WCHA Week 5: Wisconsin Hosts Bemidji State In Another Top-Ten Showdown; Conference Has NCAA-Best Four Ranked Teams
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A pair of top-ten teams collide this weekend when No. 6 Bemidji State visits No. 3/2 Wisconsin

Opening Face-Off

- Leading at the Polls: The WCHA has an NCAA-best four teams in both the USCHO.com (tied with the ECAC) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. Minnesota remains the unanimous No. 1 in both rankings, followed by No. 3/2 Wisconsin, No. 6 Bemidji State and No. 7/8 North Dakota. Minnesota Duluth is receiving votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ledger.

- Winning Hockey: Of the 14 Division I schools with a .500-or-better record thus far, an NCAA-high five play in the WCHA. Minnesota and Wisconsin (both 6-0-0) are two of the four remaining unbeatens, while Bemidji State (6-0-1, .875) is tied for fifth nationally for winning percentage, North Dakota (4-1-1, .750) is tied for eighth and Minnesota Duluth (4-4-0, .500) is tied for 11th.

- 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, Bemidji State is off to the best start in school annals at 6-0-1. The Beavers have also attained their highest ranking ever, checking in at No. 6 in this week's polls.

- Record Effort by Nurse: Wisconsin's Sarah Nurse had a shift for the ages Friday night at St. Cloud State, scoring a pair of short-handed goals just 21 seconds apart. In doing so, Nurse became just the fourth player in Wisconsin history with two short-handed goals in one game (second to do so in the same period). Additionally, the 21 seconds elapsed between scores marks the second-quickest two-goal outburst by a single player in WCHA history, behind only the seven seconds it took Wisconsin's Lindsay Macy on March 6, 2004 (against Bemidji State).


By the Numbers

- 14: NCAA-leading assist total for Minnesota freshman Sarah Potomak, including 11 in her past three games.

- 15: Program-record career shutout total for North Dakota junior netminder Shelby Amsley-Benzie, who reached the mark with a 23-save effort Friday at Bemidji State.

- 99: Career goals for Minnesota senior Hannah Brandt, one shy of becoming the 13th player in WCHA history to reach the 100-goal plateau (fourth Gopher player).

- 233: NCAA-leading saves total for Minnesota State junior Brianna Quade, who has posted a .925 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against-average in an NCAA-high 483:31 between the pipes. Her efforts are a big reason why the Mavericks are tied for 11th nationally for scoring defense at 2.50 goals per game.

- 281:15: Wisconsin's active scoreless streak, as the Badgers have not allowed a goal since Providence scored at the 18:45 mark of the first period Oct. 3 (in the season's second game). UW has posted shutouts in its first four WCHA games and leads the nation in scoring defense at 0.33 goals per game (two in six games).


The Week Ahead

- BSU and UW Meet in Madison: Continuing a weekly theme in the WCHA, the league once again will be treated to a pair of top-ten teams colliding when No. 6 Bemidji State visits No. 3/2 Wisconsin. The Beavers and Badgers, who rank first and fourth, respectively, in the nation for scoring defense, will meet in a rematch of the 2015 Final Face-Off championship game (won by UW, 4-0). All four regular season games last year were decided by one goal, with UW winning three.

- Longtime Rivals Meet in Minneapolis: Two storied programs will renew their 17-year-old rivalry when top-ranked Minnesota hosts Minnesota Duluth at Ridder Arena. The Gophers are 14-0-1 in their last 15 meetings with the Bulldogs, including a 3-0-1 mark last year (with UMD winning the shootout).

- Playing at the "Schott": Ohio State will play at the Schottenstein Center for the first time since the 2013-14 season, welcoming Minnesota State. OSU is currently riding a six-game winning streak in the series.

- North Dakota at St. Cloud State: No. 7/8 North Dakota travels to St. Cloud State, where the Huskies will look for their first WCHA points of the season. UND won all four meetings between the schools last season.


The Week in Review

- In a matchup of top-ten teams boasting stellar goaltending, then-No. 6 North Dakota and No. 8 Bemidji State twice went to overtime, with BSU earning four of the possible six points.

- No. 1 Minnesota scored a combined 18 goals en route to a road sweep at Ohio State.

- No. 2 Wisconsin continued to play stifling defense, as the Badgers notched their third- and fourth-consecutive shutouts in a sweep at St. Cloud State.

