WCHA Weekend Preview: Nov. 13 - 15, 2015
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
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Ridder Arena will be the site of a top-five clash this weekend as No. 3 Minnesota hosts No. 5/4 Bemidji State

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.

- 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.


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

WCHA

No. 5/4 Bemidji State (7-2-1-0, 22 pts. WCHA / 10-2-2) at No. 3 Minnesota (7-1-0-0, 21 pts. WCHA / 9-1-0)
Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, MN
Fri., Nov. 13 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Sat., Nov. 14 at 4:07 p.m. CT

- Four months before hosting the WCHA Final Face-Off, Ridder Arena will be the site of a top-five clash this weekend as No. 3 Minnesota hosts No. 5/4 Bemidji State.

- While the Gophers were off last weekend, the Beavers posted a road sweep at Ohio State to vault into second place in the WCHA standings.

- Bemidji State has the nation's fifth-ranked defense, allowing just 1.36 goals per game. Junior G Brittni Mowat is third in the NCAA with a .961 save percentage, while ranking fifth with a 1.06 goals-against average.

- BSU senior F Stephanie Anderson, who leads the Beavers with five goals, returns after helping Team USA to a gold medal at the last week's Four Nations Cup.

- Minnesota leads the nation in power-play efficiency, scoring on 14-of-31 chances. Dani Cameranesi leads the country in power-play goals with four and is followed Milica McMillen and Kelly Pannek with three goals on the power play.

- Hannah Brandt is sitting at 99 career goals for the Golden Gophers. She would be the fourth Gopher in program history to score 100 goals if she reaches the milestone. Brandt is two assists shy of passing Natalie Darwitz for the most in program history and five points away from supplanting Darwitz as the Gophers' all-time leading scorer.

- The Gophers are 60-6-7 all-time against Bemidji State. However, BSU was 2-2-1 last year – including a five-point weekend at Ridder Arena and a 1-0 victory in the 2015 Final Face-Off semifinals.


No. 1 Wisconsin (8-0-0-0, 24 pts. WCHA / 10-0-0) at Minnesota Duluth (2-4-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA /4-6-0)
AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.
Fri., Nov. 13 at 3:07 p.m. CT and Sat., Nov. 14 at 3:07 p.m. CT

- The top-ranked team in the country, Wisconsin, takes the ice this weekend in a two-game series at Minnesota Duluth. The Badgers are off to the best start in school history at 10-0-0.

- While Wisconsin was idle last weekend, UMD has had the past two weekends off.

- Wisconsin has recorded an NCAA Division I record (men's or women's) eight-straight shutouts, having not allowed a goal in the past 521 minutes and 15 seconds. Goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens leads the nation in: shutouts (7), save percentage (.985), goals-against average (0.23) and winning percentage (tied – 1.000).

- Offensively, 18 different Badgers have lit the lamp this season, while every UW skater and Desbiens have registered a point.

- UMD's top goal-scorer, junior F Lara Stalder, is also tied for third in the country with three power-play goals. The Bulldogs are 4-for-14 (28.6 pct.) on the power play in WCHA games.

- Freshman G Maddie Rooney has started UMD's last five games, going 2-3-0 to tie for fourth among all NCAA freshmen for wins since Oct. 10.

- UW is unbeaten in the last 10 meetings (8-0-2) and now leads the overall series against UMD, 34-29-12.


Ohio State (2-6-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-6-0) at No. 6 North Dakota (4-2-2-1, 15 pts. WCHA / 6-2-2)
Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.
Sat., Nov. 14 at 2:07 p.m. CT and Sun., Nov. 15 at 1:07 p.m. CT

- Ohio State will hit the road for the first time in a full calendar month, traveling to Grand Forks for a series at No. 6 North Dakota.

- The Buckeyes dropped a pair at home to Bemidji State last weekend, while UND was idle after earning a split against then-No. 1 Minnesota on Oct. 29-30.

- OSU will face a top-six team for the fourth time in six weekend series, after sets against No. 2 Wisconsin (Oct. 10-11), No. 1 Minnesota (Oct. 16-17) and No. 5 Bemidji State (Nov. 6-7).

- OSU is tied for eighth nationally with seven power-play goals. Conversely, UND is seventh with a 90.6 percent penalty-kill rate (29-for-32).

- Buckeyes' freshman Lauren Boyle is tied for third among WCHA rookie skaters with seven points (0g-7a).

- UND junior F Amy Menke is tied for 16th nationally with 1.40 points per game (5g-9a).

- UND ranks fifth in the NCAA by blocking 162 shots, an average of 16.20 per game.

- North Dakota won the season series last year, 5-0-1. UND swept a regular season series at the Ralph by identical 1-0 finals, then knocked off the Buckeyes in the WCHA quarterfinals by scores of 5-2 and 2-1 (3OT).


Minnesota State (0-8-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 2-9-1) at St. Cloud State (0-7-1-1, 2 pts. WCHA / 2-7-1)
Herb Brooks National Ice Center; St. Cloud, Minn.
Fri., Nov. 13 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Sat., Nov. 14 at 3:07 p.m. CT

- Two teams that were idle last week meet in St. Cloud in search of their first WCHA win, as the Huskies host the Mavericks.

- Minnesota State, which rested last weekend for the first time this season, is second in the WCHA and fourth in the country for games played (12) this season.

- Mavericks' junior G Brianna Quade ranks second in the country in saves (353), shots faced (391), minutes played (715:08) and games started (12).

- SCSU senior F Molly Illikainen is on a three-game point streak (4g-1a—5pts).

- The Huskies have been exceptional of late when on the penalty-kill, denying 19 of the past 21 opponent opportunities with a man advantage.

- SCSU went 2-1-1 last year against MSU, while also winning in a shootout following the tie.