WCHA Weekend Preview: Dec. 2 - 4, 2016
Series news and notes for the upcoming weekend of WCHA hockey
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Ohio State opens a four-game homestand with a visit from No. 9 North Dakota

- 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. 2 Minnesota (11-1-2-2, 37 pts. WCHA / 13-1-2) at No. 1 Wisconsin (10-1-1-1, 32 pts. WCHA / 14-1-1)
LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis.
Saturday, Dec. 2 at 3:37 p.m. CT and Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2:07 p.m. CT

- College hockey's top rivalry resumes in grand style, as No. 1 Wisconsin hosts No. 2 Minnesota in the latest installment of the Badgers-Gophers "Border Battle." Sunday's series finale will be televised live on FOX Sports Wisconsin and FOX Sports North.

- 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 being Minnesota-Wisconsin games. The Gophers have gone 7-2-3 in that span, including a sweep at LaBahn Arena in the last such matchup (Oct. 17-18, 2014).

- The teams played an epic six-game series 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 at Ridder Arena, 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.

- The Gophers' nationally fourth-ranked offense (3.56 goals per game) will be up against the NCAA's second-stingiest defense (1.00 goals allowed per game); conversely, the Badgers' third-ranked offense (3.62 gpg) will try to score against the nation's third-best defense (1.31 gapg).

- Minnesota's top forward line of junior Kelly Pannek (8g-24a), senior Dani Cameranesi (18g-12a) and sophomore Sarah Potomak (11g-16a) rank first, second, and tied for third, respectively, in the NCAA for points-per-game.

- UW's balanced offensive attack features 16 different goal-scorers. Junior forward Annie Pankowski has six goals in her last three games.

- UW senior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, the NCAA's all-time leader with 44 career shutouts, tops the country with a 0.74 goals-against average this season. Freshman Nikki Cece is the reigning WCHA Rookie of the Week after earning her first career clean sheet last weekend against Cornell.


Bemidji State (3-10-1-0, 10 pts. WCHA / 5-10-1) at Minnesota State (1-10-1-0, 4 pts. WCHA / 3-11-2)
Verzion Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.
Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 (both 2:07 p.m. CT)

- Intra-state rivals meet for the first time this season, as Minnesota State hosts Bemidji State.

- The Mavericks are 1-1-1 in their last three games, including a 2-1 win over Ohio State in their last WCHA contest – Minnesota State's first league win since Feb. 5, 2015 (snapping a 0-42-4, 46-game winless streak).

- The Beavers are on a nine-game winning streak in the series and are 35-24-10 all-time against Minnesota State.

- BSU senior goaltender Brittni Mowat made an NCAA-high 92 saves last weekend against No. 2 Minnesota, finishing the series with a .920 save percentage.

- Beavers' senior Madison Hutchinson is tied for second among WCHA defensemen with nine points (4g-5a).

- Minnesota State junior forward Lindsey Coleman has scored two of her team-leading three goals in the last three games, netting the game-winner against Ohio State and the game-tying goal in a 1-1 draw with Lindenwood last weekend.


No. 4 Minnesota Duluth (7-3-2-1, 24 pts. WCHA / 10-3-3) at St. Cloud State (4-7-1-1, 14 pts. WCHA / 5-10-1)
Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.
Fri., Dec. 2 at 7:07 p.m. CT and Sat., Dec. 3 at 3:07 p.m. CT

- Another matchup of Minnesota schools, as St. Cloud State and No. 4 Minnesota Duluth face off for the first time this season.

- The Bulldogs went 2-1-1 against the Huskies last season and lead the all-time series, 56-11-5.

- Both teams played on the East Coast last weekend, as UMD swept host Harvard and SCSU dropped a pair to host Vermont and Robert Morris at the Windjammer Classic in Burlington.

- UMD senior forward Ashleigh Brykaliuk has a seven-game point streak, tallying 10 total (4g-6a).

- Sophomore goaltender Maddie Rooney, who has helped the Bulldogs post the NCAA's seventh-best defense to date (1.81 goals allowed per game), was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Month for November.

- Sophomore Julia Tylke and freshman Kayla Friesen led the Huskies with three points apiece last weekend, and are 1-2 for the season in scoring (Tylke has 8g-4a=12 points, while Friesen has 4g-3a=7pts).

- Freshman goaltender Janine Alder has started 10-straight games for SCSU. She ranks second among NCAA netminders with a .926 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against average, while she is the first goalie in St. Cloud State history to post multiple shutouts in her freshman season (two).


No. 9 North Dakota (5-4-3-1, 19 pts. WCHA / 7-5-4) at Ohio State (3-8-1-0, 10 pts. WCHA / 7-8-1)
OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio
Friday, Dec. 2 at 6:07 p.m. ET and Saturday, Dec. 3 at 3:07 p.m. ET

- No. 9 North Dakota hits the road for the first time since Oct. 29, while Ohio State opens a four-game homestand.

- UND is 7-2-1 in the last 10 meetings, narrowing the all-time series gap. OSU holds a narrow advantage of 24-22-4 in the previous 50 games between the schools.

- The Fighting Hawks split a pair of 3-0 nonconference decisions with visiting Syracuse last weekend, while the Buckeyes were idle.

- North Dakota ranks sixth nationally for scoring defense (1.75 goals allowed per game) and third for penalty-kill efficiency (92.4 pct., 61-for-66). Not surprisingly, senior goaltender Lexie Shaw is among the NCAA leaders for goals-against average (fourth at 1.44), save percentage (eighth at .939) and shutouts (fourth with four).

- UND's Emma Nuutinen leads WCHA freshmen and is tied for fifth nationally with seven goals – all on a NCAA rookie-best .233 shooting efficiency.

- Ohio State is 13th nationally for scoring defense (1.94 goals allowed per game). Redshirt sophomore goaltender Kassidy Sauve leads the NCAA with 515 saves, while ranking fourth for save percentage (.948), tied for fourth for shutouts (four) and 14th for goals-against average (1.84).

- The Buckeyes have not allowed a power-play goal for 10-straight games, matching St. Lawrence for the longest active streak in the nation. OSU has killed off all 19 penalties in that span; by comparison, five NCAA teams have allowed at least 10 power-play goals in their last 10 contests.