This week in the WCHA featured a number of teams looking to build on hot starts and a trio of non-conference match-ups before conference season kicks into full gear next weekend.
In non-conference play, the WCHA went 3-2-1 or 3-1-0, depending on whether or not you want to count the “non-conference” series between Northern Michigan and Alabama-Huntsville.
In the “match-up of the week” that I highlighted on Friday, No. 17 Michigan Tech trounced No. 15 Michigan, 4-1 and 6-2, in a statement-making sweep. The Huskies have been one of college hockey’s best surprises this season and, Ivy League teams notwithstanding, are the nation’s lone remaining undefeated team (6-0-0).
Elsewhere, No. 14 Ferris State managed a split on the road against Michigan State, despite its continued offensive woes. Bulldogs senior goaltender C.J. Motte pitched a 36-save shutout in a 1-0 win on Friday, before the Spartans got its own sputtering offense going Saturday in a 4-1 FSU loss.
In the weekend’s last “non-conference” series, WCHA members Northern Michigan battled Alabama-Huntsville to a 1-1 tie on Friday, before NMU triumphed, 4-1, in the finale to remain unbeaten (5-0-1) on the year. Sophomore forward Brock Maschmeyer lit the lamp twice to lift the Wildcats to Saturday’s win and sophomore goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom continued his strong start to the season, stopping 40 shots on the weekend to remain the leagues leader in goals against average (0.82) and save percentage (.964).
In WCHA league play, Bemidji State broke its three-game losing streak with a sweep of Alaska in its conference opener. The Beavers offense exploded for a 6-1 win on Friday, before junior forward Cory Ward played hero on Saturday, scoring the overtime winner in a 4-3 BSU win.
As they have each time they’ve played as conference foes, Minnesota State and Bowling Green split their series. Led by a hat trick from junior forward Bryce Gervais, the Mavericks took the opener, 5-2, before the Falcons salvaged the split on Saturday with two third period goals in a 3-1 win.
Finally, after falling 3-2 on Friday to start the season 0-9-0 – the program’s worst start in 15 years – Lake Superior State finally got into the win column, and split with Alaska Anchorage, with a 3-2 win courtesy of an overtime goal from junior forward Bryce Schmitt.
(After the jump: My WCHA Three Stars of the Week and three thoughts on what went down)