WCHA Week 8: No. 9 North Dakota Hosts No. 3 Minnesota Duluth In Top-10 Matchup
OSU Visits SCSU, While BSU Hosts Exhibition With Whitecaps
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The top series in all of women's college hockey this weekend takes place at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., as the No. 9 Fighting Hawks host the No. 3 Bulldogs after a bye week for both teams.

Opening Face-Off

- Top Three and Four-of-Ten: For the third-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. 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, while North Dakota holds steady at No. 9. A fifth league team, Bemidji State, is receiving votes.

  • The WCHA is tied with ECAC Hockey for the most teams in the top-10 of the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine poll.
  • Wisconsin leads the NCAA with a .958 winning percentage (11-0-1), while the Badgers and Gophers (11-1-0) 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).

- Desbiens Sets NCAA Shutout Record: Ann-Renée Desbiens, the remarkable Wisconsin goaltender, set the all-time NCAA record - regardless of division or gender - with her 43rd and 44th career shutouts this past weekend, as the Badgers blanked Bemidji State.

  • Desbiens matched former Minnesota netminder Noora Räty in UW's 5-0 win this past Saturday, and then set the record with a 6-0 blanking in Sunday's series finale.
  • The senior from La Malbaie, Québec, who also holds the NCAA single-season record with her 21 shutouts in 2015-16, has posted a clean sheet in 45.4 percent of her collegiate starts.

- Hats Off to Boyle: In a 3-0 victory over Lindenwood last Saturday, Ohio State sophomore Lauren Boyle became the first D-I defensemen this season - regardless of gender - to post a hat trick, single-handedly accounting for all the Buckeyes' scoring.

  • Boyle, who also had an assist in OSU's 4-0 win last Friday, was the only NCAA blue-liner last weekend with at least four points, five blocked shots and a rating of at least +4.

- Nonconference Success: Ohio State's sweep of Lindenwood continued the WCHA's strong start in nonconference play. The league is 15-1-2 (.889) thus far against College Hockey America (9-0-1), 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 215-59-21 (.764) this decade (beginning in 2010-11 and including NCAA tournament games).

- 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 with Boston College for the NCAA lead with 28 points (9g-19a), while North Dakota's freshman class is tied for sixth with 21 (11g-10a) and Ohio State's newcomers rank 10th with 19 (6g-13).

  • Minnesota Duluth's freshman corps is just outside the top-10, sitting in 11 with 18 points (8g-10a).
  • St. Cloud State's Janine Alder ranks second among NCAA rookie goaltenders with a .939 save percentage and 1.94 goals-against average.

By the Numbers

- 7: WCHA goaltenders among the national leaders for goals-against average: UW's Ann-Renée Desbiens (first at 0.74), UMN's Sidney Peters (fourth at 1.14), UND's Lexie Shaw (seventh at 1.31), UMD's Maddie Rooney (17th at 1.89), SCSU's Janine Alder (18th at 1.94), OSU's Kassidy Sauve (19th at 1.95) and BSU's Brittni Mowat (25th at 2.30).

- 22: Points apiece, tied for most in the NCAA this season, 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 second nationally with an average of 1.83 points per game.

- 29: Current and former WCHA players who were on the rosters for the United States of America (Gold), Canada (Silver), host Finland (Bronze) and Sweden at last week's 2016 Four Nations Cup tournament.

- 100: Career points by Wisconsin senior Sarah Nurse (62g-38a), as she became the 22nd player in program history to reach the milestone with a two-goal performance last Sunday against Bemidji State.


The Week Ahead

- No. 3 Minnesota Duluth at No. 9 North Dakota: The top series in all of women's college hockey this weekend takes place at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., as the No. 9 Fighting Hawks host the No. 3 Bulldogs after a bye week for both teams. UND is 6-2-2 in the last 10 meetings and 13-5-5 in the last 23 contests. However, UMD still leads the all-time series by a 37-15-5 margin.

- Ohio State at St. Cloud State: The Huskies return home for the first time in over a month, hosting the Buckeyes at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. SCSU won all four meetings in 2015-16 season series (including three, one-goal victories) to win the season series for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign. OSU leads the all-time series, 38-29-8.

- Exhibition - Minnesota Whitecaps at Bemidji State: The Beavers will welcome 2016 alumna and recent 4 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.


The Week in Review

- It was an excting weekend for the Wisconsin faithful at LaBahn Arena, as the top-ranked Badgers saw Ann-Renée Desbiens once again become a NCAA record-holder and Sarah Nurse reach the 100-point plateau during a sweep of visiting Bemidji State.

- No. 2 Minnesota received a combined 19 points from the line of Dani Cameranesi (5g-2a), Kelly Pannek (2g-6a) and Sarah Potomak (1g-3a) en route to a sweep of visiting Minnesota State.

- Behind the stellar goaltending of Kassidy Sauve and the all-around excellence of defenseman Lauren Boyle, host Ohio State came away with a pair of shutout victories over nonconference foe Lindenwood.

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


at No. 1 Wisconsin 5, Bemidji State 0
at No. 1 Wisconsin 6, Bemidji State 0
(Nov. 5 and 6 at LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis.)

It was an exciting weekend for the Wisconsin faithful at LaBahn Arena, as the top-ranked Badgers saw Ann-Renée Desbiens once again become a NCAA record-holder and Sarah Nurse reach the 100-point plateau during a sweep of visiting Bemidji State.

