WCHA Weekend Preview: Jan. 22 - 24, 2016
News and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
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The St. Cloud State Huskies return home to host the third-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers

Opening Face-Off

- WCHA Leading at the Polls: The nation's top women's college hockey conference continues to set this season's standard in the opinion polls, with the WCHA matching ECAC Hockey with four ranked teams in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine rankings: No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 3 Minnesota, No. 7 Bemidji State and No. 8 North Dakota.

- Winning Hockey: Not surprisingly, five of the NCAA's top-15 winning percentages also belong to WCHA teams: Wisconsin (second at .938, 22-1-1), Minnesota (fourth at .870, 20-3-0), Bemidji State (ninth at .667, 15-7-2), North Dakota (10th at .659, 13-6-3) and St. Cloud State (15th at .543, 11-9-3).

- Zubko a Hockey Humanitarian Award Nominee: Ohio State senior defenseman Cara Zubko is among 18 nominees (men and women) for the 2016 BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award.

- Johnson Nears Milestone: Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson enters this weekend needing two victories to surpass former Minnesota Duluth bench boss Shannon Miller for third on the all-time NCAA Division I women's hockey wins list. Johnson, in his 13th season with the Badgers, has compiled a 382-72-35 career mark. Miller went 383-144-50 in her 16 campaigns with the Bulldogs.

- Frost Ties Gophers' Coaching Mark: With his team's next victory, Minnesota head coach Brad Frost will become the winningest coach in Gopher women's hockey history. Now in his ninth season as the Gophers' bench boss, Frost enters this weekend's series with an overall record of 278-44-21, matching the career victories total of UMN legend Laura Halldorson (278-67-22).

- Quickly Around the WCHA: U.S. Women's National Team member Stephanie Anderson continues to lead BEMIDJI STATE with seven goals ... MINNESOTA leads the nation in both scoring offense (5.39 goals per game) and power-play percentage (31-for-66, 47.0 percent) ... MINNESOTA DULUTH junior F Ashleigh Brykaliuk has a 10-game point streak, accumulating five goals and 12 assists (17 points) over the span ... MINNESOTA STATE junior G Brianna Quade, who made 80 saves en route to WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors, now ranks second nationally with 682 stops this season ... Junior F Amy Menke, who is 15th nationally with 0.59 goals per game, has moved into the top 10 on NORTH DAKOTA'S all-time scoring list with 67 career points - tied for ninth in program history ... Three OHIO STATE blue-liners - Lauren Boyle (12), Dani Sadek (10) and Cara Zubko (10) - are all in the WCHA's top-10 defenseman in terms of total assists ... ST. CLOUD STATE'S 4-0 season sweep of OSU was the Huskies' first season series victory over the Buckeyes since the 2008-09 campaign ... WISCONSIN sophomore Annie Pankowski leads the Badgers with 38 points (16g-22a) - just four shy of matching her total from her 2014-15 national Rookie of the Year campaign.


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

WCHA

No. 8 North Dakota (10-5-3-1, 34 pts. / 13-6-3) at No. 2 Wisconsin (16-1-1-1, 50 pts. / 22-1-1)
LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis. – Sat., Jan. 22 at 2:07 p.m. CT and Sun., Jan. 23 at 2:07 p.m. CT

- The nearly-weekly all-WCHA, top-10 matchup moves to Madison, Wis., where the Badgers have won a program-record 16-straight games. No. 2 UW will look to avenge its only blemishes to date, as the Fighting Hawks earned a win (3-0) and tie (0-0, with UW winning shootout) back on Dec. 11 and 12 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

- Both teams are coming off road sweeps, as UW won a pair of contests at No. 7 Bemidji State and UND earned six points in the program's first-ever brooming at Minnesota Duluth.

- Senior Meghan Dufault keeps moving up the career-points list at UND. She recently surpassed Alyssa Wiebe (2008-12) for fifth place in program history. She currently has 120 career points, sitting 11 points shy of Michelle Karvinen (2011-14) in fourth.

- North Dakota has the fifth-best penalty kill in the country, second best in the WCHA, averaging a .929 shorthanded efficiency (65-for-70).

- On the flip side, The Badgers lead the NCAA in penalty killing with a .956 clip. UW has killed 65 of its 68 penalties, and has scored six short-handed goals in 24 games.

- Ann-Renιe Desbiens leads the nation in save percentage (.961) and goals-against average (0.69). She also is tied for the NCAA lead in shutouts with 11 and her 11 shutouts this year are the third-most in program history. Desbiens also has 28 career shutouts, which ranks third in program history and is the sixth-best mark in NCAA history.

