WCHA Weekend Preview: Nov. 20 - 22, 2015
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
photo
No. 6 Bemidji State returns home to host Minnesota State 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, 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 last 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).

- 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. 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

- .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.


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

WCHA

Minnesota Duluth (2-6-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-8-0) at No. 7/8 North Dakota (5-3-2-1, 18 pts. WCHA / 7-3-2)
Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.
Friday, Nov. 20 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Saturday, Nov. 21 at 4:07 p.m. CT

- Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota renew acquaintances in a series that has gone to overtime in six of the last 11 games – and once in every series since 2012.

- UMD dropped both games at home last weekend to top-ranked Wisconsin, while UND split with Ohio state.

- The Bulldogs will look to junior forward, Ashleigh Brykaliuk to help lead the offensive charge. Brykaliuk leads UMD in points with ten (3g-7a), while fellow junior Lara Stalder paces the team with six goals (and is second with eight points).

- UND is stout defensively and on special teams, ranking fourth in the NCAA with 195 blocked shots and sixth with a 91.7 efficiency rate on the penalty kill (55-for-60).

- Fighting Hawks' junior F Amy Menke rides a career-best seven-game point streak into the weekend (8g-2a—10pts). Her 17 points is good enough for 18th in the country and her 1.42 points per game average ranks her 15th nationally.


Minnesota State (0-10-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 2-11-1) at No. 6 Bemidji State (7-4-1-0, 22 pts. WCHA / 10-4-2)
Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.
Friday, Nov. 20 at 2:07 p.m. CT and Saturday, Nov. 21 at 2:07 p.m. CT

- No. 6 Bemidji State returns home looking to bounce back after losing twice last weekend. The Beavers will host Minnesota State, which is seeking its first WCHA points.

- Minnesota State sophomore Hannah Davidson, who leads the Mavericks with 11 points (3g-8a), picked up four points in four games last season against BSU.

- Minnesota State has blocked 184 shots to rank sixth nationally, while Mavs' goaltender Briana Quade ranks second in the country with a WCHA-high 413 saves.

- Last weekend, Bemidji State senior D Ivana Bilic tallied two points with a goal and an assist. Over her past six games, Bilic has collected eight points (2g-6a).

- Despite surrendering 12 goals last weekend, Bemidji State is still third in the WCHA (9th NCAA) by yielding just 1.94 goals per game.


Ohio State (3-7-0-0, 9 pts. WCHA / 5-7-0) at St. Cloud State (2-7-1-1, 8 pts. WCHA / 4-7-1)
Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.
Friday, Nov. 20 at 3:07 p.m. CT and Saturday, Nov. 21 at 1:37 p.m. CT

- Two teams coming off promising weekends meet when Ohio State (road split at then-No. 6 North Dakota) visits St. Cloud State (sweep of Minnesota State).

- The Buckeyes are led by senior Kendall Curtis. Curtis leads the team with ten points (6g-4a); nine of the points have come in OSU wins.

- OSU freshman F Lauren Boyle is second among WCHA rookies with eight points, all off assists.

- St. Cloud State's sweep last weekend was led by senior Molly Illikainen, who had five points (3g-2a); and, WCHA Rookie of the Week Julia Tylke, who tallied four points (3g-1a).

- Huskies' sophomore D Brittney Anderson has been an offensive key this season, tallying eight assists. With her eight assists, Anderson has doubled her points from last season.

- SCSU senior G Katie Fitzgerald was tested 53 times last weekend, stopping 50 of Minnesota State shots.


NONCONFERENCE

Lindenwood (1-3-2 CHA / 3-7-2) at No. 1 Wisconsin (10-0-0-0, 30 pts. WCHA / 12-0-0)
LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis.
Friday, Nov. 20 at 2:07 p.m. CT and Sunday, Nov. 22 at 2:07 p.m. CT

- No. 1 Wisconsin, off to the best start in program history at 12-0-0, welcomes Lindenwood for a nonconference series.

- The Badgers are unbeaten in their last 39 nonconference games, with the last loss coming on Nov. 6, 2009 – an amazing 2,205 days ago.

- Wisconsin leads the country by giving up just 0.33 goals per game, while the Badgers are third nationally by scoring an average of 5.17 goals per contest.

- Junior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, a big reason the Badgers set an NCAA record with a scoreless streak of 624:18, leads all NCAA netminders in save percentage (.985), GAA (0.38) and shutouts (eight).

- Annie Pankowski ranks sixth in the nation for scoring, averaging 2.00 points per game. The sophomore F is also on a 15-game point streak (13g-15a—28pts) – the seventh-longest in UW history.

- Overall, the Badgers are 8-0-0 against Lindenwood and have outscored the Lady Lions 62-6 in the eight previous meetings.


Yale (1-2-1 ECAC, 1-4-1) at No. 3 Minnesota (9-1-0-0, 27 pts. WCHA / 11-1-0)
Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.
Friday, Nov. 20 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Saturday, Nov. 21 at 7:07 p.m. CT

- The third-ranked Gophers return to action this weekend in a non-conference game against Yale. Minnesota is 3-0-0 all-time against the Bulldogs.

- The Gophers own the nation's best power-play unit, capitalizing on 19-of-40 attempts (47.5 percent). Dani Cameranesi leads the nation in power-play goals with six.

- Minnesota averages an NCAA-best 6.17 goals per game, with Hannah Brandt (3rd – 1.17), Cameranesi (4th – 1.00) and Kelly Pannek (5th – 0.92) all in the top-five nationally.

- The Gophers also have a high-scoring defensive corps led by Megan Wolfe and Milica McMillen. McMillen is tied for fifth in the nation in scoring for defensemen with 1.00 points per game, while Wolfe ranks fourth in the country in defensive scoring, averaging 1.08 points per game.

- Last weekend, Pannek upped her scoring streak to 14-straight games (12g-12a—24pts). Cara Piazza is currently on a 12-game point streak (7g-11a—18pts).