WCHA Week 9: Three League Series And Two Nonconference Matchups Highlight Busy Weekend
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Two teams separated by just a point for fifth place in the WCHA standings meet when Ohio State visits St. Cloud 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, remains the nation's No. 1 in both polls for the third straight week. The Badgers are followed by No. 3 Minnesota, No. 6 Bemidji State and No. 7/8 North Dakota. A fifth WCHA team, Minnesota Duluth, is once again 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 12-0-0 for the first time ever, is one of just two remaining unbeaten and untied teams (along with 14-0-0 Boston College). Minnesota (11-1-0, .917) is third, while Bemidji State (10-4-2, .688) is tied for eighth and North Dakota (7-3-2, .667) is tied for tenth.

- Longest. Streak. Ever.: Wisconsin's scoreless streak finally came to an end this past weekend, after an incredible nine-straight shutouts and 624 minutes, 18 seconds. The Badgers' 10 hours, 24 minutes and 18 seconds of shutout hockey is an NCAA Division I record (men's or women's), while UW netminder Ann-Renée Desbiens' personal scoreless run of 543:33 is also a new NCAA D-I standard (and almost more than 100 minutes longer than the previous record of 448:32 that Badger legend Jessie Vetter set during the 2006-07 season). The historic run began at the 18:45 mark of the first period of UW's 8-1 win over Providence in San Jose, Calif. on Oct. 3, and finally ended 3:03 into the third period last Saturday at Minnesota Duluth.

- Re-writing the Record Books: One of the all-time great players in WCHA history, Minnesota senior forward Hannah Brandt continues to move up the league and Gopher record books. Last Saturday, she fashioned the WCHA's first five-goal game since Wisconsin's Hilary Knight in September 2008 - and just the 13th in NCAA D-I history, leading the Gophers to an 8-3 win. With her first goal, Brandt became the fourth player in Minnesota history with 100 career goals; with her fifth, she became the program's all-time points leader with 247. Entering this weekend, she is ninth in WCHA history (since 1999-2000) with 104 career goals (Krissy Wendell is eighth with 106), fifth with 143 assists (Natalie Darwitz is fourth with 144) and fifth with 247 points (Jenny Potter is fourth with 256). In NCAA Division-I history (since 2000-01), Brandt is 14th for goals, sixth for assists and eighth for points.

- Another Step Forward: Three weeks after posting its first points against North Dakota since the 2009-10 season, St. Cloud State won both games against Minnesota State for its first WCHA sweep since the 2012-13 campaign (and first sweep of any type at home since Nov. 2011). The Huskies will host Ohio State this weekend looking for their first three-game winning streak (conference or otherwise) since winning three-straight WCHA games in Jan. 2012.


By the Numbers

- 14 and 15: Point streaks for dynamic sophomores Kelly Pannek (Minnesota) and Annie Pankowski (Wisconsin), respectively. Pannek has totaled 24 points (12g-12a) during her streak, which began in the 2015 Frozen Four semifinal; while Pankowski has logged 28 points (13g-15a) in a run that started at the 2015 Final Face-Off championship game.

- .818: NCAA-best winning percentage for WCHA teams in nonconference play. The WCHA, which has a pair of nonconference series this weekend, opened the year with a 17-3-2 mark against out-of-league opponents.

- 2,205: Days, when the puck drops Friday, since the Wisconsin's last loss to a nonconference opponent. The Badgers, who haven't lost to a non-WCHA team since Nov. 6, 2009, are riding a 39-game nonconference unbeaten streak.


The Week Ahead

- Minnesota Duluth at No. 7/8 North Dakota: Lately one of the closest-fought series in the WCHA, Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota renew acquaintances at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Bulldogs and UND have gone to overtime six times in their last 11 meetings, and since 2012, there has been one at least one overtime game in every series between the two programs.

- Ohio State at St. Cloud State: Two teams separated by just a point for fifth place in the WCHA standings meet when Ohio State continues its road trip at St. Cloud State, which is home for the second-straight week.

- Minnesota State at No. 6 Bemidji State: The Beavers are looking to rebound when they return home to face the Mavericks, who will attempt to gain their first league point.

- Nonconference Play: Two nonconference series are on tap, as top-ranked Wisconsin hosts Lindenwood (CHA) at LaBahn Arena and No. 3 Minnesota welcomes Yale (ECAC) to Ridder Arena.


The Week in Review

- It was an exciting weekend at Ridder Arena for Minnesota, as the Gophers swept Bemidji State in a top-five matchup and gained a new all-time career-scoring leader in Hannah Brandt.

- Top-ranked Wisconsin and its goaltender, Ann-Renée Desbiens, each set NCAA records for consecutive scoreless minutes as the Badgers improved to a program-best 12-0-0 with a sweep at Minnesota Duluth.

- On the road for the first time in a calendar month, Ohio State captured an impressive 3-2 victory at No. 6 North Dakota in the opener before UND bounced back with an emphatic 4-1 win in the finale.

- St. Cloud State picked up its first WCHA sweep since the 2012-13 season - and first home brooming of any kind since the 2011-12 campaign - with a pair of victories over visiting Minnesota State.