- UW head coach Mark Johnson is one victory shy of matching former UMD bench boss Shannon Miller for third on the all-time women's hockey wins list. Johnson, in his 13th season with the Badgers, has compiled a 382-72-35 career mark.

- While UND went 1-0-1 earlier this year, UW leads the all-time series, 43-7-4. In Madison, the Badgers are 24-2-0.


No. 7 Bemidji State (10-7-1-0, 31 pts. / 15-7-2) at Minnesota Duluth (6-11-1-0, 19 pts. / 9-14-1)
AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn. – Fri., Jan. 22 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Sun., Jan. 23 at 4:07 p.m. CT

- The Bulldogs continue a season-long six-game homestand by welcoming the seventh-ranked Beavers to AMSOIL Arena.

- Both teams will be looking to bounce back after being swept last weekend (BSU by No. 2 Wisconsin and UMD by No. 8 North Dakota).

- The last time these teams met, BSU goaltender Brittni Mowat was outstanding, stopping 62-of-63 shots during the Beavers' sweep Oct. 9-10.

- Mowat ranks eighth nationally this season for both goals-against average (1.62) and save percentage (.940).

- Bulldogs' D Sidney Morin has a goal in three-straight games, matching a career-high points streak. The junior has 11 career goals, tying her for 10th on UMD's all-time career scoring chart for defensemen with Julianne "Montana" Vasichek (2001-2005).

- UMD junior F Ashleigh Brykaliuk has a 10-game point streak, accumulating five goals and 12 assists (17 points) over the span.

- Minnesota Duluth leads the all-time series, 62-10-2. However, under second year head coach Jim Scanlan, Bemidji State is 6-3-0. The last time the Beavers were in Duluth, Bemidji State defeated UMD, 2-1, in overtime in the deciding third game of the 2015 WCHA quarterfinals.


Ohio State (3-15-0-0, 9 pts. / 7-17-0) at Minnesota State (0-17-1-0, 1 pt. / 3-19-2)
Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn. – Fri., Jan. 22 and Sat., Jan. 23 (2:07 p.m. CT both days)

- The Buckeyes will look to snap a five-game losing streak this weekend in Mankato. The Mavericks are playing some of their best hockey without much to show for it, following a Jan.8 tie by losing three-straight one-goal contests.

- Last weekend, OSU dropped a pair at home against St. Cloud State, while MSU lost a pair of tightly-contested, one-goal contests at No. 3 Minnesota.

- Three OSU blue-liners: Lauren Boyle (12), Dani Sadek (10) and Cara Zubko (10) are all in the WCHA's top-10 defensemen in terms of total assists.

- Zubko was nominated for the 2016 Hockey Humanitarian award earlier this week. This gives Ohio State its second nomination in two years.

- Coming off an 80-save weekend, Mavericks' junior G Brianna Quade – the reigning WCHA Defensive Player of the Week – now ranks second nationally with 682 stops.

- Minnesota State has scored 36 goals this season with 30 of them being produced by sophomores and freshman (83 %).

- In their previous meetings this season, the Buckeyes defeated the Mavericks by scores of 5-3 (Oct. 23) and 4-0 (Oct. 24) in Columbus.


No. 3 Minnesota (15-3-0-0, 45 pts. / 20-3-0) at St. Cloud State (7-8-3-3, 27 pts. / 11-9-3)
Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn. – Fri., Jan. 22 and Sat., Jan. 23 (3:07 p.m. CT both days)

- The Huskies return home to host the third-ranked Gophers, who have won 28-straight against SCSU (including all three meetings this season). This series marks SCSU's first at home since Nov. 20-21; the Huskies are 4-0-1 in their last five games at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

- Both teams are coming off sweeps, with SCSU earning two road wins at Ohio State and UMN surviving two scares from visiting Minnesota State.

- Gophers' linemates Hannah Brandt (20g- 21a), Dani Cameranesi (22g, 24a), and Sarah Potomak (9g-31a) are among the nation's top-six leading scorers for points per game.

- With just one win this weekend, Minnesota head coach Brad Frost will become the winningest coach in Gopher women's hockey history. Frost enters this weekend with an overall record of 278-44-21, matching Laura Halldorson on the school's all-time wins list.

- SCSU freshman F Julia Tylke has continued to play a crucial role, scoring the game-winning goal in both games last weekend to earn WCHA Rookie of the Week accolades.

- SCSU senior G Katie Fitzgerald had a stellar performance in last weekend's series. Despite being outshot by the Buckeyes 62-37 in the series, Fitzgerald stopped 60 of 62 shots to guide the Huskies to the sweep. She now ranks 25th nationally with a 2.74 goals-against average.