I exaggerate for effect. Yes, teams actually played this weekend, but only about half of the WCHA falls into this category. On top of BG, you had Alaska-Anchorage, Ferris State, Lake Superior and Minnesota State all taking the weekend off. AND, one of the series’ this weekend was Bemidji vs. Huntsville. That barely counts as actual games.
So half the league took a weekend vacation and the two worst teams duked it out for basement supremacy. Exciting, right? Well the lack of action makes my job easier since I don’t have to since I don’t have to dig through a buttload of box scores. But it also makes me sad because I don’t have as much fresh material to use to make fun of teams. I guess we can call that a push.
This weekend was the sort of official start to the new WCHA, with a pair of weekend sets. On top of the aforementioned basement battle, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan faced off against each other. Battle of the UP! (Yes, I actually had to verify that both schools are, in fact, located in Michigan’s upper peninsula because I only got a C in geography sophomore year.) Alaska continued its run of early-season aerophobia and played a home series against Mercyhurst.
Anyway, technically speaking, Bemidji is currently first in the WCHA. Yes, that is not a typo. That’s what happens when no one plays, Tech and Northern split and you get to start your conference season off against Huntsville. Take a picture, because I’d wager that isn’t gonna last long.
Once again, these come out today to get them out before BG takes on Ohio State tomorrow. Let’s get into it.
1. Minnesota State (LW: 1): No change up top, as none of the top four teams in my super official and should be accepted as law power rankings played this weekend. The Mavs should have fun this weekend as they take on Bemidji State. So they’re either going to knock the Beavers down a peg, or I’m going to have to apologize for unjustly taking body shots at Bemidji. Don’t make me have to apologize, Mankato.
2. Lake Superior (LW: 2): Like BG, Lake gets a three-game slate this week. Unlike BG, their Tuesday game is an exhibition against Laurentian. Also unlike BG, Lake takes on a good team this weekend in Wisconsin. Wisconsin was off this weekend, and you may remember, royally pooped the bed the last time they were on the ice. They’ll be angry and ready to go, but this is a great chance for Lake to make a statement on the national level.
3. Ferris State (LW: 3): Ferris starts conference play this weekend with the walking gimme known as Huntsville. Anything less than a sweep and a +9 goal differential for the weekend will be deemed as a failure for the Bulldogs in my books.
4. Bowling Green (LW: 4): We’ll see how BG reacts to having the weekend off tomorrow in Columbus. Bye weeks can be good for a team, but aren’t necessarily beneficial when you’re coming off a 7-0 win. If the Falcons can outlast the Buckeyes again, they’ll be in a good spot for a potential 3-0 week, with a home series against Alaska-Anchorage this weekend.
5. Alaska (LW: 5): FINALLY, I get to talk about games that happened this weekend. The Nanooks had a good weekend, winning 5-4 on Friday and tying 3-3 Saturday. They’re now 3-1-2 on the season. This record made me re-realize how stupid ties are. But I don’t think they’re as stupid as the 3-1-2-1 record Alaska would’ve had if we were still using the shootout toward standings.
6. Michigan Tech (LW: 6): Tech edges out Northern this week by virtue of being the slightly better team in the weekend split. Tech lost 2-0 on the road, and won 4-1 at home. Really nice weekend for Pheonix “yes that’s how it’s really spelt” Copley. He stopped 31 of 33 shots in the 2-0 loss, and 14 of 15 shots in the 4-1 win.
7. Northern Michigan (LW: 7): Not really too much more to touch on here. Redshirt freshman Mathias Dahlstrom recorded his first win (and shutout) of his college career in Friday’s win, and had a still respectable 29 saves on 33 shots Saturday. Northern has a tough test at Alaska this weekend.
8. Bemidji State (LW: 9): Moving a team up over a team that didn’t play is kind of bush league on my part, but the Beavers did take a pretty long road trip and swept the weekend, even if the opponent stinks. Goalie Andrew Walsh finally got in the win column, stopping 35 of 36 shots … on the weekend. Yes, that is how bad Huntsville is.
9. Alaska-Anchorage (LW: 8): No action for the Seawolves this past weekend. They’ll (finally) leave the state of Alaska this weekend as they take on BG. It’s a good chance for Anchorage to show to the rest of the league they can compete outside their home state.
10. Alabama-Huntsville (LW: 10): How bad are the Chargers? They’ve scored four times in four games. They’re giving up almost exactly five goals a game, led by Matt Larose’s stellar 8.10 goals-against average and .786 save percent in two starts (Carmine Guerriero, on the other hand, has a 1.91 GAA and .942 save percent in two starts, three games; I guess we know who this weekend’s starter will be). They had 13 shots in a 1-0 loss Saturday. Yes, let me repeat that. In a game they lost 1-0, they had 13 shots. Against a team that isn’t exactly elite. They’re going to win at least two conference games this year, because that’s how the universe works. But you really, REALLY don’t want to be the team they beat.