- Minnesota Duluth celebrated its 2015-16 home opener by sweeping visiting Minnesota State at AMSOIL Arena.

- Full recaps and box scores are available at wcha.com.


No. 6 North Dakota 0, at No. 8 Bemidji State 0 - OT (UND wins shootout)
No. 8 Bemidji State 2, No. 6 North Dakota 1 - OT
(October 16 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn. and Oct. 17 at Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.)

A matchup between top-ten WCHA rivals and two of the nation's best defensive teams lived up to its billing, with both games going to overtime.

The two teams played to a scoreless draw through 65 minutes Friday in Bemidji, with UND's Shelby Amsley-Benzie setting a school-record with her 15th career shutout (23 saves) and BSU's Brittni Mowat turning aside all 32 shots she faced. UND grabbed the extra WCHA point when Becca Kohler netted the lone shootout goal.

Saturday saw a change of venue to the Ralph Engelstad Arena, but more of the same in a tightly-contested series finale. A power-play goal by Amy Menke gave host UND a 1-0 lead midway through the second period, a score that stood until Lauren Miller's tying strike with just 1:55 remaining in regulation. UND outshot BSU 4-2 in overtime, but Beavers' defenseman Alexis Joyce netted the game-winner with only eight seconds left.

Mowat finished with 24 saves Saturday, while UND netminder Lexie Shaw had 19.


No. 1 Minnesota 7, at Ohio State 2
No. 1 Minnesota 11, at Ohio State 2
(October 16 and 17 at OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio)

Top-ranked Minnesota continued to display a high-powered offense, scoring a combined 18 goals in a road sweep at Ohio State.

A late first-period goal from OSU's Cara Zubko tied Friday's contest 1-1, but Minnesota scored four times in the second period to take control. Dani Cameranesi scored twice in the frame for the Gophers, while Brook Garzone netted the game-winning goal. Sophie Skarzynski added her first career goal in the third period.

Minnesota's Hannah Brandt put together a six-point performance Saturday, posting her second hat trick of the season and handing out three assists. The Gophers again enjoyed a big second period outburst, scoring six times to break open what had been a 3-1 game.

Gophers' freshman Sarah Potomak had four assists in both games, while Cameranesi (4g-4a) and Brandt (3g-5a) also had eight-point weekends.


No. 2 Wisconsin 5, at St. Cloud State 0
No. 2 Wisconsin 2, at St. Cloud State 0
(October 16 and 17 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)

No. 2 Wisconsin continued to play stifling defense, recording its third- and fourth-consecutive shutouts in a weekend sweep at St. Cloud State.

UW junior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens recorded her 20th career shutout in the victory, turning away all 10 shots she faced. Fellow junior Sarah Nurse collected a pair of short-handed goals just 21 seconds apart in the second period, while Lauren Williams (game-winner), Jenny Ryan and Rachel Jones also scored for the Badgers.

It was Megan Miller's turn between the pipes Saturday, and the senior responded with 14 saves and her first shutout as a Badger in the 2-0 victory. Erika Sowchuk's first goal of the season was the game-winner, as it broke the scoreless tie at the 2:01 mark of the second period. Annie Pankwoski added an empty-net tally to seal the game, as St. Cloud State remained close throughout behind the stellar goaltending of senior Katie Fitzgerald (32 saves).


at Minnesota Duluth 4, Minnesota State 2
at Minnesota Duluth 4, Minnesota State 0
(October 16 and 17 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)

Finally returning home after opening the season with six-straight road games, Minnesota Duluth enjoyed a sweep of visiting Minnesota State.

Playing their first game at AMSOIL Arena under new head coach Maura Crowell, the Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead Friday on a power-play goal from Katherine McGovern. UMD would add three more in the third period, as Lara Stalder, freshman Morgan Morse (game-winner) and Catherine Daoust all scored.

Bulldogs' freshman goaltender Maddie Rooney recorded her first career shutout in Saturday's 4-0 victory, stopping all 14 shots she faced. Maria Lindh and Michela Cava each scored a pair of goals apiece for UMD.

Minnesota State was outshot 75-26 over the two games, but received excellent goaltending from Brianna Quade, who made 67 saves on the weekend. The young Mavericks received goals from freshman Emily Anthony (first of her career) and sophomore Amanda Conway.