WCHA Week 11: Top-Three Border Battle On Tap As No. 1 Wisconsin Hosts No. 3 Minnesota; No. 6/5 Bemidji State Hosts No. 9 North Dakota & St. Cloud State Visits Minnesota Duluth
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A top-three Border Battle awaits in Madison, as the top-ranked and undefeated Badgers host the No. 3, one-loss Gophers in what is arguably the finest series in women's college hockey.

Opening Face-Off

- Badgers, WCHA Leading at the Polls: The WCHA continues to have an NCAA-best presence in the national polls, with five of the league's eight teams ranked in the top ten. Wisconsin, which is off to the best start in program history, remains the nation's No. 1 for the fifth-straight week in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine polls. The Badgers are followed by No. 3 Minnesota, No. 6/5 Bemidji State, No. 9 North Dakota and No. 10 Minnesota Duluth.

- Winning Hockey: Not surprisingly, four of the NCAA's top-ten (and five of the top-15) winning percentages also belong to WCHA teams. At 16-0-0, Wisconsin is one of just two remaining unbeaten and untied teams (along with 17-0-0 Boston College). Minnesota (15-1-0, .938) is third, while Bemidji State (12-4-2, .722) is seventh, North Dakota (9-5-2, .625) is tied for tenth and St. Cloud State (8-7-1, .531) is tied for 15th.

- Badgers Continue Historic Start: The Badgers' 16-0-0 start is the best in program history, while the 16-game winning streak is the third-longest streak in school history and the fifth-longest in WCHA history. It is also UW's longest streak to occur in a single season.

- Husky Pride: Under the leadership of second-year head coach Eric Rud, St. Cloud State has put together a program-record sixgame winning streak to finish November at a perfect 6-0-0. The run, which includes consecutive home sweeps of WCHA series, continued last weekend with a pair of road wins at Lindenwood. SCSU is edging closer to the program's longest-ever unbeaten streak, an eight-game run from Dec. 8, 2007 through Jan. 19, 2008 (6-0-2). The Huskies have been led during the streak by seniors Molly Illikainen (eight goals - including three game-winners - and five assists for 13 points during the run) and Katie Fitzgerald (1.33 goals-against average and 950 save percentage the last three weekends). SCSU freshman Julia Tylke has scored in all six games (4g-6a--10pts), while factoring in four of the Huskies' six game-winning goals (scoring one and assisting on three others).

- Bulldog Strong: Despite a below .500 record, Minnesota Duluth remains ranked in the top ten due to its solid showing against one of the nation's toughest schedules. The Bulldogs have played the NCAA's strongest schedule to date according to the KRACH ratings, and are No. 2 by RPI (just behind Yale). UMD's consecutive wins over North Dakota (Nov. 21) and Harvard (Nov. 27) marked the Bulldogs' first back-to-back victories over nationally ranked opponents since Jan. 25-26, 2013.

- Stellar Sophomores: Three second-year forwards are continuing impressive streaks. Wisconsin's Annie Pankowski is on a 19-game point streak dating back to the 2015 Final Face-Off championship game, totaling 33 points (14g-19a) during a run that is now tied for the fourth-longest in WCHA history. Her Badgers' teammate, Emily Clark, has scored a goal in six-straight contests (seven total) - tied for the fourth-longest in Wisconsin and WCHA history. Beginning with the 2015 Frozen Four semifinal, Minnesota's Kelly Pannek has logged 28 points (14g-14a), while finding her name on the scoresheet in 18-straight games - the fifth-longest streak in league annals.

- 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 ranks sixth in WCHA history (since 1999-2000) with 109 career goals (Monique Lamoureux, who scored 113 with UMN and UND, is fifth), third with 149 assists (M. Lamoureux is second with 149) and fourth with 258 points (UW's Hilary Knight is fourth with 262). In NCAA Division I history (since 2000-01), Brandt is ninth for goals (M. Lamoureux and Dartmouth's Katie Weatherston are tied for eighth), fourth for assists (M. Lamoureux is third) and fifth for points (Knight is fourth).