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


at No. 3 Minnesota 4, No. 5/4 Bemidji State 0
at No. 3 Minnesota 8, No. 5/4 Bemidji State 3
(Nov. 13 and 14 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)

It was an exciting weekend at Ridder Arena for Minnesota, as the Gophers swept Bemidji State in a top-five matchup and gained a new all-time career-scoring leader in Hannah Brandt. Brandt was held scoreless in the first game of the series but scored five goals in the series finale.

The weekend started off right for the Gophers as they shutout Bemidji State 4-0 on Friday behind 18 saves by Amanda Leveille (25th career shutout). Kate Schipper led Minnesota with three points (1g-2a), while Cara Piazza and Dani Cameranesi tallied a goal and assist each. Kelly Pannek also found the back of the net for the Gophers.

On Saturday, Brandt made history. Brandt scored five goals, (including a natural hat trick to start the game), picked up her 100th career goal and tallied her 247th career point (104g-143a) to become Minnesota's new all-time career scoring leader (surpassing Gopher legend Natalie Darwitz, who had 246 during her career). Brandt had help offensively as Dani Cameranesi collected five points on one goal and four assists. Freshman Taylor Williamson recorded her first collegiate goal, which would come in the second period and stand as the eventual game-winner.

Emma Terres, Ivana Bilic and Bailey Wright all scored for the Beavers.


No. 1 Wisconsin 3, at Minnesota Duluth 0
No. 1 Wisconsin 4, at Minnesota Duluth 2
(Nov. 13 and 14 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)

The top-ranked Badgers rewrote NCAA history as they broke the record for the longest shutout streak - a run that lasted 624 minutes and 18 seconds before UMD scored in the third period Saturday.

The streak was helped along by the amazing work of Ann-Renée Desbiens, who set the individual goaltending mark with a streak of 543:33. However, the shutout streak would not be possible without help from the rest of the Badger roster. Friday, junior defenseman assisted on all three UW goals, helping Rachel Jones (game-winner), Erika Sowchuk and Emily Clark in the 3-0 win.

Sophomore F Annie Pankowski ran her scoring streak to 15 games with a one-goal, two-assist effort in a 4-2 win Saturday. Sowchuk and Clark scored for the second straight game, while Courtney Burke recorded the game-winner on the power-play. The Bulldogs' Maria Lindh became the first person to score on the Badgers since Oct. 3 with her goal at the 3:03 mark of the third period, while Lynn Astrup followed with her first collegiate goal.

Wisconsin is now 12-0-0 for the best start in the program's illustrious history.


Ohio State 3, at No. 6 North Dakota 2
at No. 6 North Dakota 4, Ohio State 1
(Nov. 14 and 15 at Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.)

On the road for the first time in a calendar month, Ohio State captured an impressive 3-2 victory at No. 6 North Dakota in the opener before UND bounced back with an emphatic 4-1 win in the finale.

Saturday's game was filled with back-and-forth action. North Dakota would start the game with a 1-0, first-period lead thanks to the first UND goal by Jordan Hampton. However, the Buckeyes drew even a little more than halfway through the second period on a goal from Claudia Kepler. Tied 1-1 heading into the third, UND's Amy Menke found the twine for a 2-1 lead. But, OSU scored two goals 55 seconds apart, as Kendall Curtis (13:08) and freshman Maddy Field (14:03) lit the lamp to give the Buckeyes a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish. Ohio State's netminder, Alex LaMere, finished with 38 saves on 40 shots.

North Dakota returned Sunday with a two-goal first period en route to the 4-1 win - a game in which they owned a 33-13 advantage in shots. UND's Halli Krzyzaniak set the tone with a power-play goal, followed by the first of two Menke scores. Vilma Tanskanen also scored for UND, while Field added her second of the weekend for OSU. Following her two-goal effort, Menke now leads UND in goals (8), assists (9) and points (17).


at St. Cloud State 4, Minnesota State 1
at St. Cloud State 4, Minnesota State 2
(Nov. 13 and 14 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)

St. Cloud State picked up its first WCHA sweep since the 2012-13 season - and first home brooming of any kind since the 2011-12 campaign - with a pair of victories over visiting Minnesota State.

The Huskies came out firing Friday night, outshooting the Mavericks 13-3 in the first period. However, thanks to big saves from Minnesota State goaltender Brianna Quade (31 for the game), the teams remained scoreless heading into the second period. St. Cloud State then scored two goals in the second stanza (from Julia Tylke and Kelsey Saelens) and two more in the third (from Molly Illikainen and Tylke again) for the win. Katie Fitzgerald stopped 23-of-24 shots for the Huskies.

On Saturday, the scoring started early for the Huskies as Illikainen scored on her first shift, just 51 seconds into the game. Shortly after, Illikainen would add find the twine again scoring on her third shot of the game; both goals took place in the first four minutes of the game. Illikainen would see her name on the score sheet again as she added a helper on the game-winning goal scored by Tylke, who assisted on the first goal of the game. Lauren Hespenheide also scored for SCSU, while Fitzgerald added another 27 saves in the 4-2 win.

Anna-Maria Fiegert, Katie Johnson and Hannah Davidson were the weekend goal-scorers for the Mavericks.