- Leading at the Polls: Four women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) teams are in the top-10 of the national opinion polls, including three in the top-five. The four representatives match ECAC Hockey for the most of any conference.
- Wisconsin remains No. 1 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine polls, followed by No. 2 Minnesota, No. 4 Minnesota Duluth and No. 9 North Dakota.
- Winning Hockey: Not surprisingly, the WCHA has five teams in the top-16 nationally for both overall wins and winning percentage.
- Wisconsin is tied for second in the NCAA with 14 wins, while Minnesota is tied for fourth with 13, Minnesota Duluth is tied for eighth with 10, and North Dakota and Ohio State are both tied for 14th with seven wins apiece.
- The Badgers' .906 winning percentage (14-1-1) ranks second nationally, the Gophers are third at .875 (13-1-2), the Bulldogs are tied for seventh at .719 (10-3-3), the Fighting Hawks are 14th at .562 (7-5-4) and the Buckeyes - despite being just under .500 - are in the upper 50-percent of NCAA teams at .469 (16th, 7-8-1).
- Border Battle: The eyes of the college hockey world will be on Madison, Wis. and LaBahn Arena this weekend, as No. 1 Wisconsin hosts No. 2 Minnesota in the latest installment of the Badgers-Gophers "Border Battle."
- This will be the 13th and 14th meetings since 2008 between teams ranked Nos. 1-2 in the USCHO.com poll - with all of those matchups being Minnesota-Wisconsin games. The Gophers have gone 7-2-3 in that span.
- The teams played six epic games in 2015-16, with each team winning three. Both teams earned regular season sweeps on home ice, Wisconsin captured a 1-0 victory in the WCHA Final Face-Off championship game, and Minnesota won 3-2 in overtime in a NCAA Frozen Four semifinal. Three of last season's games went to overtime.
- Minnesota holds a 48-29-9 lead in the all-time series, including a 16-3-1 advantage in the last 20 contests.
- WCHA on FOX: Sunday's series finale between the Gophers and Badgers will be aired live on FOX Sports Wisconsin and FOX Sports North (FSN), marking the first of a nine-game WCHA package on FSN.
- The region's preeminent sports network will televise eight regular season contests during the 2016-17 campaign, plus the WCHA Final Face-Off championship game.
- Brian Posick (play-by-play) and Bill Brophy (analyst) will handle broadcast duties for this Sunday's Border Battle.
- We Are WCHA: Once again, the top-four teams in NCAA D-I women's hockey for average and total attendance are WCHA schools.
- Wisconsin leads the country with an average of 2,168 fans per game at LaBahn Arena; Minnesota is second by welcoming 1,563 each night to Ridder Arena; Minnesota Duluth ranks third by hosting 1,041 per contest at AMSOIL Arena; and, North Dakota is fourth with an average of 943 per game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
- Nonconference Success: The WCHA went 5-4-1 in nonconference play last weekend, and continues to have the nation's best winning percentage in such contests at .768 (20-5-3).
By the Numbers
- 1-2-3: NCAA rank in points-per-game, respectively, for the Minnesota line of junior Kelly Pannek (2.00), senior Dani Cameranesi (1.88) and sophomore Sarah Potomak (1.69). Pannek leads the country with 24 assists and 32 points, Cameranesi is tops with 18 goals and Potomak paces the nation with five game-winning goals and a +26 rating.
- 2: Shutouts this season by St. Cloud State's Janine Alder, second among NCAA freshmen and the most ever by a SCSU rookie.
- 10: Straight games in which Ohio State has not allowed a power-play goal, matching St. Lawrence for the NCAA's longest active streak. The Buckeyes' penalty-kill is 19-for-19 in that span; by comparison, five NCAA teams have allowed at least 10 power-play goals in their last 10 games.
- 31: Active home unbeaten streak for Wisconsin, the longest in program history. The Badgers have not lost at LaBahn Arena since Feb. 20, 2015 (a 2-1 setback to St. Cloud State).
