WCHA Week 6: Minnesota And North Dakota Tangle In This Week's Top-Ten Matchup; Conference Is Tied For NCAA Lead With Four Ranked Teams
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This week's installment of the WCHA Top-Ten Series takes place in Grand Forks, N.D., where No. 7/8 North Dakota hosts ttop-ranked Minnesota

Opening Face-Off

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

- Winning Hockey: Of the 16 Division I schools with a .500-or-better record thus far (14 that have played at least five games), five play in the WCHA. Minnesota and Wisconsin (both 8-0-0) are two of the six remaining unbeaten and untied teams (four with at least eight games played), while North Dakota (5-1-2, .750) is tied for ninth nationally for winning percentage, Bemidji State (6-2-2, .700) is tied for 11th and Ohio State (4-4-0, .500) is tied for 14th.

- Half a Dozen Bagels: Wisconsin has posted a program-record six-consecutive shutouts, tied for the longest such streak in WCHA history (matching Minnesota's six-game run from Feb. 22 to March 16, 2013). The Badgers have not given up a goal in the last 401 minutes, 15 seconds, dating back to the first period of UW's 8-1 win over Providence College in San Jose, Calif. on Oct. 3.

- A Sign of Things to Come?: Speaking of Wisconsin, the Badgers are 8-0-0 for the third time in program history. The other two times UW started 8-0-0, during the 2008-09 and 2010-11 seasons, the Badgers went on to win the NCAA title.

- An Important Two Points: When St. Cloud State skated to a 4-4 tie against No. 7/8 North Dakota on Saturday, and then rode a Payge Pena strike to the shootout win, it marked the Huskies' first points against UND since the 2009-10 season. SCSU went 2-1-1-1 against UND that year (including a shootout win on Jan. 16 in the teams' final meeting), but were 0-11-0 since that game, until Saturday's contest.

- From Lake Placid to the WCHA: This weekend marks the first meeting as head coaches between Wisconsin bench boss Mark Johnson and Minnesota State's John Harrington, who were teammates on the fabled "Miracle on Ice" 1980 U.S. Olympic Team. Johnson, who led the U.S. in scoring at the 1980 Olympic Games (5g-6a), scored twice in Team USA's historic 4-3 upset of the USSR in the semifinal round. Harrington, who had five assists during the U.S. run to Gold in Lake Placid, N.Y., had a helper on Mike Eruzione's go-ahead, game-winning goal against the USSR.


By the Numbers

- 10 and 11: Point streaks for dynamic sophomores Kelly Pannek (Minnesota) and Annie Pankowski (Wisconsin), respectively. Pannek has totaled 19 points (10g-9a) during her streak, which began in the 2015 Frozen Four semifinal; while Pankowski has logged 20 points (12g-8a) in a run that started at the 2015 Final Face-Off championship game.

- 99 and 239: Career goals and points for the NCAA's active leader, Minnesota senior Hannah Brandt. The two-time WCHA Player of the Year is one goal shy of becoming the 13th player in WCHA history to reach the 100-goal plateau (fourth Gopher player), while her point total is 9th in NCAA history.


The Week Ahead

- Minnesota at North Dakota: This week's installment of the WCHA Top-Ten Series takes place in Grand Forks, N.D., where No. 7/8 North Dakota hosts the top-ranked Gophers. Minnesota and UND split last season's series at Ralph Engelstad Arena, while the Gophers own an all-time 46-7-0 edge (13-2-0 the last three seasons).

- St. Cloud State at Bemidji State: Fresh off an inspiring effort last Saturday against UND, the Huskies travel to No. 6 Bemidji State. The Beavers, who rank sixth nationally for scoring defense (1.50gapg) will look to bounce back after being shut out in consecutive games last weekend for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

- Wisconsin at Minnesota State: The No. 3 Badgers will look to win their first nine games for the first time in program history, while a UW shutout in the opener would set the WCHA record for consecutive blankings. Minnesota State is aiming to break in overall six-game losing streak, as the Mavs host the Badgers at Verizon Wireless Center for the first time since the 2002-03 season.


The Week in Review

- No. 3/2 Wisconsin improved to 8-0-0 for the third time in program history, while setting a school record (and matching the WCHA mark) with its sixth-straight shutout in a sweep of No. 6 Bemidji State.

- No. 1 Minnesota swept in-state rival, Minnesota Duluth to remain undefeated. Gophers' senior defensemen Milica McMillen collected her 100th and 101st career points with three assists Friday.

- Ohio State earned its first home wins of the year and got back to .500 overall with a sweep of visiting Minnesota State.

