A few things that caught my eye this week in the WCHA:
1. Bemidji State, Alabama Huntsville sweep in Alaska
Much of the time, no matter how good or bad either Alaska team is, it can often be very difficult to win two games on the road in either Anchorage or Fairbanks. This is partially due to simply the length of the trip from the Lower 48 — that can drain on teams.
This weekend, however, both teams travelling from the mainland were able to win twice and earn six points. Bemidji State beat Alaska 6-2 and 3-1 in Fairbanks to stay undefeated in conference play with 24 points. Meanwhile, south in Anchorage, Alabama Huntsville did the same — winning 5-2 and 3-2 in OT to snap their eight-game winless streak.
Both series played out in similar fashions — the visitors dominated the first game on Friday before grinding out the win Saturday.
What does this tell us? Well the Beavers, we know already, are for real in the WCHA. The Chargers, though, needed this series — they had been playing OK but couldn’t win. Now they’re in third place in the conference. The Nanooks had split their previous two WCHA series, so maybe this is a blip in the radar. But as for the Seawolves? Yikes. They’re the only team in the league without a conference win (or points) and they haven’t looked very good in any of their games. They have a trip to Penn State next week. It may be another tough few weeks for the Wolves.
2. Lakers still legit
With their 5-1 win over Minnesota State on Friday night in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Lake Superior State did two things. First, the Lakers proved their lopsided goal-scoring numbers weren’t just the product of playing poor defensive teams. Second, LSSU showed it could hang with the big dogs in the conference with a fairly dominant performance against the league’s reigning co-champion.
Although the Mavericks beat the Lakers 2-1 on Saturday to earn the split, I think they proved themselves as a contender with that showing.
They’ll get another big test next weekend when they travel to fellow UP rivals Michigan Tech — the WCHA’s other defending co-champ.
3. BG finally gets some league points
Preseason league favorite Bowling Green struggled to start the season, dropping a ton of games in both the conference and out. Last week, the Falcons got their first win (but no points) with a win over instate rivals Miami. But this past weekend, BG finally earned its first WCHA win with a 4-1 win over Ferris State.
The Falcons still have just three points — the Bulldogs won the next night to earn the split — but it’s a start for a struggling squad.