowling Green.

- Northern Michigan, which split in Fairbanks back on Nov. 17-18, is in Anchorage for the first time since December 2016. The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 20-12-1; but, the Seawolves are 9-6-0 on home ice.


MICHIGAN TECH at FERRIS STATE

Friday, Jan. 26th | Ewigleben Arena | Big Rapids, MI | 7:07 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 27th | Ewigleben Arena | Big Rapids, MI | 7:07 p.m. ET
Watch live on WCHA.tv

- Ferris State hosts Michigan Tech for the first time since October 2015.

- Tech is coming off a sweep of Alaska and has the nation's 14th-best winning percentage since Dec. 1 at .650 (6-3-1). Ferris State was swept at home by Bemidji State and have dropped nine of its last 10 contests.

- The Huskies showed their depth against the Nanooks, receiving multi-point weekends from Mark Auk, Thomas Berretta, Raymond Brice, Mitch Meek and Dylan Steman.

- Junior goaltender Devin Kero, who came into the season without a collegiate win, has gone 3-1-0 while starting Tech's last four games.

- Ferris State junior defenseman Ryker Killins has set career highs in goals (6), assists (9), and points (15).

- Bulldogs junior goaltender Darren Smith has a .940 save percentage in three starts since Jan. 12, ranking second in the WCHA over the last two weeks. He also has a shutout in that span.

- Tech leads the all-time series, 16-13-1. However, Ferris State owns a slight 7-6-0 advantage in games played in Big Rapids, Mich.


NO. 15 BOWLING GREEN at LAKE SUPERIOR STATE

Friday, Jan. 26th | | Taffy Abel Arena | Sault Ste. Marie, MI | 7:07 p.m. ET
Saturday, Jan. 27th | | Taffy Abel Arena | Sault Ste. Marie, MI | 7:07 p.m. ET
Watch live on WCHA.tv

- Lake Superior State hosts its final home games of the regular season, including Saturday's Check Slash Survive (formerly Pink in the Rink) cancer fundraiser.

- The Lakers are looking to get back on track after dropping five of their last six contests (including a pair of one-goal decisions last weekend at Northern Michigan). No. 15 Bowling Green, which swept UAA last weekend, is tied for 10th nationally with a .692 winning percentage since Dec. 1 (8-3-2).

- BGSU's Brandon Kruse, who jumped from 36th to 16th in the nation for freshman points per game for his four-point effort last weekend (1g-3a), became the fifth Falcon to earn WCHA Rookie of the Week accolades (joining Cameron Wright, Eric Dop, Max Johnson and Connor Ford).

- BGSU senior forward Mitch McLain has a seven-game point streak (4g-5a=9pts), while sophomore Alec Rauhauser ranks second nationally among defensemen with 1.00 points per game (6-22—28 in 26 games).

- LSSU continues to be led by senior forward J.T. Henke, who has tallied 24 points with seven goals and seven assists.

- Sophomore forward Max Humitz leads the Lakers and ranks ninth in the WCHA with 11 goals.

- Bowling Green took five of six WCHA points when the teams met Nov. 10-11 in Ohio. The Falcons won the shootout following a 2-2 tie Friday, then posted a 5-2 win Saturday (Stephen Baylis and McLain both scored short-handed goals in that game). BGSU leads the all-time series 82-73-13, while the last five years have seen the Falcons post a 6-5-1 record against the Lakers.


U.S. UNDER-18 TEAM at NO. 7/8 MINNESOTA STATE (EXHIBITION)

Saturday, Jan. 27th | Verizon Center | Mankato, MN | 7:07 p.m. CT
Watch live on WCHA.tv

- No. 7/8 Minnesota State will take a break from collegiate competition, hosting the U.S. Under-18 Team in an exhibition contest Saturday night.

- The Mavericks have one official game under their belt this week, posting a 1-0 shutout victory Tuesday night over No. 9/13 Minnesota Duluth.

- Minnesota State has won 10 of its last 12 games and is tied for second in the NCAA with an .833 winning percentage since Dec. 1. Overall, the Mavericks are tied for the NCAA lead with 19 wins (19-7-0).

- MSU also ranks among the national leaders in: power-play goals scored (first with 33), power-play percentage (second at .270, 33-for-122), fewest shots allowed per game (first at 22.35), shot margin (first at +281), goals scored (second with 97) and penalty-kill percentage (eighth at .862, 100-for-116).