WCHA Weekend Preview: Oct. 16-17, 2015
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
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St. Cloud State hosts Wisconsin at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center this weekend

Opening Face-Off

- Moving Up and Leading at the Polls: The WCHA has an NCAA-best four teams (tied with ECAC Hockey) in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. Minnesota remains the unanimous No. 1 in both rankings, followed by No. 2 Wisconsin (up a spot this week), No. 6 North Dakota and No. 8 Bemidji State (also up one spot). Minnesota Duluth received a vote in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ledger.

- Fast Start in Bemidji...: A year after posting the best record in program history and advancing to the Final Face-Off championship game for the first time, eighth-ranked Bemidji State is off to the best start in school annals at 5-0-1. The Beavers boast the nation's fourth-ranked scoring defense, while showing a knack for clutch scoring.

- ...And in Grand Forks...: With a 4-0-0 start to the season, North Dakota has posted its best opening four-game mark in program history. Previously, UND started the 2013-14 season with a 3-0-1 mark and improved to 4-0-1 before suffering its first loss of the season.

- ...And in Madison...: This year marks the first time in program history Wisconsin has scored five or more goals in each of its first four contests, while the Badgers lead the country with 7.00 goals per game (28 goals in four contests).

- Hockey Canada and the WCHA: Seven current or former WCHA student-athletes will compete for Canada's National Women's Team at the upcoming Four Nations Cup, held Nov. 4-8 in Sweden. Forwards Emily Clark (Wisconsin) and Sarah Nurse (Wisconsin) and Sarah Potomak (Minnesota), along with defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak (North Dakota) will take a break from the 2015-16 WCHA season to compete for their home country. Clark and Krzyzaniak were members of Canada's silver medal team at the 2015 IIHF Women's World Championship, while Nurse and Potomak will be making their national team debuts.


The Week Ahead

- Top Ten Clash: Two teams off to red-hot, undefeated starts - No. 6 North Dakota (4-0-0) and No. 8 Bemidji State (5-0-1) - meet this weekend in a home-and-home series alongside the schools' men's teams. Friday afternoon's series opener will be at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, while Saturday's finale switches to Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks.

- Welcome Home: After establishing a program record with six straight road games to open the season, Minnesota Duluth finally returns home to host Minnesota State at AMSOIL Arena.

- More Home Openers: Jenny Potter will coach her first games at the OSU Ice Rink this weekend, as the Buckeyes host No. 1 Minnesota. While the Huskies played a home exhibition contest, St. Cloud State will play its first regular season home games this weekend against No. 3 Wisconsin.


All rankings listed by USCHO.com poll first, followed by USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll

WCHA

No. 8 Bemidji State (2-0-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 5-0-1) vs. No. 6 North Dakota (2-0-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-0-0) Friday, Oct. 16 at 2:07 p.m. CT (Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.) Saturday, Oct. 17 at 2:07 p.m. CT (Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.)

- No. 6 North Dakota and No. 8 Bemidji State meet in a home-and-home, top-10 clash of undefeated teams.

- At 5-0-1, Bemidji State is off to the best start in program history. With a 4-0-0 record, UND also boasts the top four-game season-opening run in program annals.

- BSU goalie Brittni Mowat has allowed just one goal in her last three games, while making 92 saves in 182:29 between the pipes. She is third and fourth nationally, respectively, with a .976 save percentage and 0.60 GAA this season.

- North Dakota junior F Amy Menke is tied for the NCAA lead with seven assists (in two fewer games than her fellow co-leaders). Her 1.75 points-per-game average ranks 13th in the nation.

- Like Menke, Becca Kohler (3g-1a=4pts) has recorded a point in all four UND games.


No. 1 Minnesota (2-0-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-0-0) at Ohio State (0-2-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA/ 2-2-0) OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio Friday, Oct. 16 at 6:07 p.m. ET and Saturday, Oct. 17 at 2:07 p.m. ET

- Ohio State's Jenny Potter will coach her first games at the OSU Ice Rink, as the Buckeyes welcome No. 1 Minnesota to Columbus.

- Last weekend, the Gophers recorded two more shutouts, bringing their shutout streak to 244:54 minutes a run that dates back the 2015 national championship game.

- Minnesota freshman and WCHA Rookie of the Week, Sarah Potomak had a stellar weekend, recording six points in a sweep of St. Cloud State (2g-4a). Kate Schipper also recorded six points (1g-5a) for the Gophers.

- Sophomore F Kelly Pannek is riding a six-game point streak that dates back to the 2015 NCAA Women's Frozen Four semifinal, while senior D Milica McMillen is three points shy of the 100-point plateau for her career (37g-60a=97pts).

- Lauren Spring has been a huge asset to the Buckeyes in the faceoff circle this season, as she is ranked in the top 10 nationally for faceoff wins with 48.

- OSU senior F Kendall Curtis is in the top 25 nationally with 0.75 goals per game, while freshman F Maddy Field is in the top 20 among NCAA rookies with 0.75 points per contest.

- Minnesota leads the all-time series, 61-8-3, including a sweep in Columbus on Nov. 14-15, 2014 (4-2 and 5-3).


Minnesota State (0-2-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 2-3-1) at Minnesota Duluth (0-2-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 2-4-0) AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn. Friday, Oct. 16 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Saturday, Oct. 17 at 3:07 p.m. CT

- Minnesota Duluth finally hosts a home series this weekend, after opening with six-straight road games for the first time in program history.

- While the series marks the home opener for new Bulldogs head coach Maura Crowell, Mavericks' bench boss John Harrington is returning to his alma mater (UMD, 1979).

- Both teams played ranked opponents tough last weekend, with UMD falling 2-0 and 2-1 (OT) at Bemidji State and MSU dropping 4-2 and 2-1 decisions to North Dakota.

- Minnesota State has been led by their youth this season, as 22 of the Mavs' 29 points and 11 of the team's 13 goals have been scored by underclassmen. Sophomore F Hannah Davidson has recorded a point in all six games (1g-7a=8pts) and is tied for the NCAA lead with seven assists.

- The Mavericks have started their season by outscoring their opponents 13-12.

- UMD is 57-6-4 all-time against the Mavericks and is currently on an eight-game win streak that goes back to the 2012-1013 season.


No. 2 Wisconsin (2-0-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-0-0) at St. Cloud State (0-2-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 2-2-0) Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn. Friday, Oct. 16 and Saturday, Oct. 17 (3:07 p.m. CT both days)

- After starting conference play last weekend against top-ranked Minnesota, St. Cloud State continues a tough early-season schedule by welcoming No. 2 Wisconsin for the Huskies' regular season home opener.

- St. Cloud State defeated the Badgers late last season by a score of 2-1. It was the first time in five years the Huskies had beaten the Badgers.

- Huskies' sophomore D Brittney Anderson is tied for 10th nationally among defensemen with an average of 1.00 points per game (0g-4a=4pts).

- For the 10th time in program history, the Badgers have started the season 4-0. Wisconsin has outscored its opponents 28-2, while leading the nation with 7.00 goals per game.

- The Badgers have spread the scoring out, as all 19 skaters have registered a point this season. Last weekend, 15 different Badgers collected a point against Ohio State.

- UW sophomore F Annie Pankwoski leads the WCHA and ranks second nationally with 2.75 points per game (7g-4a=11pts). She also leads the nation with three short-handed goals.

- Wisconsin posts an impressive 62-8-2 record all-time against the Huskies and holds a 25-5-2 record when playing the Huskies in St. Cloud.