- 199: Career points for Minnesota senior Dani Cameranesi (93g-106a), one shy of becoming the 19th player in WCHA history (since 1999) to reach the 200-point plateau. She would become the sixth Gopher since 1999 to reach that mark (eighth overall in program history).
The Week Ahead
- Full Slate of WCHA Series: In addition to the aforementioned Border Battle between No. 1 Wisconsin and No. 2 Minnesota, three other WCHA series are on tap this weekend:
- Bemidji State at Minnesota State: Intra-state rivals meet for the first time this season. The Beavers are on a nine-game winning streak and lead the all-time series, 35-24-10.
- No. 4 Minnesota Duluth at St. Cloud State: These Minnesota schools are also playing for the first time in 2016-17. The Bulldogs went 2-1-1 against the Huskies last season and are 56-11-5 all-time against SCSU.
- No. 9 North Dakota at Ohio State: The Fighting Hawks hit the road for the first time since Oct. 29, while the Buckeyes open a four-game homestand. UND is 7-2-1 in the last 10 meetings, but OSU leads the all-time series by a narrow 24-22-4 margin.
The Week in Review
- Second-ranked Minnesota continued its winning ways in the lone WCHA series last weekend, sweeping visiting Bemidji State despite the best efforts of Beavers' goaltender Brittni Mowat (NCAA-high 92 saves).
- Top-ranked Wisconsin continued to roll, running its home unbeaten streak to 31 games with a nonconference sweep of visiting Cornell.
- Minnesota Duluth traveled East over the holiday weekend and came away with two nonconference wins, as the No. 4/3 Bulldogs swept host Harvard.
- North Dakota flipped the script in the series finale to split the nonconference series with visting Syracuse, as the No. 9 Fighting Hawks earned a 3-0 win Saturday.
- St. Cloud State dropped a pair of nonconference contests at the Windjammer Classic in Burlington, Vt.
- Goals were hard to come by for Minnesota State in a nonconference series against Lindenwood, but the host Mavericks rallied for a 1-1 tie in Saturday's series finale.
- Full recaps and box scores are available at wcha.com.
at No. 2 Minnesota 4, Bemijdi State 0
at No. 2 Minnesota 4, Bemidji State 1
(Nov. 26 and 27 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)
Second-ranked Minnesota continued its winning ways in the lone WCHA series last weekend, sweeping visiting Bemidji State despite the best efforts of Beavers' goaltender Brittni Mowat (NCAA-high 92 saves).
The teams were stuck at zeros Saturday until the Gophers broke the tie at the 13:44 mark of the second on Dani Cameranesi's 15th goal of the season. Cameranesi would add another, while Kelly Pannek and Kate Schipper also scored to give the Gophers a 4-0 victory. Mowat finished the night with 47 saves, while on the other end Sidney Peters collected an 18-save shutout for the Gophers.
Minnesota carried its scoring ways over into Sunday's series finale. Pannek got a pair of goals in the first period to put the home team up 2-0 going into the break. Bemidji State's Madison Hutchinson cut the lead in half with less than eight minutes left in the second, before Cameranesi scored a pair of goals to put the visitors away for good in a 4-1. Mowat ended the afternoon with 45 saves.
at No. 1 Wisconsin 3, Cornell 0
at No. 1 Wisconsin 5, Cornell 2
(Nov. 25 and 26 at LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis.)
Top-ranked Wisconsin continued to roll, running its home unbeaten streak to 31 games with a nonconference sweep of visiting Cornell.
Friday, the Badgers put up 54 shots on the visiting Big Red, but did not convert until past the midway point of the third period when Baylee Wellhausen put UW ahead. Soon after, Sarah Nurse and Annie Pankowski added some insurance to give the Badgers the 3-0 win. Freshman goaltender Nikki Cece tallied her first career shutout, stopping all 11 shots she faced.
Saturday's contest saw a 2-2 tie after the first period, but the Badgers scored three unanswered over the final two stanzas for the 5-2 victory. Pankowski snapped the tie with her second goal of the game, the game-winner, at the 5:20 mark of the second period. Sam Cogan and Sydney McKibbon added goals for the final margin.
