What I learned about the WCHA this weekend

Three things I think I learned after this weekend’s games.

1. Here come the Huskies

Michigan Tech pulled off an impressive sweep at Ferris State, handing the eighth-ranked Bulldogs their first home losses since Oct. 18, 2013 against St. Lawrence. The last time Ferris State was swept at home was Feb. 18-19, 2011 against Notre Dame. Tech goalie Jamie Phillips out-dueled C.J. Motte, stopping 67 of 68 shots on the weekend. That has to be very encouraging for the Huskies, who lost last season’s No. 1 goalie, Pheonix Copley, to the pros with two years of eligibility remaining. Phillips played in 13 games last year, although he played in all four games against Ferris State, going 1-3. “(Phillips) battled all weekend,” Tech coach Mel Pearson said. “It’s the hardest I’ve seen him battle, and you can really see how focused he is right now.

2. Beware the Chargers

Alabama Huntsville may be 0-6, but with goalies Carmine Guerriero and Matt Larose, it seems like only a matter of time before they steal some points away from their WCHA foes. On Friday, Guerriero stopped 54 of 57 points in a 3-1 loss at No. 13 Minnesota State and kept the high-octane Mavericks scoreless for more than two periods. The next night Larose had 37 saves in a 4-1 loss in which his team was in a 1-1 tie midway through the second periods. “Our goalies are good,” Chargers coach Mike Corbett told The Free Press of Mankato, Minn., on Friday. “I don’t know what (Larose) is going to do tomorrow night, but he’s good, too. They’re going to give us a chance to win.” Each has played three games, and Guerriero has stopped 127 of 137 (.927) shots and Larose has stopped 122 of 134 (.910).

3. Shall we keep talking about goalies?

Why not. There have been some impressive performances in net so far in this young season, including this past weekend. Alaska Anchorage lost and tied at Maine, but it wasn’t because of goaltending. Freshman Oliver Mantha stopped 46 of 49 shots in Saturday’s 3-3 tie and had 83 saves in the series, which also included a 3-1 loss on Friday. Phillips, Northern Michigan’s Mathias Dahlstrom and Minnesota State’s Stephon Williams each improved to 4-0-0 with their teams’ sweeps. Dahlstrom, who stopped 50 of 52 shots in the Wildcats’ two victories at Lake Superior State, leads the WCHA with a .968 save percentage and a 0.75 goals-against average. He has two shutouts, including a 23-save blanking of the Lakers on Saturday. Williams appears to be back to his good form of two years ago after losing his starting position to eventual league goaltending champion Cole Huggins last season.