WCHA Weekend Preview: Oct. 23-24, 2015
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
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Ohio State will play at the Schottenstein Center for the first time since the 2013-14 season, welcoming Minnesota State

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.


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.

- 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.

- 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.

- Playing at the "Schott": Ohio State will play at the Schottenstein Center for the first time since the 2013-14 season, welcoming Minnesota State.

- 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.


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


WCHA

No. 6 Bemidji State (3-0-1-0, 10 pts. WCHA / 6-0-2) at No. 3/2 Wisconsin (4-0-0-0, 12 pts. WCHA / 6-0-0)
LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis.
Friday, Oct. 23 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Saturday, Oct. 24 at 3:07 p.m. CT

- This week's clash of highly-ranked WCHA teams takes place in Madison, as No. 3/2 Wisconsin hosts No. 6 Bemidji State. The two teams, who rank first (UW) and fourth (BSU) nationally in scoring defense, are both off to undefeated starts.

- BSU has posted the best start in program history and achieved its highest national ranking ever.

- Returning All-American Brittni Mowat is putting together another sensational season between the pipes. The junior leads with the nation with a .978 save percentage, is fourth with 177 saves and ranks third with a 0.56 GAA.

- The Beavers' six game-winning goals have all been scored by different players.

- Wisconsin sophomore F Annie Pankowski, the 2015 National Rookie of the Year, ranks sixth nationally by averaging 2.17 points per game (8g-5a—13pts in 6 games). Pankowski is currently on a nine-game point streak dating back to last year's WCHA Final Face-Off championship game.

- The Badgers have posted four-straight shutouts, have not been scored on in the last 281:45 and are tops in the nation by allowing just 0.33 goals per game. Junior G Ann-Renée Desbiens is second in the country for both save percentage (.970) and GAA (0.43).

- UW leads the all-time series, 59-5-3, including a 4-1-0 mark last year. All four regular season games were one-goal contests, while the Badgers won 4-0 in the Final Face-Off championship game.


Minnesota Duluth (2-2-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-4-0) at No. 1 Minnesota (4-0-0-0, 12 pts. WCHA / 6-0-0)
Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.
Friday, Oct. 23 at 6:07 p.m. CT and Saturday, Oct. 24 at 4:07 p.m. CT

- This 17-year rivalry, which dates back to 1998, begins its next chapter when top-ranked Minnesota hosts Minnesota Duluth

- UMD is continuing its road-heavy early-season schedule. After this weekend, eight of the Bulldogs' first 10 games will have been away from AMSOIL Arena.

- Bulldogs' freshman goaltender Maddie Rooney has started the last three games in place of an injured Kayla Black, going 2-1-0 with a .926 save percentage and 1.31 GAA. She posted her first collegiate shutout last Saturday vs. Minnesota State.

- UMD junior F Ashleigh Brykaliuk, who has tallied two goals and six assists on the season, leads the Bulldogs with eight points. Fellow junior Lara Stalder leads the team in goals with five.

- Minnesota senior D Milica McMillen is closing in on the 100-career point mark. She enters the weekend with 98 points (38g-60a).

- Minnesota's Hannah Brandt starts the weekend with 99 goals, one shy of becoming the fourth Gopher to reach the 100-goal plateau. The nation's active leader with 236 career points (99g-137a), she ranks third in program history and 12th in NCAA annals.

- The Gophers rank first nationally for scoring offense (7.17 goals per game) and second for scoring defense (0.67 goals allowed per game).

- The Gophers lead the all-time series, 45-24-7, and are 14-0-1 in the last 15 meetings.


Minnesota State (0-4-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 2-5-1) at Ohio State (0-4-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 2-4-0)
Schottenstein Center; Columbus, Ohio
Friday, Oct. 23 at 6:07 p.m. ET and Saturday, Oct. 24 at 1:07 p.m. ET

- Two teams looking for their first WCHA wins meet when Ohio State hosts Minnesota State. OSU will play at the Schottenstein Center, home to the Buckeyes' men's team, for the first time since 2013-14.

- Minnesota State goaltender Brianna Quade leads the NCAA with 233 saves and 483:31 minutes, while she is 13th with a .925 save percentage and 16th with a 2.36 GAA.

- The Mavericks are being led by their youth, as underclassman have 26 of MSU's 34 points and have scored 12 of 15 goals. Freshman F Emily Antony scored her first collegiate goal last weekend at Minnesota Duluth.

- OSU has tallied 17 assists, with 11 coming from defensemen. Buckeye blueliners Cara Zubko, Dani Sadek, Lauren Boyle and Alexa Ranahan all have multiple helpers.

- OSU head coach Jenny Potter will be honored before the weekend series begins for her 1998 Olympic Gold Medal performance for Team USA. Potter had five points in six games during the team's run towards gold.

- Ohio State currently has a six-game winning streak against Minnesota State, while leading the all-time series by a 53-11-6 margin.


No. 7/8 North Dakota (2-1-1-1, 8 pts. WCHA / 4-1-1) vs. St. Cloud State (0-4-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 2-4-0)
Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.
Friday, Oct. 23 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Saturday, Oct. 24 at 3:07 p.m. CT

- No. 7/8 North Dakota, which has played five of its first six games on the road, travels to St. Cloud State for a weekend series.

- Returning All-American Shelby Amsley-Benzie, who ranks sixth nationally with a 1.30 GAA, recorded her UND program-record 15th career shutout last Friday.

- UND junior F Amy Menke, who tallied her first goal last weekend, is tied for fifth in the WCHA (tied for 11th nationally) with 1.17 assists per game (7 in 6 games).

- Six of North Dakota's defensemen have tallied a point this season. Halli Krzyzaniak leads the pack with 5 points (2g-3a).

- St. Cloud State's penalty-kill unit is tied for fifth in the country at 23.8% (5-for-21).

- Huskies' senior G Katie Fitzgerald ranks third in the WCHA and 10th nationally with 134 saves.