WCHA Week 8: No. 3 Minnesota And No. 5/4 Bemidji State Meet In Top-Five Matchup; No. 1 Wisconsin Looks To Continue NCAA-Record Shutout Streak
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Top-ranked Wisconsin visits Minnesota Duluth this weekend

Opening Face-Off

- Badgers, WCHA 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. Wisconsin, which is off to the best start in program history, is the nation's No. 1 in both polls. The Badgers are followed by No. 3 Minnesota, No. 5/4 Bemidji State and No. 6 North Dakota. A fifth WCHA team, Minnesota Duluth, is receiving votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ledger.

- Winning Hockey: Not surprisingly, four of the NCAA's top-10 winning percentages belong to WCHA teams. Wisconsin, which is 10-0-0 for the first time ever, is one of just two remaining unbeaten and untied teams (along with 11-0-0 Boston College). Minnesota (9-1-0, .900) is third, while Bemidji State (10-2-2, .786) is seventh and North Dakota (6-2-2, .700) is tied for ninth.

- Longest. Streak. Ever.: Wisconsin has posted eight-consecutive shutouts - the longest streak in NCAA Division I ice hockey history (men's or women's). The Badgers have not given up a goal in the last 521 minutes, 15 seconds, dating back to the first period of UW's 8-1 win over Providence in San Jose, Calif. on Oct. 3. UW goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens has not allowed a goal in the last 440:52, which is the second-longest streak in NCAA history (men's or women's), behind only UW legend Jesse Vetter's streak of 448:32, set between Feb. 9 and March 18, 2007.

- New Heights for the Beavers: Bemidji State's current rankings - fifth in the USCHO.com poll and fourth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine tally - are the highest in program history. The 10-2-2 Beavers are also off to the best start in school annals and are now 31-19-3 (.613) under second-year head coach Jim Scanlan.

- Running the Gauntlet: For the fourth time in five weeks of a full WCHA schedule (not counting last weekend), the country's premier conference will feature a top-ten matchup, as No. 5/4 Bemidji State visits No. 3 Minnesota. This weekend's series is the second such set to feature the Gophers and third with the Beavers, following on the heels of: No. 1 Minnesota at No. 7/8 North Dakota (Oct. 29-30), No. 6 Bemidji State at No. 3/2 Wisconsin (Oct. 23-24) and No. 6 North Dakota vs. No. 8 Bemidji State (Oct. 16-17).


By the Numbers

- 12 and 13: Point streaks for dynamic sophomores Kelly Pannek (Minnesota) and Annie Pankowski (Wisconsin), respectively. Pannek has totaled 22 points (11g-11a) during her streak, which began in the 2015 Frozen Four semifinal; while Pankowski has logged 24 points (12g-12a) in a run that started at the 2015 Final Face-Off championship game.

- 32: Total number of current and former WCHA student-athletes who participated in last week's Four Nations Cup, representing seven member institutions and competing for all four countries (see page 2 for the full list).

- 55-2: Wisconsin's goals scored and allowed this season, an NCAA-best +53 goal margin.

- 99 and 242: 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. Brandt's 143 career assists are fifth-most in WCHA annals, just one behind fellow Gopher great Natalie Darwitz for fourth.


The Week Ahead

- No. 5/4 Bemidji State at No. 3 Minnesota: The nearly-weekly WCHA top-ten matchup intensifies with a top-five face-off at Ridder Arena - site of the 2016 Final Face-Off - between the No. 3 Gophers host the the No. 5/4 Beavers. Bemijdi State went 2-2-1 against Minnesota last season, including a 1-0-1 mark (with a shootout win) at Ridder and a 1-0 victory in the 2015 Final Face-Off semifinals.

- No. 1 Wisconsin at Minnesota Duluth: Idle the last two weeks, the Bulldogs return to action by hosting the top-ranked Badgers at AMSOIL Arena. Wisconsin is unbeaten against UMD in their last 10 meetings (8-0-2).

- Ohio State at No. 6 North Dakota: After a full calendar month at home, the Buckeyes head back on the road to face No. 6 North Dakota at Ralph Englestad Arena. UND, which defeated then-No. 1 Minnesota in its last game, is 4-0-2 on Fridays this season.

- Minnesota State at St. Cloud State: The Mavericks and Huskies meet in St. Cloud this weekend. Both teams have received production from their youngsters, with underclassmen accounting for 16 of Minnesota State's 18 goals and five of St. Cloud State's 18 scores.


The Week in Review

- Bemijdi State goaltender Brittni Mowat stopped 53-of-55 shots, leading the No. 6/5 Beavers to a tightly-contested road sweep at Ohio State.

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


No. 6/5 Bemidji State 2, at Ohio State 1
No. 6/5 Bemidji State 3, at Ohio State 1
(Nov. 6 and 7 at OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio)

Bemijdi State goaltender Brittni Mowat stopped 53-of-55 shots, leading the Beavers to a tightly-contested road sweep at Ohio State.