By The Numbers

- 7: Points by Minnesota freshman Sarah Potomak last Friday at Minnesota State (2g-5a), matching the Gophers' program record and tied for the third-highest single-game output in WCHA history.

- 8: Wins this season by St. Cloud State (8-7-1), matching the Huskies' victory total from all of 2014-15 (8-28-1).

- 26 and 51: Career shutouts and victories for Wisconsin junior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, to fourth and 11th in WCHA history, respectively.


The Week Ahead

- No. 3 Minnesota at No. 1 Wisconsin: A top-three Border Battle awaits in Madison, as the top-ranked and undefeated Badgers host the No. 3, one-loss Gophers in what is arguably the finest series in women's college hockey.

- No. 9 North Dakota at No. 6/5 Bemidji State: A second top-ten series involving WCHA teams takes place this weekend at the Sanford Center, as the Fighting Hawks visit the Beavers.

- St. Cloud State at No. 10 Minnesota Duluth: The Huskies bring their program-record six-game winning streak to AMSOIL Arena to face the Bulldogs, who have won two of their last three contests.


The Week in Review

- No. 3 Minnesota jumped into first place in the WCHA standings following a series sweep at Minnesota State, as the Gophers won twice in very different fashions.

- A top-10 nonconference series at AMSOIL Arena resulted in a split, as No. 10 Minnesota Duluth won Friday and No. 8 Harvard won Saturday

- No. 9 North Dakota traveled to New York and split a nonconference road series at Syracuse.

- Ohio State took part in the Windjammer Classic in Vermont this past weekend, handing the host Catamounts a 5-2 loss before falling to Boston University by a 5-3 margin.

- St. Cloud State ran its program-record winning streak to six-straight games following a nonconference road sweep at Lindenwood.

- Nationally top-ranked Wisconsin continued their program-best start, improving to 16-0-0 with its weekend sweep over Dartmouth.

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


No. 3 Minnesota 11, at Minnesota State 1
No. 3 Minnesota 2, at Minnesota State 1
(November 27 and 28 at Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.)

No. 3 Minnesota jumped into first place in the WCHA standings following a series sweep at Minnesota State, as the Gophers won twice in very different fashions.

Friday's contest was all about the Gophers, as Minnesota's high-flying offense produced an 11-1 victory. Minnesota received 17 points from its top line, led by freshman Sarah Potomak, who tied a program record with seven points (2g-5a). Hannah Brandt contributed a hat trick and two assists, while Dani Cameranesi added two goals and three helpers. The team's offense did not come from just the forwards; Megan Wolfe compiled three assists from the blue line and was +4 on the night.

Saturday night's game took on an entirely different tone, with the Gophers winning 2-1. Again, Minnesota scored first with a Cara Piazza goal at the 11:05 mark of the first period. The Mavericks' Hannah Davidson responded with a game-tying, power-play goal in the second. However, Cameranesi netted the game-winner at the 14:32 mark of the stanza. MSU goaltender Brianna Quade finished with 29 saves.


at No. 10 Minnesota Duluth 4, No. 8 Harvard 2
No. 8 Harvard 4, at No. 10 Minnesota Duluth 1
(November 27 and 28 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)

A top-10 nonconference series at AMSOIL Arena resulted in a split, as No. 10 Minnesota Duluth won Friday and No. 8 Harvard won Saturday.

The weekend's scoring started very early as the Bulldogs' Ashleigh Brykaliuk scored her fifth goal of the season just 0:31 into Friday's game. However, before the first period was done Harvard would answer the Bulldogs with the tying goal. In the second, both teams would score to level the game at two goals each (with Michela Cava scoring for the Bulldogs). UMD won the third period – and the game – behind Brykaliuk's second goal and a power-play strike by Catherine Daoust. UMD freshman goaltender Maddie Rooney finished with 28 saves for the win.

