What I think I learned about the WCHA this weekend …
Zach Lehrke, the missing cog?
Minnesota State senior forward Zach Lehrke has six points in four games since coming out of retirement to rejoin Minnesota State. His five assists all have come on power-play goals. Consider this: In 10 games without Lehrke around, the Mavericks’ power play had scored just four goals and was clicking at a feeble 9 percent. In the last four games, Minnesota State has nine power-play goals, including a 5-for-6 performance on Saturday against Alaska-Anchorage. The power play is now over 19 percent. And, oh by the way, the preseason favorite is heating up a bit, winning three WCHA games in a row and four of its last five conference games.
Michigan Tech came out of its 11-day Alaska trip in good shape, sweeping Alaska on Friday and Saturday. The wins were the first two road victories for the Huskies this season. They were 0-7-2 away from Houghton before that, including a loss and tie at Alaska-Anchorage the previous weekend. Taking five of eight points on that grind of a trip? Probably couldn’t ask for much more than that, considering the road record. And that’s been a tough road, with games at Minnesota-Duluth, Notre Dame and Michigan. Now Michigan Tech goes home for back-to-back conference series, hosting Bemidji State and Bowling Green. The Huskies are 4-1-0 at home. Look out for Tech.
After getting swept at Lake Superior State, Bowling Green has just one win in its last seven games. Four of the Falcons’ five losses in that stretch have been one-goal games – all five if you consider the empty-net goal in Ferris State’s 4-2 victory over them. Bowling Green has played four overtime games in that stretch (six already for the season), going 1-2-1 in those games. Meanwhile, Lake Superior won two games in a row for the first time since Oct. 18-19 when it swept Union.