- No. 7/8 North Dakota went undefeated at St. Cloud State, while the Huskies earned their first league points of the season with a tie and shootout win on Sunday.

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


at No. 3/2 Wisconsin 3, No. 6 Bemidji State 0
at No. 3/2 Wisconsin 4, No. 6 Bemidji State 0
(Oct. 23 and 24 at LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wisc.)

Wisconsin made an impressive statement, running their shutout streak to a program-record six-consecutive games en route to a sweep of No. 6 Bemidji State in Madison. The consecutive blankings marked the first time the Badgers failed to score in a weekend series since the 2008-09 season.

UW junior netminder Ann-Renée Desbiens stopped all 35 shots she faced over the weekend, outdueling the Beavers' Brittni Mowat (65 saves on the weekend, including a season-high 42 on Saturday).

The Badgers took the series opener Friday, 3-0, in front of a sellout crowd of 2,273. Defenseman Jenny Ryan chipped in with two assists, while Rachel Jones (game-winner), freshman Sam Cogan and Annie Pankwoski all scored.

Senior F Erika Sowchuck scored twice in a 4-0 UW victory Saturday (including once on the power play), while Pankowski and Courtney Burke each logged a pair of assists and Sarah Nurse scored the game-winner.


at No.1 Minnesota 5, Minnesota Duluth 2
at No. 1 Minnesota 6, Minnesota Duluth 1
(Oct. 23 and 24 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)

The top-ranked Gophers remained one of two unbeaten teams in the WCHA after a home sweep against Minnesota Duluth.

UMD jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the second period Friday behind power-play goals from Ashleigh Brykaliuk and Lara Stalder. However, Minnesota's Kelly Pannek scored twice before the end of the stanza to tie the game, and the Gophers tallied three goals in the third period to win, 5-2. Dani Cameranesi netted the game-winner, while Pannek added an assist on Sarah Potomak's goal.

Also during Friday's game, Minnesota senior D Milica McMillen tallied three assists to top the 100-point plateau for her career (38g-63a—101pts.)

Cameranesi (2g-1a) and Pannek (1g-2a) each had three-point games in a 6-1 Minnesota win Saturday, while Brook Garzone, Cara Piazza and Anna Barlow all scored for the Gophers. Catherine Doust potted the lone Bulldogs' goal.


at Ohio State 5, Minnesota State 3
at Ohio State 4, Minnesota State 0
(Oct. 23 and 24 at Value City Arena; Columbus, Ohio)

Playing at the Value City Arena in Columbus, host Ohio State swept Minnesota State in the first home wins for Buckeyes' head coach Jenny Potter.

Ohio State received big games from Claudia Kepler and Kendall Curtis in a comeback win Friday. Kepler scored two goals and added another helper for three points, while Curtis finished with a goal and assist. Freshmen Emily Antony and Corbin Boyd each scored in the first period to give Minnesota State a 2-0 lead, while sophomore Hannah Davidson netted a short-handed goal to tie the contest 3-3 in the third. Third-period goals from Kepler (at the 4:34 mark) and Curtis (at 6:07) lifted OSU to the win.

Saturday, sophomore G Alex LaMere stopped all 17 shots to record her first career shutout in a 4-0 OSU victory. Freshman D Lauren Boyle assisted on three of the Buckeyes' goals, Dani Sadek potted the game-winner and Lauren Spring scored twice.


No. 7/8 North Dakota 3, at St. Cloud State 0
No. 7/8 North Dakota 4, at St. Cloud State 4 - OT
(SCSU wins shootout, 1-0)
(Oct. 23 and 24 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)

North Dakota emerged from a road weekend undefeated, while St. Cloud State posted its first league points of the season (and first against UND since the 2009-10 campaign).

UND set a program record by allowing just six shots on goal during a 3-0 win on Friday, while SCSU was blanked for the fifth-straight game. Layla Marvin (game-winner), Meghan Dufault and Gracen Hirschy all scored for UND, while Huskies' G Katie Fitzgerald stopped 33-of-35 shots she faced.

The two teams played a wild contest Saturday, with SCSU jumping out to 2-0 and 3-1 leads on the strength of Molly Illikainen's first career hat trick – on three shots. When freshman Hannah Potrykus scored at the 11:35 mark of the third, the Huskies led 4-1. However, UND scored three extra-attacker goals in the final 4:28, including two off the stick of Amy Menke, to tie the game 4-4. Menke's game-tying strike came with just 11 seconds left in regulation.

UND and SCSU treated fans to bonus hockey and, after a scoreless overtime and three rounds of unsuccessful shootout attempts, the Huskies' Payge Pena slid one home for the winner and extra league point.