This Week in the WCHA: Nov. 1, 2007

Baby Steps

If we’re going by factual errors, I only had one last week — I mistakenly had Kyle Turris as a potential first-round draft pick when, in fact, he already was drafted. Oops. If we want to get technical about things, I was half-right — he was a first-round pick as in a third-overall type of first-round pick.

Thanks to Dwayne and Fan Forum poster icebadger for pointing that one out.

Red Baron Pizza WCHA Players of the Week

North Dakota’s T.J. Oshie was designated Red Baron WCHA (RBW) Offensive Player of the Week (PotW) for his hat trick Saturday night against Michigan Tech. Oshie also had 11 shots and a +1 rating during the weekend. Denver’s Tyler Ruegsegger and Minnesota’s Justin Bostrom were also nominated.

Minnesota State’s Mike Zacharias was the RBW Defensive PotW for stopping 52 of 54 shots to aid his Mavericks to a win and a tie over Alaska-Anchorage last weekend. The junior also earned his second career shutout on Saturday. Other players nominated were Tech’s Michael-Lee Teslak, the Sioux’s Jean-Philippe Lamoureux and St. Cloud’s Jase Weslosky.

Garrett Roe’s five points against Bemidji earned him RBW Rookie of the Week honors. The St. Cloud State forward had four points (2g, 2a) on Saturday and a tally on Friday as well as six shots on goal. Denver’s Tyler Bozak, Tech’s Bennett Royer, the Gophers’ Alex Kangas and Duluth’s Justin Fontaine were also nominated for the honor.

Keeping Up with the Pros: Wave Goodbye, Everybody! Edition

The people (all four of them who voted) were split on whether to keep this section or make it a monthly deal. Since I ultimately have control over what goes into this, I’m going to do a monthly update on the leading former WCHAer in each of the “main” pro leagues — NHL, AHL, ECHL, IHL and CHL.

Is that a fair compromise? If it isn’t, I suspect I’ll be hearing from someone any way …

NHL: Paul Stastny, Denver — 5-10-15, 15th overall.
AHL: Toby Petersen, Colorado College — 4-9-13, 3rd overall.
ECHL: Travis Morin, Minnesota State — 6-5-11, 2nd overall.
IHL: Cory Laylin, Minnesota — 3-1-4 and Tab Lardner, MTU — 1-3-4, t-8th overall.
CHL: Alex Leavitt, Wisconsin — 4-7-11, t-4th overall.

Also, for those of you who wondered why or how I missed a few players two weeks ago? The WCHA Yearbook came out this past weekend and it lists all former WCHA’ers in the National Hockey League. Last season alone, there were 95 WCHA alumni on NHL team player personnel lists. If we go back in the annals of history, we find that the total number of WCHAers in the NHL is a whopping 383.

Now you can see why I may have missed a player or two. That number itself may be off by one or two — there are so many players that the Yearbook had to use some tiny print.

While I don’t have the comparable numbers for this past season for any of the other conferences, I was going to compare the numbers of NHL alumni for 2005-06 between Hockey East (164) and the WCHA (366) since I have last year’s Yearbooks for both conferences. However, I realized that technically wasn’t fair since Hockey East is half as old as the WCHA. Former Terrier Jim Craig played in the NHL, but isn’t listed since Boston University was part of the ECAC in those days.

Hopefully at some point during the season I’ll be able to track down a CCHA Yearbook to compare the numbers that way to continue to prove that “Best Conference” tag.

Reader Mailbag

Geez, after all of you were so anxious to fire off some e-mails to me last week, I barely received anything this week. Check that — hardly anything except some people who had to rub it in about Tech’s 3-1 victory over the Sioux which I obviously didn’t predict. See the prediction sidebar for my thoughts on that.

Matchups By the Numbers

Voilà, mini series previews, just for you, the readers. Before you start clicking that “E-mail WCHA Writer” link down there at the bottom, this is a start. These may disappear completely or, more than likely, get more detailed as the season goes on. The goaltender stats may also not be the goaltender who has played the most games — that will undoubtedly change next time around.

