Weekend wrapup: Nonconference successes, a UAH first and (yet another) BG/MSU split

Three things I noticed from the weekend that was in the WCHA:1. WCHA already looks better in nonconferenceIt may be early, and it may be a small thing, but the WCHA is currently 10-14-4 against nonconference foes. Like I said, it’s still early, but consider: Last season conference teams were 17-48-5 against nonconference opponents for AN ENTIRE SEASON. They need just eight more wins to better last season’s total. It could be small, but every win will count next season to getting a possible second at-large bid. And perhaps even more encouraging is how league teams are playing against said opposition. Obviously Minnesota State got a huge sweep at Boston U last weekend, but this weekend saw some good series results against teams — Bemidji State split with No. 20 Air Force and Northern Michigan split a neutral-site series against No. 6 Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Lake Superior State managed a tie and a loss against defending national champs (and current No. 1) Denver — not the win the Lakers wanted but a solid result nonetheless. Even Ferris State, which split with Atlantic Hockey’s Mercyhurst, did well to get at least one win. Last season the odds are the Bulldogs would have been swept in that series.2. A first for Alabama HuntsvilleComing into this weekend, Alabama Huntsville had never defeated Michigan Tech in 14 meetings. The Huskies had beaten the Chargers 12 times and tied twice, but UAH had never won — ever, at all, much less in Houghton (where UAH was 0-7-1). The Chargers nearly snapped the streak Friday — they were up 4-3 midway through the third period before Tech scored twice in the final 10 minutes to win 5-4. On Saturday, UAH wouldn’t be denied. Four different Chargers scored and Jordan Uhelski stopped 41 of 43 shots to nab UAH its first-ever victory over the Huskies. UAH is 1-3-0 overall this season but they’ve already scored 11 times — a small sample-size, for sure, but an encouraging sign for a team that sported a 2.18 goals-per-game average last season (second to last in the league).3. Falcons, Mavericks split againIn what was the first conference series of the season for both teams, Bowling Green and Minnesota State shocked everyone by splitting their first series of the season. Just kidding — they shocked no one by doing this. As Shane Frederick pointed out on Saturday, since BG joined the WCHA in 2013, the two teams have split every series they’ve played but one — and that series featured two ties. On Friday, MSU dominated, winning 4-1 thanks to three power-play goals. They outshot the Falcons 34-17. On Saturday, shots were more even (29-28 BG) but the Falcons shot out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back. Lukas Craggs scored twice in the win. The teams will meet again this season on Nov. 17-18 in Mankato. Anyone want to take any bets?