What I think I learned about the WCHA last weekend

A couple things I may or may not have learned during a weird weekend in the WCHA:

Ferris finds its scoring touch

After scoring just 11 goals through nine games nearly matched that in their series opener against Alaska-Anchorage. Maybe it was just the odd (for the WCHA) Thursday night game catching the road-weary Seawolves off guard, but the Bulldogs pounded Anchorage 10-2. By the time the weekend was over Friday night, Ferris had scored four more goals and won 4-0.

It’s the kind of offensive explosion the Bulldogs, now 6-5-0 overall and 3-3-0 in the conference, needed if they want to get back on track and defend their MacNaughton Cup title. Goaltender CJ Motte started the season as a legitimate Hobey Baker frontrunner, but he can’t win games by himself — he definitely needs his teammates to start scoring if they’re going to make a Frozen Four run.

Huskies off to best start ever

Undefeated Michigan Tech is already  the talk of the college hockey world. Now, the 10-0-0 Huskies are in the midst of to the best start in the school’s 94-year hockey history. That’s a lot of hockey history, so to be this good for this long at the beginning of the season is pretty significant. With their 2-1 win over Bemidji State Friday night, the Huskies moved to 9-0, which got them the record. Any subsequent win is gravy.

One sign of Michigan Tech’s staying power: During Saturday night’s game — a 4-2 comeback victory — the Huskies trailed for the first time since their Oct. 4 opener at Lake Superior State. In both games, Tech was badly outshot and outplayed but still found a way to win.

That streak might be in danger this weekend, though — the marquee matchup in the WCHA, if not all off college hockey, finds the Huskies hosting Minnesota State. The Huskies and the Mavs are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively in the early-season USCHO Pairwise rankings.

Those rankings obviously need to be taken with a grain of salt (every team hasn’t played enough games for them to be 100%  accurate). But would anyone have guessed those two teams would be at the top of the heap more than a quarter into the season?

Splitsville for Chargers & Lakers, Falcons

Three other teams were active this past weekend, and all went 1-1.

Alabama-Huntsville hosted Lake Superior State in Huntsville, and the teams split with a pair of wildly entertaining games. The Lakers won 1-0 Friday night, while the Chargers won 5-2 Saturday night. Saturday’s game was Huntsville’s first win at home against a Division I team since Jan. 8, 2011.

It might be true that the Lakers are significantly worse this year than they were last season (they lost a lot of pieces from a decent team in 2013-14), but as I wrote last week, the Chargers are a much-improved team as well. They’re starting to look like a Division I team again, which was difficult in the years that they wandered in the Independent desert. Neither the Chargers and the Lakers are great teams, but both have a legitimate spot at a WCHA playoff spot since Alaska is ineligible this season. The Lakers have two WCHA wins and four points, tied with Bemidji State for sixth in the standings, while the Chargers have just one conference win and two points (their tie against Northern Michigan wasn’t a league game) and are tied for Anchorage for eighth in the league table.

Meanwhile, No. 19 Bowling Green split a home-and-home series with instate rivals Ohio State. Each team won 3-2 games in the other teams’ rinks. The Buckeyes won in Bowling Green Friday while the Falcons won in Columbus Saturday. The Falcons (8-3-1) also split their home-and-home series earlier this season against another instate rival (Miami), both by 3-2 scores.

Bowling Green, tied for second in the WCHA standings with Minnesota State with 10 points, returns to conference play this weekend hosting Bemidji State.

71 COMMENTS

  1. So, let’s hear that complaint one more time why a 4 or 5-bid conference can’t, doesn’t, or won’t be able to have at least one team in every regional final. It’s conspiracy, man!

    • I emailed the AD at Wayne State and asked if they were looking at addng D1 hockey again and the answer Hell No none of the other schools and conference want them

  2. I may be missing something, but…don’t Michigan and Minnesota BOTH make it in this week?

    The Gophers are now in the top 16 for pairwise. But (as Cody Kendera already mentioned), Michigan is still the B10 league leader according to league rules. So…don’t they both get in?

    What am I missing?

    Yes, the Gophers have the better winning percentage, but according to B10 rules, Michigan would be first because the FIRST tie breaker is number of WINS, NOT winning percentage. Michigan has 8. Minny, 7.

    Looks like this bracket is already busted.

    • Moy says pretty clearly that he is using winning % as the tie breaker for all conferences for the bracketology. It doesn’t really matter what the conference tiebreak rules are anyway, since its the tournament winner actually gets the birth. It if makes you feels better, think of it this way: he’s assuming the team with the best winning % will win the conference tournament.

      • Ahhhhhhhhh…ooops. Never mind. Total Brain fart. I was thinking the league champ got an autobid (as they did for about 8 years – after the ’94 Colorado College fiasco) instead of only the league tournament winners.

        (That’s what I get for posting past my bedtime.)

  3. If the scenario of teams plays out as expected, I’d love to see whether the committee considers that for the placement of Boston U, Providence is on the Commuter Line from downtown Boston, where as Manchester would have to be a drive (a long one in this weather). I’d imagine I’d want Providence if I was BU.

  4. I don’t like the idea of having a lower seed such as Providence getting to basically play at home against higher seeds. Where’s the reward for Miami, BU of UNO having better seasons? Yeah, they get to travel and play a lower seed on their home ice.

  5. And you think you need Minnesota in Fargo to sell more tickets? That place will be full of North Dakota fans even if Alabama-Huntsville, Iowa and Northern Arizona are there.

  6. This is a perfect scenario! MN sneaks into the tournament and gets ND in the first round in a rematch of last years fantastic final four semi. What’s not to like about that?

  7. If this would hold true just think of how small the crowd would be for the championship game in the Northeast Regional if Omaha and Minnesota Duluth played in it.

      • When was the last time these so called great North Dakota teams won the tourney? Oh wait that was 15 years ago and they haven’t been back to the final since 05. I’d take any other MN team in the field over ND this year. Have fun not winning it again this year.

  8. WOW. Interesting weekend. Look at this weeks brackets (with moves);
    In Prov;
    Miami vs Bowling Green
    Mich Tect vs Prov.

    In Manchester;
    UMD vs Yale
    BU vs Quinn

    South Bend;
    MSUM vs St Cloud
    UNO vs BC

    In Fargo;
    UND vs Robert Morris
    DU vs Minn

    This could get dicey with 6 NCHC teams.

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