WCHA Week 10: Ten Intriguing Nonconference Games, One League Series Ahead For Thanksgiving Weekend
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Minnesota State hosts Minnesota in the only WCHA series of the weekend

Opening Face-Off

- Badgers, WCHA Leading at the Polls: The WCHA continues to have an NCAA-best presence in the national polls, with four teams in the USCHO.com rankings and five in the 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 fourth straight week. The Badgers are followed by No. 3 Minnesota, No. 7/6 Bemidji State, No. 9 North Dakota and No. 10 Minnesota Duluth.

- Winning Hockey: Not surprisingly, four of the NCAA's top-10 winning percentages also belong to WCHA teams. At 14-0-0, Wisconsin is one of just two remaining unbeaten and untied teams (along with 15-0-0 Boston College). Minnesota (13-1-0, .929) is third, while Bemidji State (12-4-2, .722) is eighth and North Dakota (8-4-2, .643) is tenth.

- Badgers Continue Historic Start: The Badgers' 14-0-0 start marks the third time UW has been unbeaten through its first 14 games, and the first time Wisconsin has won its first 14 contests. The 14-game winning streak is tied for the third-longest in program history and is tied for the sixth-longest in WCHA history.

- Husky Pride: Under the leadership of second-year head coach Eric Rud, St. Cloud State has swept consecutive WCHA series for its first four-game winning streak since a five-game run (all in league games) from Nov. 9-22, 2008. The Huskies have been led during the streak by seniors Molly Illikainen (five goals and four assists for nine points during the run) and Katie Fitzgerald (1.50 goals-against average and WCHA-best .947 save percentage the last two weekends). SCSU freshman Julia Tylke leads all NCAA rookies with eight points (four goals and four assists) over the past two weekends.

- Stellar Sophomores: A pair of second-year forwards are continuing their impressive point-scoring streaks. Wisconsin's Annie Pankowski is on a 17-game streak dating back to the 2015 Final Face-Off championship game, totaling 30 points (13g-17a) during a run that is now tied for the seventh-longest in WCHA history. Beginning with the 2015 Frozen Four semifinal, Minnesota's Kelly Pannek has logged 26 points (13g-13a), while finding her name on the scoresheet in 16-straight games.

- Brandt Watch: One of the all-time great players in WCHA history, Minnesota senior forward Hannah Brandt continues to move up the league and NCAA record books. Entering this weekend, she is tied with Krissy Wendell for eighth in WCHA history (since 1999-2000) with 106 career goals (UMD's Jenny Potter and UW's Meghan Duggan are tied for sixth with 108), fourth with 147 assists (Potter is third with 148) and fifth with 253 points (Potter is fourth with 256). In NCAA Division I history (since 2000-01), Brandt is tied for 12th for goals (Wayne State's Sam Poynton is 11th with 107), fourth for assists (Monique Lamoureux, who posted 152 with UMN and UND, is third) and seventh for points (UW's Hilary Knight is sixth with 262).


By the Numbers

- .846: NCAA-best winning percentage for WCHA teams in nonconference play, including a 4-0-0 mark last weekend. The WCHA has ten nonconference games this weekend, against teams from CHA (4 games), ECAC Hockey (4) and Hockey East (2).

- 282.6: NCAA-high strength of schedule rating for Minnesota Duluth. The Bulldogs will face its sixth top-ten opponent of the season - and fourth-straight - this weekend when they host No. 8 Harvard.

- 2,212: Days, when the puck drops Friday, since 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 41-game nonconference unbeaten streak (38-0-3).


The Week Ahead

- No. 3 Minnesota at Minnesota State: The only WCHA series of the weekend sends the third-ranked Gophers to Mankato for two games against the Mavericks. Minnesota State is looking for its first league points of the year, while Minnesota could move into first place in the WCHA standings with four-or-more points.

- Dartmouth at No. 1 Wisconsin: The top-ranked Badgers welcome the ECAC's third-place team, Dartmouth, to LaBahn Arena. The Big Green, which spent a week in the USCHO.com poll, is 4-2-2 overall.

- No. 9 North Dakota at Syracuse: The Fighting Hawks, undefeated in seven road games this season (5-0-2), travel to New York to face Syracuse. The Orange are in second place in College Hockey America with a 4-1-1 league mark.

- No. 8 Harvard at No. 10 Minnesota Duluth: Bulldogs' head coach Maura Crowell will face a familiar foe this weekend, having spent the past five seasons on the Harvard bench as assistant coach (2010-13), interim head coach (2013-14) and associate head coach (2014-15). During her time in Cambridge, the Crimson went 113-40-15 and made three NCAA tournament appearances.

- St. Cloud State at Lindenwood: The Huskies take their four-game winning streak on the road to St. Louis, Mo. to face Lindenwood. SCSU swept its other nonconference road series, opening the season with two wins at Merrimack.

- Ohio State at Vermont / vs. Boston University: The Buckeyes will participate in the Windjammer Classic in Burlington, Vt. OSU will skate against the host Catamounts on Saturday before facing Boston University on Sunday.