Every team in the WCHA now has two games under its belt after two weekends of hockey, with both games still to be played Tuesday night by Ferris State at Mercyhurst and Bowling Green against Ohio State at the BGSU Ice Arena.
Minus those two games, here are three things I think I learned from the first full weekend of action in the WCHA.
1. Don’t count out the Seawolves this season
Alaska-Anchorage knocked off the defending Atlantic Hockey champions from Air Force and the 2012-13 NCAA Division I national runners-up in Quinnipiac to start 2-0-0 in its first season under coach Matt Thomas.
The wins also gave the Seawolves their third-straight Kendall Hockey Classic title and first 2-0 start to a season since 1996-97.
The Seawolves, who only won four games last year, took a 2-0 first-period lead against the Bobcats on Friday en route to a 3-1 victory. On Saturday, UAA rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the final 1:52 to win 4-2.
Senior Jordan Kwas finished with a hat trick on Saturday. He tied the game at 1-1 late in the second period, tied the game again at 2-2 at 18:08 of the third period and sealed the win with an empty netter with one second remaining on the clock.
UAA senior Matt Bailey, who assisted on both of Kwas’ previous two goals, recorded the game-winner with an assist from Kwas with four seconds to play in regulation.
2. Lakers depth doesn’t end in goal
The only other WCHA team to start 2-0 this season, Lake Superior State, picked up six goals from six different players to sweep Robert Morris in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. this weekend by a score of 3-1 each night.
LSSU freshman forward Alex Globke picked up his first collegiate goal on Friday and another freshman forward, Matt Johnson, earned his first collegiate goal on Saturday.
Junior forward Chris Ciotti and senior defenseman Matt Bruneteau also scored Friday, while junior forward Andrew Dommett and junior defenseman Kevin Czuczman scored on Saturday.
LSSU entered the 2013-14 season minus it’s two leading goal scorers from a year ago in seniors Domenic Monardo and Nick McParland, plus the Lakers lost two eight-goal scorers in Kellan Lain and Buddy Robinson.
It’s just one weekend, but head coach Jim Roque should be encouraged that six different guys stepped up over the weekend to fill the void left by Monardo, McParland, Lain and Robinson.
3. The WCHA will be a one-bid league with weekends like this
The WCHA posted a dismal 5-10-3 record over the weekend and combined with Ferris State’s split two weeks ago at Colgate, is 6-11-3 in nonconference play so far.
The WCHA went 4-0 against Atlantic Hockey, 2-3-1 against the ECAC, 0-2-2 against the NCHC, 0-2 against the Big Ten and 0-4 against Hockey East.
That’s not a recipe to get multiple bids to the NCAA tournament.
The WCHA went winless on the road with Northern Michigan (at Wisconsin), Minnesota State (at Providence) and Alabama-Huntsville (at Northeastern) getting swept while Bemidji State (at St. Cloud State), Michigan Tech (at Minnesota-Duluth) and Bowling Green (at Union) finished with a loss and tie.
(Note the WCHA and NCAA don’t recognize shootouts, while the NCHC and Big Ten only do in their conference standings.)
Alaska, who was on neutral ice at UAA’s Kendall Hockey Classic, split its two games, beating Air Force and losing to Quinnipiac.
The only teams to play at home this weekend, UAA and LSSU, both swept.
We’ll see if the league rebounds this weekend with Bowling Green hosting Colgate, Bemidji hosting Minnesota, Ferris hosting St. Lawrence, Minnesota State hosting UConn and Northern hosting Nebraska-Omaha.
The Nanooks also host the Brice Alaska Goal Rush, which includes the Seawolves playing a pair of neutral-ice games against the NCHC’s Western Michigan and Denver.
Michigan Tech is at Notre Dame and LSSU heads to Union.