- Polling Place: The top three teams - and four of 10 overall - in this week's national opinion polls are women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) teams. Top-ranked Wisconsin, 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 for the second week in a row, while North Dakota checks in at No. 9. A fifth league team, Bemidji State, is receiving votes.
- Wisconsin leads the NCAA with a .950 winning percentage (9-0-1), while the Badgers and Gophers (9-1-0) are tied for the most wins. At 6-2-2 overall and 5-2-1-1 in WCHA play, Minnesota Duluth is off to its best start since the 2010-11 season (8-2-0 and 6-2-0).
- Nonconference Success: Ohio State hosts Lindenwood this weekend as the WCHA resumes nonconference play. The league is 13-1-2 (.875) thus far against College Hockey America (7-0-1), ECAC Hockey (4-0-0) and Hockey East (2-1-1).
- The WCHA finished 35-8-2 (.800) in nonconference play in 2015-16, and is 213-59-21 (.763) this decade (beginning in 2010-11 and including NCAA tournament games).
- #WeAreWCHA: Many of the world's best hockey players, including 29 current or former WCHA athletes, are in Vierumäki, Finland this week for the 21st annual Four Nations Cup. The WCHA group includes six current WCHA student-athletes and representation from seven of the league's member institutions, competing for each of the four participating countries (United States of America, Canada, Sweden and host Finland).
- Stephanie Anderson, who ended her Bemidji State career in 2015-16, is skating for Team USA.
- Minnesota is represented by current defenseman Lee Stecklein (USA), along with alumnae Megan Bozek, Hannah Brandt and Anne Schleper (USA); Sarah Davis (Canada); and, Noora Räty (Finland).
- Current Minnesota Duluth teammates Maria Lindh and Michelle Löwenhielm are playing for Sweden, while former Bulldogs Haley Irwin, Brigette Lacquette and Jocelyne Larocque are representing Canada.
- Former Minnesota State defenseman Emilia (Andersson) Ramboldt is wearing Sweden's sweater.
- Current North Dakota teammates Anna Kilponen and Vilma Tanskanen have the honor of competing for Finland, the host nation. They are joined on the Finnish team by UND alumnae Michelle Karvinen and Susanna Tapani, while former school greats Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson are playing for Team USA; and, alumna Johanna Fällman is on Team Sweden.
- Ohio State is represented by alumnae Natalie Spooner (Canada), Annie Svedin (Sweden) and Minttu Tuominen (Finland).
- Five players from Wisconsin are skating with Team USA, including current forward Annie Pankowski and former Badgers Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight and Alex Rigsby.
By the Numbers
- 2(nd): NCAA ranks among freshmen goaltenders for St. Cloud State's Janine Alder in the categories of save percentage (.939), goals-against average (1.94), wins (3) and shutouts (1).
- 21: Points by North Dakota's freshman class (11g-10a), tops in the WCHA and tied with Boston College for second nationally (one behind Providence's 22).
- 36: NCAA-high goals scored by Minnesota Duluth. The Bulldogs are third nationally by averaging 3.60 goals per game.
- 42: Career shutouts for Badgers senior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, an all-time Wisconsin record and just one shy of the NCAA mark held by Minnesota's Noora Räty. Desbiens is second nationally with a WCHA-high four blank sheets this season, while she also leads the NCAA with a 0.89 goals-against average.
The Week Ahead
- Bemidji State at No. 1 Wisconsin: Following a perfect 6-0-0 road swing through No. 8 Clarkson, No. 9 North Dakota and Minnesota State, the top-ranked Badgers return home for the first time since Oct. 8. The Beavers, below .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013-14 season, are looking to get back on track in their third-straight series against a ranked opponent. UW has a six-game winning streak in the series (last loss was Jan. 16, 2015), and owns a 63-5-3 all-time record against BSU.
- Minnesota State at No. 2 Minnesota: The second-ranked Gophers, a perfect 6-0-0 at Ridder Arena thus far in 2016-17, remain at home to face the Mavericks. Minnesota is 75-3-3 all-time against Minnesota State, while the Gophers enter this weekend's series riding a 41-game unbeaten streak (40-0-1) against the Mavericks dating back to Dec. 7, 2007.
- Lindenwood at Ohio State: The Buckeyes return to nonconference action by hosting the Lions from College Hockey America. Ohio State holds a perfect 4-0 record against Lindenwood, including a series sweep to begin the year last season.
The Week in Review
- Top-ranked Wisconsin kept their undefeated start to the season rolling, holding off host Minnesota State for a weekend sweep in Mankato.
- No. 2 Minnesota received a combined 16 points from the line of Dani Cameranesi (3g-3a), Kelly Pannek (2g-2a) and Sarah Potomak (1g-5a) en route to a sweep of visiting St. Cloud State.
- No. 3 Minnesota Duluth, enjoying the program's best start since 2010-11, improved to 6-2-2 with a road sweep at Ohio State.
- North Dakota jumped back into the national rankings with a home-and-home sweep over No. 10 Bemidji State.
- Full recaps and box scores are available at wcha.com.