Saturday, Wisconsin took an early lead and never looked back en route to a 5-0 victory. Mikaela Gardner scored the first of her two goals at the 8:41 mark of the first period to open things up. Freshman Presley Norby added two more in the second, before Gardner and rookie Alexis Mauermann finished off the scoring. Desbiens stopped all 22 shots she faced, tying the all-time NCAA record with her 43rd career shutout.

Desbiens made history Sunday afternoon with a 14-save shutout that stands as her NCAA-record 44th collegiate clean sheet. Nurse also enjoyed a milestone, as her second goal of the game made her the 22nd player in Wisconsin history to reach 100 career points. She also opened the game with a short-handed marker, joining freshmen Abby Roque (2g-2a) and Mauermann (2g) in leading the Badgers to a 6-0 triumph.


at No. 2 Minnesota 5, Minnesota State 0
at No. 2 Minnesota 8, Minnesota State 1
(Nov. 4 and 6 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)

No. 2 Minnesota received a combined 19 points from the line of Dani Cameranesi (5g-2a), Kelly Pannek (2g-6a) and Sarah Potomak (1g-3a) en route to a sweep of visiting Minnesota State.

Friday evening, it was all Gophers from beginning to end. Nicole Schammel scored 5:18 into the game, Sydney Baldwin added a third-period goal and, in between, Cameranesi scored a natural hat trick. Pannek assisted on all three Cameranesi goals, while Sidney Peters made 10 saves in the shutout. Minnesota State goaltender Kathryn Bidulka finished with 30 stops.

Sunday, the fans at Ridder Arena didn't see any scoring until the middle frame, but then the teams combined for seven goals over the 20 minutes. Potomak got the scoring started, while the Mavericks responded less than two minutes later off the stick of Amanda Conway. But from there the Gophers took control, scoring the final five goals of the period and six unanswered goals overall. A pair of goals each from Pannek, Cameranesi and Schammel; as well as the exclamation point on the night off the stick of Taylor Williamson, finished off the 8-1 Minnesota win and sweep.


at Ohio State 4, Lindenwood 0
at Ohio State 3, Lindenwood 0
(Nov. 4 and 5 at OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio)

Behind the stellar goaltending of Kassidy Sauve and the all-around excellence of defenseman Lauren Boyle, host Ohio State came away with a pair of shutout victories over nonconference foe Lindenwood.

Friday night, Sauve came up with 32 saves in her second shutout of the season, a 4-0 OSU victory. The Buckeyes got a late push in the final frame after taking a 1-0 lead in the second off the stick of Maddy Field. Ariana DePinto, Katie Mikkelsen and Julianna Iafallo all added goals in the third to cement the win.

After recording an assist Friday night, Boyle took care of all the scoring Saturday with her first career hat trick in OSU's 3-0 win. She scored twice in the first period and added an empty-net goal in the third, becoming the first D-I blue-liner this season with a hat trick (men's or women's). Sauve again shut the door on the visiting Lions, finishing with 25 saves and earning her third shutout of the season.


2016 Four Nations Cup

Continuing to make a mark on the international stage, 29 current or former WCHA players were on rosters for the 2016 Four Nations Cup tournament, which was held between Nov. 1 and Nov. 5 in Vierumäki, Finland.

The 29 women with WCHA ties include representation from seven of the league's member institutions (Bemidji State, Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State, North Dakota, Ohio State, St. Cloud State and Wisconsin), competing for each of the four participating countries.

The United States of America won its second consecutive Four Nations Cup gold medal with a roster featuring 13 WCHA players - including current student-athletes Annie Pankowski (Wisconsin) and Lee Stecklein (Minnesota). Team USA defeated Canada, 5-3, in the championship game behind three combined goals from former Badgers stars Hilary Knight (2g) and Brianna Decker (1g).

Decker led the tournament with five assists and seven points, Knight tied for the lead with three goals, North Dakota standout Monique Lamoureux-Davidson (USA) was tops with a +10 rating, and former Minnesota great Noora Räty (FIN) paced all goaltenders with 86 saves.

The full breakdown of WCHA players on 2016 Four Nations Cup rosters, with the six current student-athletes in bold italics:

- United States (Gold): Shelby Amsley-Benzie, G (UND); Stephanie Anderson, F, (BSU); Megan Bozek, D (UMN); Hannah Brandt, F (UMN); Brianna Decker, F (UW); Meghan Duggan, F (UW); Hilary Knight, F (UW); Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, F (UND); Monique Lamoureux-Morando, D (UND); Annie Pankowski, F (UW); Alex Rigsby, G (UW); Anne Schleper, D (UMN); Lee Stecklein, D (UMN).

- Canada (Silver): Sarah Davis, F (UMN); Haley Irwin, F, (UMD); Brigette Lacquette, D (UMD); Jocelyne Larocque, D (UMD); Natalie Spooner, F (OSU).

- Finland (Bronze): Michelle Karvinen, F (UND); Anna Kilponen, D (UND); Noora Räty, G (UMN); Vilma Tanskanen, F (UND); Susanna Tapani, F (UND); Minttu Tuominen, D (OSU);

- Sweden: Johanna Fällman, D (UND); Maria Lindh, F (UMD); Michelle Löwenhielm, F (UMD); Emilia (Andersson) Ramboldt, D (MSU); Annie Svedin, D (OSU).

* Minnesota alumna Amanda Kessel was named to the original Team USA roster, but was replaced due to injury.