WCHA Weekend Preview: Oct. 21 - 23, 2016
Series news and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
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Ohio State hosts its home opener against No. 2 Minnesota

- The full WCHA weekly release can be found online here.

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


WCHA

No. 1 Wisconsin (3-0-1-1, 11 pts. WCHA / 5-0-1) at No. 9/10 North Dakota (3-1-0-0, 9 pts. WCHA / 4-1-1)
Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D. – Sat., Oct. 22 and Sun., Oct. 23 (both 2:07 p.m. CT)

- A matchup of superb goaltending, as Lexie Shaw (tops in the NCAA with a 0.97 GAA) and the No. 9/10 Fighting Hawks host Ann-Renιe Desbiens (No. 2 at 0.98) and the top-ranked Badgers.

- Sunday's top-10 matchup will be televised live on Midco Sports Network, and will also be simulcast nationally on Fox College Sports Atlantic.

- Wisconsin leads the all-time series against North Dakota 45-7-3 and went 2-1-1-1 last season. UW holds an 18-2-2 record against UND at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, including a memorable 4-1 victory in the 2015 WCHA Final Face-Off.

- Both teams earned sweeps last weekend. The Badgers won twice at then-No. 7 Clarkson, while the Fighting Hawks celebrated their home opener with two victories over Minnesota State.

- The Badgers have one of the most balanced offenses in the NCAA this year, as nine different Badgers have combined to score 21 goals.

- UW sports the nation's top defense, holding opponents to an average of 1.00 goals per contest.

- The Fighting Hawks are tied for fourth nationally among senior scoring with 20 points so far, which is bested only by Minnesota Duluth (40), Boston University (28) and Penn State (22).

- North Dakota's power play (.190) currently ranks third in the WCHA, while its penalty kill (.923) ranks second.


No. 10/9 Bemidji State (2-2-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 4-2-0) at No. 4 Minnesota Duluth (2-2-0-0, 6 pts. WCHA / 3-2-1)
AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn. – Fri., Oct. 21 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Sat., Oct. 22 at 4:07 p.m. CT

- The Beavers and Bulldogs begin the latest installment of a burgeoning rivalry, which has seen one school upset the other in each of the last two WCHA quarterfinals (BSU over UMD in 2015, UMD over BSU in 2016).

- Bemidji State is 6-4-0 in the last 10 meetings - including its first-ever regular season series sweep last year. UMD leads the all-time series, 64-12-5.

- This weekend's series pits a BSU team that is tied for third nationally for scoring defense (1.33 goals allowed per game) against UMD's fourth-ranked offense (3.67 goals per contest).

- Similarly, the Bulldogs have the NCAA's No. 4 power play (23.3 pct., 7-for-30) and the Beavers boast the nation's top-ranked penalty kill (95.0 pct., 19-for-20).

- BSU sophomore F Emily Bergland led the WCHA and tied for second nationally with five points (2g-3a) last weekend, factoring in all five Beaver goals against OSU.

- UMD senior F Lara Stalder ranks second in the NCAA in points per game (2.00) on six goals and six assists for 12 points in six games. Stalder is currently on a six-game scoring streak, having registered points in every Bulldog game so far this season.

- Fellow senior F Katherine McGovern has also recorded a point in all six games so far this season – a career-best, having rung up three goals and five assists for eight points in six games.


No. 2 Minnesota (3-1-0-0, 9 pts. WCHA / 5-1-0) at Ohio State (1-2-1-0, 4 pts. WCHA / 3-2-1)
OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio – Fri., Oct. 21 at 6:07 p.m. ET and Sat., Oct. 22 at 3:07 p.m. ET

- First-year Buckeyes' coach Nadine Muzerall faces her alma mater - and the team she helped to four national championships as an assistant coach - for the first time as Ohio State hosts its home opener against the No. 2 Gophers.

- Minnesota is riding a 40-game unbeaten streak (38-0-2) in the series and has won the last seven-straight contests (including a sweep in the 2016 WCHA quarterfinals). OSU's last win against the Gophers came Oct. 20, 2007, while the Buckeyes' last point came via a Jan. 15, 2015 tie. UMN leads the all-time series, 67-8-3.

- Minnesota head coach Brad Frost enters this weekend's series against Ohio State just two wins away from becoming the 11th head coach in women's D-I hockey history to reach the 300-victory plateau (third to do so all at a WCHA school). Currently in his 10th year with the Gophers, the program's all-time winningest coach has a 298-46-22 (.844) career record.

- Gophers' senior F Kate Schipper is closing in on 100 career points, currently at 94 (28g-66a).

- Ohio State received votes in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine polls this week, marking the first time since February 2015 that the Buckeyes received votes.

- Buckeyes' redshirt sophomore G Kassidy Sauve has continued her hot start to the season. She currently ranks third in the country in save percentage (.956) while playing the fourth-most minutes of any goalie in the country (max. 6 games).


St. Cloud State (1-3-0-0, 3 pts. WCHA / 2-4-0) at Minnesota State (0-4-0-0, 0 pts. WCHA / 2-4-0)
Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn. – Fri., Oct. 21 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Sat., Oct. 22 at 3:07 p.m. CT

- The intra-state rivalry between the Huskies and Mavericks resumes this weekend in Mankato.

- SCSU won the 2015-16 season series, 3-0-1 and is 5-1-2 in the last eight meetings. The Huskies are 34-30-9 (.527) all-time against Minnesota State – SCSU's best mark against a WCHA opponent.

- SCSU sophomore F Julia Tylke has six points (5g-1a) through six games this season. Her five goals are tied for sixth, nationally, and are tied for second among WCHA players.

- Huskies' freshman G Janine Alder boasts a .962 save percentage and 1.15 goals-against average through three games played, the former of which ranks second, nationally.

- MSU is looking to snap a four-game losing streak. The Mavericks scored a season-high three goals in their 4-3 loss to North Dakota on Saturday, including two by sophomore D Megan Hinze.

- Mavericks' sophomore G Kathryn Bidulka has moved into the top-25 nationally for goals-against average, ranking 24th with a 2.43 mark.