Saturday's contest favored visiting Harvard. The Crimson would strike first and score three unanswered goals, giving them a 3-0 lead going into the final period of action. Lara Stalder would give the Bulldogs a last-minute push with a goal just over five minutes into the third, but it was not enough in a 4-1 setback.


No. 9 North Dakota 3, at Syracuse 0
at Syracuse 5, No. 9 North Dakota 2
(November 27 and 28 at War Memorial Arena; Syracuse, N.Y.)

No. 9 North Dakota traveled to New York and split a nonconference road series at Syracuse.

The Fighting Hawks captured game one, 3-0, behind the 17th career shutout from senior goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie (19 saves). Offensively, forwards Becca Kohler and Amy Menke each had two-point efforts with a goal and assist apiece. Meghan Dufault also had a pair of assists, while Gracen Hirschy scored on the power play.

The second half of the weekend series went to the Orange by a score of 5-2. Trailing 3-1 heading into the third period, Kohler scored her second goal of the game (third of the weekend) to bring UND within one, but Syracuse added two late goals for the win.


Ohio State 5, at Vermont 2
vs. Boston University 5, Ohio State 3
(November 28 and 29 at Gutterson Fieldhouse; Burlington, Vt.)

Ohio State took part in the Windjammer Classic in Vermont this past weekend, handing the host Catamounts a 5-2 loss before falling to Boston University by a 5-3 margin.

OSU snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday with a solid all-around effort. Katie Matheny led the offensive charge with two goals, while Dani Sadek had a pair of assists. Julianna Iafallo and Kendall Curtis also scored during a three-goal second period, while Lauren Spring provided the final margin with a third-period tally. Alex LaMere made 30 stops in net for the Buckeyes.

Sunday, the Buckeyes faced off against Boston University. The Terriers got their offense going early with two first period goals. Trailing 3-0, Maddy Field scored for OSU; then, facing a 4-1, third-period deficit, the Buckeyes got within one behind goals from Julia McKinnon and Curtis before falling just short.


St. Cloud State 2, at Lindenwood 0
St. Cloud State 3, at Lindenwood 2
(November 28 and 29 at Lindenwood Ice Arena; St. Charles, Mo.)

St. Cloud State ran its program-record winning streak to six-straight games following a nonconference road sweep at Lindenwood.

Following a scoreless first period Friday, SCSU senior Molly Illikainen scored the game-winner at the 6:28 mark of the second stanza. Payge Pena added an empty-net goal for the final margin, while Huskies' senior goaltender Katie Fitzgerald posted her first shutout of the season with a 21-save effort.

Illikainen was again the offensive hero on Sunday, factoring in all three Huskies' goals in a 3-2 win. The senior assisted on Brittney Anderson's first-period goal, scored in the second and then broke a 2-2 tie with the game-winner at the 10:54 mark of the third period. Fitzgerald also shone in net with 24 saves.


at No. 1 Wisconsin 4, vs. Dartmouth 1
at No. 1 Wisconsin 4, vs. Dartmouth 0
(November 27 and 28 at LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis.)

Nationally top-ranked Wisconsin continued their program-best start, improving to 16-0-0 with its weekend sweep over Dartmouth.

Friday night's game was played in front of a sold-out crowd and the home team did not disappoint in a 4-1 victory. Emily Clark led the way, assisting on Annie Pankowski's game-winner and scoring the final Badger tally. Jenny Ryan, who leads all NCAA defensemen in scoring, potted the game-winner, while Ann-Renée Desbiens made 21 saves en route to her 50th career victory.

Saturday was similar for the Badgers, as UW scored four goals and saw Desbiens post another shutout – the 26th of her career. Sarah Nurse collected her 10th and 11th goals this season as she scored the game's first two goals, both coming on the power play. Sydney McKibbon would pick up an assist on each of Nurse's goals as well as an assist on a goal scored by Clark, who extended her goal-scoring streak to six-straight games. Pankowski would see her name on the score sheet for the 19th-straight game, as she collected two assists.