Hanna Moher staked the Beavers to a quick 1-0 lead Friday, scoring just 2:28 into the contest. That margin stood until the third, when sophomore Bailey Wright's first goal in a Beavers sweater was the game-winner. OSU freshman Dana Rasmussen scored with under four minutes left to bring the Buckeyes within one, but Mowat and the Beaver defense closed the door on a 2-1 win.

BSU's Lauren Miller and OSU's Kendall Curtis traded second-period goals on Saturday, creating a 1-1 tie into the final stanza. The Beavers' Emma Terres scored on the power play at the 8:18 mark for the game-winner, and Kaitlyn Tougas added an empty-net strike for the final 3-1 margin. Mowat turned aside 32-of-33 shots in the win, while OSU sophomore Alex LaMere completed her own 37-save weekend.


2015 FOUR NATIONS CUP

The eyes of the women's hockey world were on Europe last week for the 2015 Four Nations Cup, where 32 current and former Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) players – representing seven member institutions – competed for the United States, Canada, Finland and host Sweden. The full list is below (current student-athletes in bold):

GOLD - United States (12): Stephanie Anderson, F (Bemidji State); Megan Bozek, D (Minnesota); Brianna Decker, F (Wisconsin); Meghan Duggan, F (Wisconsin); Zoe Hickel, F (Minnesota Duluth); Hilary Knight, F (Wisconsin); Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, F (North Dakota); Monique Lamoureux, D (North Dakota); Gigi Marvin, D (Minnesota); Alex Rigsby, G (Wisconsin); Anne Schleper, D (Minnesota); Jessie Vetter, G (Wisconsin).

SILVER - Canada (8): Emily Clark, F (Wisconsin); Sarah Davis, F (Minnesota); Halli Krzyzaniak, D (North Dakota); Brigette Lacquette, D (Minnesota Duluth); Sarah Nurse, F (Wisconsin); Sarah Potomak, F (Minnesota); Natalie Spooner, F (Ohio State); Blayre Turnbull, F (Wisconsin).

BRONZE - Finland (7): Mira Jalosuo, D (Minnesota); Michelle Karvinen, F (North Dakota); Anna Kilponen, D (North Dakota); Vilma Tanskanen, F (North Dakota); Suvi Ollikainen, F (St. Cloud State); Noora Räty, G (Minnesota); Susanna Tapani, F (North Dakota).

Sweden (5): Jenni Asserholt, D (Minnesota Duluth); Johanna Fällman, D (North Dakota); Maria Lindh, F (Minnesota Duluth); Annie Svedin, D (Ohio State); Pernilla Winberg, F (Minnesota Duluth).


Opening Rounds
Canada 2, Finland 0

Team Canada opened the Four Nations Cup with a 2-0 victory over Finland, scoring both goals in the second period. Natalie Spooner (Ohio State) scored the second Canadian goal, off an assist from current Minnesota freshman Sarah Potomak. Former Gophers goaltender Noora Räty made 24 saves in a losing effort for Finland.

Opening Rounds
United States 6, Finland 2

Team USA opened its gold-medal run with a 6-2 victory over Finland. All six U.S. goals were scored by WCHA players, including two each by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson (North Dakota) and Hilary Knight (Wisconsin). Brianna Decker (Wisconsin) added a goal and assist, while Meghan Duggan also lit the lamp. Former Badgers goaltender Alex Rigsby made nine saves in the win.

Opening Rounds
United States 3, Canada 0

Former Wisconsin great Jessie Vetter collected a 31-save shutout in the tournament's first U.S.-Canada matchup, a 3-0 win for the Americans. UND alumna Monique Lamoureux potted the second-period game-winner after a scoreless opening stanza, while Megan Bozek (Minnesota) added a power-play goal.

Opening Rounds
Finland 3, Sweden 1

Finland received a first-period goal from WCHA alumna Susanna Tapani (North Dakota) and a third-period strike by another former UND great, Michelle Karvinen, en route to a 3-1 win.

Opening Rounds
Canada 3, Sweden 1

A first-period goal from former Ohio State standout Natalie Spooner staked Canada to a 2-0 lead and stood as the eventual game-winner in a 3-1 triumph. Alumnae Brigette Laquette (UMD) and Sarah Davis (Minnesota) each had assists in the game, as did current UND defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak.

Bronze Medal Game
Finland 3, Sweden 2 - OT

Michelle Karvinen (UND) picked up the primary assist on the overtime game-winner, lifting Finland to the bronze medal. Susanna Tapani (UND) broke a scoreless tie with a short-handed goal in the second period.

Gold Medal Game
United States 3, Canada 2 - OT

WCHA players accounted for four of the five goals in the championship game, including all three by the United States as the Americans rallied for a 3-2, overtime victory. After Natalie Spooner (OSU) gave Team Canada a 1-0, second-period lead, Wisconsin alumna Brianna Decker knotted the game 5:32 later. With her team again trailing, 2-1, into the third period, Decker scored 1:46 into the stanza for a 2-2 tie that stood into overtime. Another Badger great, Hilary Knight, secured gold for the United States with a dramatic goal just 36 seconds into OT. Jessie Vetter (Wisconsin) made 30 saves for Team USA.