No. 4/3 Minnesota Duluth 4, at Harvard 1
No. 4/3 Minnesota Duluth 2, at Harvard 1 - OT
(Nov. 25 and 26 at Bright-Landry Hockey Center; Cambridge, Mass.)
Minnesota Duluth traveled East over the holiday weekend and came away with two nonconference wins, as the No. 4/3 Bulldogs swept host Harvard.
Friday, the home team got on the board first midway through the opening frame, but the Bulldogs showed resilience and took over for the rest of the contest. Ashleigh Brykaliuk's eighth goal of the season tied things up seven minutes into the middle period. Senior forward Katherine McGovern put the Bulldogs ahead 11 seconds into the third stanza and then added another five minutes later as UMD finished off a 4-1 victory. UMD goaltender Maddie Rooney tallied 24 saves on 25 shots she faced.
Saturday, the teams were locked at 0-0 until nine minutes into the final frame, when the Crimson slipped one past Rooney. But UMD would tie things up with just over a minute left in regulation off the stick of Brykaliuk. It was another senior who would be the hero as defenseman Sidney Morin got the game-winner in overtime period to secure the road sweep for the Bulldogs.
Syracuse 3, at No. 9 North Dakota 0
at No. 9 North Dakota 3, Syracuse 0
(Nov. 25 and 26 at Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.)
North Dakota flipped the script in the series finale to split the nonconference series with visting Syracuse, as the No. 9 Fighting Hawks earned a 3-0 win Saturday.
Friday afternoon, North Dakota attempted 53 shots and had 19 of those on net but couldn't get anything on the board in a 3-0 loss. Syracuse scored once in each period for the road win.
Saturday, the Fighting Hawks turned things around. Ryleigh Houston got a first period power-play goal to give UND the lead early in the first. Emma Nuutinen and Jordan Hampton added some insurance, while Lexie Shaw's 13-save shutout slammed the door on the Orange in a 3-0 victory for the home team.
at Vermont 5, St. Cloud State 1
vs. Robert Morris 5, St. Cloud State 3
(Windjammer Classic - Nov. 25 and 26 at Gutterson Fieldhouse; Burlington, Vt.)
St. Cloud State dropped a pair of nonconference contests at the Windjammer Classic in Burlington, Vt.
Friday, the Huskies were slow out of the gate and let Vermont get to a 3-0 lead in the second frame. The host Catamounts would go up 4-0 before the Huskies managed to tally their lone goal of the contest off the stick of sophomore forward Julia Tylke. Vermont advanced to the championship game with a 5-1 victory.
In the consolation game Saturday, the Huskies and Robert Morris remained locked at zero in the first frame. But in the second, Huskies forward Lauren Hespenheide gave her team the lead just under five minutes into the period. Robert Morris would tie it up at the 12-minute mark, before SCSU regained the lead on an Alyssa Erickson goal. Kayla Friesen added a third-period goal to extend her team's lead to 3-1, but Robert Morris scored four answered goals for the 5-3, comeback win.. But Robert Morris turned up the intensity, scoring 4 unanswered goals to comeback and take the victory 5-3.
Lindenwood 5, at Minnesota State 1
at Minnesota State 1, Lindenwood 1 - OT
(Nov. 25 and 26 at Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.)
Goals were hard to come by for Minnesota State in a nonconference series against Lindenwood, but the host Mavericks rallied for a 1-1 tie in Saturday's series finale.
Friday, the visiting team jumped to a 4-0 lead before the Mavericks were able to tally their lone goal on the night. Anna Keys scored her first goal of the seaosn, but Minnesota State dropped a 5-1 decision.
Trailing 1-0 late into the second period Saturday, Lindsey Coleman gave the Mavericks new life with a game-tying goal at the 18:55 mark of the stanza. The teams were scoreless throughout the third period and overtime, as Brianna Quade's 23-save effort helped Minnesota State earn a 1-1 tie.