WCHA Week 9: Pair Of Top-10 Matchups Among Four Exciting WCHA Series
No. 3 UMD Hosts No. 1 UW; No. 2 UMN Visits No. 9 UND; OSU Is At MSU and BSU Welcomes SCSU
photo
No. 3 Minnesota Duluth hosts top-ranked Wisconsin for two games this weekend.

Opening Face-Off

- Top Three and Four-of-Ten: For the fourth-straight week, the top three teams - and four of 10 overall - in the national opinion polls are women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) programs. Wisconsin (the unanimous No. 1), No. 2 Minnesota and No. 3 Minnesota Duluth hold the top three spots in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine polls, while North Dakota holds steady at No. 9. A fifth league team, Bemidji State, is receiving votes in the USCHO.com polls.

  • The WCHA is tied with ECAC Hockey for the most teams in the top-10 of the national rankings.
  • Wisconsin is tied for second nationally with a .958 winning percentage (11-0-1), while the Badgers and Minnesota (11-1-0) are tied for the second-most wins in the NCAA. At 7-2-3 overall and 6-2-2-1 in WCHA play, Minnesota Duluth is off to its best start since the 2010-11 season (9-3-0 and 7-3-0).

- The Kids are Alright: Three of the country's top-10 highest-scoring freshman classes skate in the WCHA. Wisconsin's rookie corps is tied for third with 28 points (9g-19a), while North Dakota's freshman class is tied for eighth with 24 (11g-13a) and Ohio State's newcomers rank 10th with 23 (9g-14a).

  • St. Cloud State's Janine Alder leads all NCAA rookie goaltenders with a .939 save percentage and 1.84 goals-against average.

- Excellence On the Ice and In the Classroom: WCHA programs continue to excel in all facets of the college experience, as five schools had a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 90-or-above in the latest set of data released by the NCAA. The rates, based on student-athletes who entered college in 2009, show Minnesota at 100 percent, Ohio State at 96, Minnesota Duluth at 94, North Dakota at 92 and Wisconsin at 91. Bemidji State's 87 percent mark was also above the national 86 percent GSR for all Division I student-athletes.


By the Numbers

- 7: WCHA goaltenders among the national leaders for goals-against average: UW's Ann-Renée Desbiens (second at 0.74), UMN's Sidney Peters (third at 1.14), UND's Lexie Shaw (eighth at 1.43), UMD's Maddie Rooney (14th at 1.82), SCSU's Janine Alder (15th at 1.84), OSU's Kassidy Sauve (17th at 1.88) and BSU's Brittni Mowat (24th at 2.30).

- 22: Points apiece, most in the WCHA and tied for second in the NCAA, by the Minnesota line of senior Dani Cameranesi (12g-10a), junior Kelly Pannek (5g-17a) and sophomore Sarah Potomak (10g-12a). Cameranesi paces the country with 12 goals and Pannek leads with 17 assists, while the trio is tied for fourth nationally with an average of 1.83 points per game.

- 94.1: NCAA-best penalty-kill efficiency for North Dakota (48-of-51). The Fighting Hawks are ahead of three other WCHA teams in the top-10, as Wisconsin ranks second at 93.8 percent (45-of-48), Bemidji State is fourth at 92.3 (36-of-39) and Minnesota is tied for sixth at 90.9 (30-of-33).

- 195:15: Scoreless streak for Ohio State, spanning between the 15:25 mark of the third period in its Oct. 29 game against Minnesota Duluth and 9:40 into the first period of the Nov. 12 contest against St. Cloud State. In between, the Buckeyes tied a program record with three-straight shutouts behind NCAA saves leader Kassidy Sauve.


The Week Ahead

- No. 1 Wisconsin at No. 3 Minnesota Duluth: The top series in all of women's college hockey this weekend takes place at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn., as the No. 3 Bulldogs host the top-ranked Badgers. Both teams have excelled at each end of the ice, with Wisconsin tying for second nationally for scoring offense (3.75 goals per game) and leading the NCAA in scoring defense (0.75 goals allowed per game). UMD, meanwhile, ranks eighth by scoring 3.33 goals per game and is tied for ninth by yielding just 1.83. No stranger to ranked opponents, Minnesota Duluth is 3-2-3 this season against top-10 teams. UW leads the all-time series, 39-29-12 and is undefeated in the last 15 meetings (13-0-2), including a win in the 2016 WCHA Final Face-Off semifinals. UMD's last victory was Oct. 14, 2012 (in Duluth).

- No. 2 Minnesota at No. 9 North Dakota: Another all-WCHA, top-10 matchup takes place in Grand Forks, N.D., for the latest installment of the Gophers-Fighting Hawks rivalry. North Dakota's seventh-ranked defense (1.75 goals allowed per game) will try to slow Minnesota's offense, which is tied for second nationally at 3.75 goals per contest. The teams have split four of the last six series at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, including each of the last two years. Minnesota defeated UND in the 2016 WCHA Final Face-Off and now owns a 49-8-1 lead in the all-time series.