No. 1 Wisconsin 3, at Minnesota State 0
No. 1 Wisconsin 3, at Minnesota State 1
(Oct. 28 and 29 at Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.)
Top-ranked Wisconsin kept their undefeated start to the season rolling, holding off host Minnesota State for a weekend sweep in Mankato.
Minnesota State goaltender Brianna Quade's 34-save effort kept the Mavericks in the game Friday, but the Badgers prevailed, 3-0. Wisconsin defenseman Jenny Ryan got the Badgers' first goal of the night early in the first period on a power-play effort. Sarah Nurse and Sophia Shaver added goals in the second frame, while Ann-Renée Desbiens stopped 14 shots for her 42nd career shutout.
Saturday afternoon, the home team started the scoring, as Mavericks' freshman Demi Gardner tallied her second of the year early in the middle period. Soon after, the Badgers' Mellissa Channell knotted the game up at 1-1 with her first goal this season. UW then added a pair of second-period goals from Baylee Wellhausen (the second off an assist from Desbiens) to finish with a 3-1 victory. Quade had another 34-save effort for the Mavericks.
at No. 2 Minnesota 5, St. Cloud State 2
at No. 2 Minnesota 3, St. Cloud State 0
(Oct. 27 and 28 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)
No. 2 Minnesota received a combined 16 points from the line of Dani Cameranesi (3g-3a), Kelly Pannek (2g-2a) and Sarah Potomak (1g-5a) en route to a sweep of visiting St. Cloud State.
The host Gophers got the scoring going first Thursday night with a Pannek goal late in the opening frame. Potomak pushed the lead to 2-0 after the second period, before a short-handed tally by Cara Piazza and a goal from Cameranesi made it 4-0 early in the final stanza. But the Huskies wouldn't go down quietly, as goals from freshman Kayla Friesen and senior Payge Pena cut the lead in half midway through the final frame. But just as the scoring started, it ended with a goal off the stick of Pannek as the Gophers took the contest, 5-2. St. Cloud State freshman goaltender Janine Alder finished with 33 saves on the night.
Minnesota put forth a dominating defensive effort in the series finale, as they only allowed 9 shots on net from the visiting team. Kate Schipper scored the game-winner midway through the first frame for her first goal of the season. Cameranesi added a pair of insurance goals in the third period to give the Gophers a 3-0 victory and the weekend sweep. Alder finished with 36 saves on the night, while Minnesota's Sidney Peters earned the shutout.
No. 3 Minnesota Duluth 6, at Ohio State 0
No. 3 Minnesota Duluth 3, at Ohio State 2
(Oct. 28 and 29 at OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio)
No. 3 Minnesota Duluth, enjoying the program's best start since 2010-11, improved to 6-2-2 with a road sweep at Ohio State.
Friday night, the Bulldogs scored early and often, netting four first period goals. Lara Stalder got the first two minutes in, her seventh on the season. UMD then scored three more in the closing six minutes of the period, when freshman Sydney Brodt potted a pair and Katherine McGovern scored to go into the locker room up 4-0. It would be McGovern (four-point night) again early in the second, with her sixth goal this season, to push the lead to 5-0. Freshman Brooklyn Schugel added another one for the Bulldogs to finish off the 6-0 victory, while Maddie Rooney (20 stops) and freshman Catherine Johnson (seven) combined for the 27-save shutout.
Saturday was a closer contest, including an exciting final frame. The teams were scoreless until midway through the second period, when Bulldog forward Maria Lindh put one in the back of the net, which was followed soon after with a score by her teammate Ashleigh Brykaliuk. The Buckeyes' Maddie Field cut the lead in half on a power-play goal early in the third period and, after a Sidney Morin goal pushed the UMD lead back up to two, OSU's Samantha Boulay once again brought the home team within a goal. But, the Bulldogs held on behind Rooney's 25 saves for the 3-2 win. Ohio State goaltender Kassidy Sauve finished with 44 stops.
at North Dakota 5, No. 10 Bemidji State 2
North Dakota 2, at No. 10 Bemidji State 0
(Oct. 28 at Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D. and Oct. 29 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)
North Dakota jumped back into the national rankings with a home-and-home sweep over No. 10 Bemidji State.
Friday night in Grand Forks, the Fighting Hawks got three goals from freshmen en route to the 5-2 win. UND jumped out to the quick lead as a pair of rookies lit the lamp early. Hallie Theodosopoulos got her first collegiate goal only two minutes into the game, and Emma Nuutinen scored soon after to put UND up 2-0 heading into the break. Amy Menke got a tally for UND early in the second and, after Bemidji State freshman Abby Halluska scored, another Fighting Hawks rookie – Abbey Stanley – found the back of the net. The Beavers' Jacqueline Kassa continued the freshmen scoring parade, but Menke's empty-netter sealed the win for UND.
The finale from Bemidji's Sanford Center was a low-scoring affair, with only one goal scored before the final minute of regulation. UND freshman Emma Nuutinen scored at the 8:54 mark of the first period, fellow rookie Sarah Lecavalier added an empty-net strike and Lexie Shaw posted a 21-save shutout in the Fighting Hawks' 2-0 victory.