No. 9 Colorado College at No. 2 North Dakota

Both teams fell in the polls this week — CC five spots and UND one — but of course, who cares about polls this early? The Tigers slipped thanks to a sweep at the hands of New Hampshire while the Fighting Sioux split with No. 13 Michigan Tech. Though both teams earned a victory in Grand Forks last season, the Sioux hold a 5-3-2 advantage over the Tigers at the new Ralph, a 77-18-5 overall advantage in Grand Forks and lead the overall series 127-73-9. However, CC holds the recent edge, going 11-5-2 in the last 18 games.

Top Scorers: CC — Jack Hillen (1-4-5). UND — Taylor Chorney (0-6-6).
Top Goaltenders: CC — Richard Bachman (3 gp, 2-1, 1.65 GAA, .943 sv%). UND — J-P Lamoureux (5 gp, 3-1-1, 0.43 GAA, .983 sv%).

No. 7 Denver at No. 8 Minnesota

Denver dropped one spot this week after a split with the Bulldogs, while Minnesota’s sweep of Ohio State earned it a two-spot jump. Looking at the all-time series, Minnesota holds the edge — 92-59-11 overall, 51-21-6 in Minnesota and 6-3-1 against the Pioneers in the last 10 games. The two teams did split at Mariucci Arena last season, though.

Top Scorers: DU — Brock Trotter (3-2-5) and Tyler Ruegsegger (2-3-5). UMN — Blake Wheeler (3-2-5).
Top Goaltenders: DU — Peter Mannino (6 gp, 4-2, 1.69 GAA, .922 sv%). UMN — Alex Kangas (1 gp, 1-0, 1.00 GAA, .970 sv%).

Alaska-Anchorage @ No. 19 St. Cloud State

The Seawolves dropped out of the polls this week — from 20th to third in the “receiving votes” category after tying and losing to Minnesota State. On the other side of the puck, St. Cloud State moved from fourth in “receiving votes” to 19th after a sweep of unranked Bemidji State. The Huskies lead the overall series 39-12-4, the series in St. Cloud 28-3-2 and have had the advantage over the last 10 games 7-3-0, winning the last four (all in St. Cloud). Moreover, the Seawolves have not yet won at the National Hockey Center, which opened in December 1989 (0-26-2).

Top Scorers: UAA — Josh Lunden (5-4-9). SCSU — Garrett Roe (5-5-10).
Top Goaltenders: UAA — Jon Olthuis (5 gp, 2-1-2, 2.53 GAA, .884 sv%). SCSU — Dan Dunn (1 gp, 1-0, 1.00 GAA, .972 sv%).

No. 13 Michigan Tech at No. 10 Wisconsin

Michigan Tech’s split with North Dakota bumped the Huskies up one spot while the Badgers moved up a spot despite their bye week. The Badgers lead the overall series 86-43-7 and have a 53-16-4 over the Huskies at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin also took last season’s series 3-2, but it came down to a meeting in the WCHA Final Five to do so. This is also Wisconsin’s WCHA opener and 10th opener against the Huskies.

Top Scorers: MTU — Malcolm Gwilliam (2-4-6). UW — Kyle Turris (5-7-12).
Top Goaltenders: MTU — Michael-Lee Teslak (4 gp, 2-1, 1.20 GAA, .948 sv%). UW — Scott Gudmandson (1 gp, 1-0, 2.01 GAA, .926 sv%).

Minnesota State @ Alabama-Huntsville

Neither team was ranked or received votes and it stays the same this week, though a reader did think the Mavericks should have least gotten a vote since they went 1-0-1 against the Seawolves (still receiving votes). The Chargers lead the overall series 19-13-4 and lead the Mavericks 13-7 at the Von Braun Center. However, Minnesota State has a slight edge in the last 10 games with a 5-2-3 record.

Top Scorers: MSU-M — Trevor Bruess (1-2-3). UAH — Josh Murray (3-1-4) and Tom Train (1-3-4).
Top Goaltenders: MSU-M — Mike Zacharias (4 gp, 1-1-1, 1.87 GAA, .933 sv%). UAH — Blake MacNicol (2 gp, 1-1, 3.51 GAA, .873 sv%).

No. 15 Minnesota-Duluth

The Bulldogs get a weekend off, after rising two spots in the polls thanks to a split against then-No. 6 Denver.

Top Scorer: MacGregor Sharp (2-3-5).
Top Goaltender: Alex Stalock (6 gp, 4-1-1, 1.64 GAA, .937 sv%).