- Ohio State at Minnesota State: After splitting last weekend at St. Cloud State, the Buckeyes continue their Minnesota swing with a trip to Mankato face the host Mavericks. After posting shutouts in three of its last four games, Ohio State is up to 13th nationally for scoring defense (2.00 gapg), while goaltender Kassidy Sauve ranks among NCAA leaders for saves (first with 465), save percentage (fourth at .949) and shutouts (tied for third with four). OSU has not lost a season series to Minnesota State since 2008-09.

- St. Cloud State at Bemidji State: In-state rivals meet as the Beavers host the Huskies at the Sanford Center. St. Cloud State is starting a stretch of playing four-straight on the road and six-of-eight to close out the calendar year. BSU senior defenseman Madison Hutchinson continues to lead WCHA defensemen with 0.67 points-per-game (tied for 13th nationally), while SCSU sophomore Julia Tylke is in the NCAA top-25 with seven goals. Bemidji State went 3-0-1 against the Huskies last year to take a 35-31-9 lead in the all-time series.


The Week in Review

- In a taut series between ranked WCHA opponents, No. 3 Minnesota Duluth escaped Ralph Engelstad Arena with four points against No. 9 North Dakota.

- A pair of outstanding goaltending efforts paved the way for each team to earn a win as Ohio State and visiting St. Cloud State each left the weekend with three league points.

- Bemidji State welcomed 2016 alumna and recent Four Nations Cup champion Stephanie Anderson back to the Sanford Center, hosting a pair of exhibition games against the Minnesota Whitecaps. The Whitecaps, an elite team of post-collegiate players, feature 22 former WCHA student-athletes on their roster.

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


No. 3 Minnesota Duluth 2, at No. 9 North Dakota 1
at No. 9 North Dakota 2, No. 3 Minnesota Duluth 2 - OT (UND wins shootout, 1-0)
(Nov. 12 and 13 at Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.)

In a taut series between ranked WCHA opponents, No. 3 Minnesota Duluth escaped Ralph Engelstad Arena with four points against No. 9 North Dakota.

UMD scored two goals in the first period Saturday and sophomore goaltender Maddie Rooney did the rest, making 24 saves in a 2-1 win for the visiting Bulldogs. Lara Stalder and Katerina Mrázová scored within 34 seconds of each other to give UMD a 2-0 lead just 8:06 into the contest. North Dakota drew within one on a Halli Krzyzaniak goal midway through the third period, but Rooney closed the door.

The Bulldogs again jumped out to a 2-0 lead in Sunday's series finale, with Katherine McGovern (first period) and Sidney Morin (second period) each scoring. This time, however, the Fighting Hawks were able to complete the rally, as Amy Menke scored in the second stanza and Charly Dahlquist tallied a clutch, game-tying marker with just 29 seconds remaining in regulation. After a scoreless overtime period, freshman Ryleigh Houston - who assisted on the two UND goals in regulation - buried the shootout winner. Rooney finished the contest with 30 saves, while North Dakota's Lexie Shaw made 20 stops - including a combined 12 in the third period and overtime.


Ohio State 3, at St. Cloud State 0
at St. Cloud State 4, Ohio State 1
(Nov. 11 and 12 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)

A pair of outstanding goaltending efforts paved the way for each team to earn a win as Ohio State and visiting St. Cloud State each left the weekend with three league points.

Three freshmen scored goals in Ohio State's 3-0 win in Friday's series opener, while the Buckeyes' third-straight shutout tied a program record originally set between Feb. 24 and March 2, 2001. Crystal Sorem's first collegiate goal, at the 3:35 mark of the second period, proved to be the game-winner. Fellow rookies Samantha Bouley and Jincy Dunne (empty-net) also scored, while goaltender Kassidy Sauve made 20 saves.

St. Cloud State bounced back in a big way in Saturday's series finale, equaling its best offensive output of the season to salvage a series split, 4-1. Four Huskies found the back of the net and nine tallied a point, while freshman goaltender Janine Alder made 23 saves. Freshman Kayla Friesen opened the scoring for SCSU at the 9:40 mark of the first period, Caroline Markstrom and Alyssa Erickson also scored, and Julia Tylke added an empty-net score. In a neat moment for the Buckeyes, the Dunne sisters connected for the first time when freshman Jincy recorded the primary assist on Jessica's first goal of the season.


Minnesota Whitecaps 4, at Bemidji State 1 (Exhibition)
Minnesota Whitecaps 8, at Bemidji State 5 (Exhibition)
(Nov. 11 and 12 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)

Bemidji State welcomed 2016 alumna and recent Four Nations Cup champion Stephanie Anderson back to the Sanford Center, hosting a pair of exhibition games against the Minnesota Whitecaps. The Whitecaps, an elite team of post-collegiate players, feature 22 former WCHA student-athletes on their roster.

Erin Deters made 35 saves for the Beavers on Friday night, while freshman Haley Mack scored off Whitecaps' goaltender and former North Dakota All-American, Shelby Amsley-Benzie.

BSU freshman Jacqueline Kassa (2g) and junior defenseman Alexis Joyce (2g-1a) combined for four goals and five points Saturday, but it was not enough in an 8-5 loss. The Whitecaps received a hat trick from Team USA and former UND star Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, while Anderson tallied an assist on the game-winning goal. BSU senior goaltender Mackenzie Bruch, making her first appearance of the season, had 41 saves.