Three things I think I learned from the weekend that was in the WCHA:
1. Nanooks are dangerous
Alaska gave No. 2 Minnesota State all it could handle and more over the weekend, splitting a series in Mankato. The Nanooks are good. Tyler Morley and Colton Parayko are legit all-league players. Freshman Austin Vieth is a solid rookie, who scored in OT on Friday. It’s too bad they won’t be able to compete in the postseason due to the NCAA sanctions that came down last month. Minnesota State, I’ll bet, is one team that’s glad it doesn’t face the prospect of Alaska coming back to town (or having to go to Fairbanks) for the playoffs. It was a tough matchup for the Mavericks. Alaska will be in spoiler mode for the second half of the season.
2. Falcons keep flying
Anyone who doubts the potency of Bowling Green anymore isn’t paying attention. The Falcons went on the road to Northern Michigan, which was the best defensive team in the country (allowing a measly 1.17 goals per game going into the weekend) and hung up 10 goals in the two games, five each night. The first game ended in a 5-5 tie, and the second was a 5-0 victory on a Chris Nell shutout. Wildcats goalie Mathias Dahlström appears to have come back to earth a bit, but Bowling Green came at him in waves, with six different players scoring goals in the series.
3. Upset opportunity fizzles
There was some early intrigue in Grand Forks, N.D., on Friday night when Lake Superior State went up 3-0 and 4-1 on No. 1 North Dakota. The Lakers, who were shut out in back-to-back home games a week earlier against Minnesota State, were trying to pull off a shocking upset — or at least continue a three-week trend of being the team that knocks No. 1 off its perch. In the end, order was restored, and UND won 7-4 and 3-1. Can the Lakers, who have lost six of seven, gain some confidence from their experience? They go to Ferris State next weekend. The Lakers are in a four-way tie for sixth place with Alaska as well as Alaska Anchorage and Bemidji State, who tied twice in their series in Anchorage.