WCHA Week 16: Hockey Day Minnesota 2017 Comes To The WCHA
SCSU Hosts MSU As The Event Features Women's College Hockey For The First Time; No. 1 UW Hosts UND, No. 2 UMD Visits BSU And No. 4 UMN Welcomes OSU
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St. Cloud State hosts Minnesota State this weekend, with Saturday's contest televised live on FOX Sports North Plus as part of the Hockey Day Minnesota 2017 festivities.

Opening Face-Off

- Topping the Polls: The women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) has three of the top-four teams in the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine polls. Wisconsin remains the unanimous No. 1 in both, followed by No. 2 Minnesota Duluth and No. 4 Minnesota.

  • The Badgers have been atop both polls since the preseason, while the Bulldogs have their highest ranking since Oct. 4, 2010.

- Bulldog Country: Minnesota Duluth ascended to its highest ranking in six years following a sweep of then-No. 2 Minnesota, the Bulldogs' first over the Gophers since Oct. 29-30, 2010. UMD is now 6-3-3 (.625) this season against nationally-ranked opponents.

  • At 15-4-3 (12-4-2-1 WCHA) under second-year head coach Maura Crowell, the Bulldogs have already matched their victory total from 2015-16 (15-21-1) and have surpassed their league mark of a year ago (10-17-1-0).

- "Fill the Bowl" a Rousing Success: Wisconsin drew 15,369 fans for its "Fill the Bowl" game last Saturday at the Kohl Center, making it the highest-attended women's hockey game ever in the United States.

  • The Badgers defeated St. Cloud State, 2-0, in a game that outdrew NHL contests played that day in Florida (14,795) and Arizona (12,015).

- Hockey Day Minnesota Comes to the WCHA: St. Cloud State hosts Minnesota State this weekend, with Saturday's contest televised live on FOX Sports North Plus as part of the Hockey Day Minnesota 2017 festivities.

  • This is the first time in the 11-year history of the event that women's college hockey and the WCHA will be featured, while FSN will also broadcast Friday's series opener.

- Every Game, Every Rink: Between a challenging nonconference slate and the gauntlet of arguably the nation's premier conference, WCHA teams are playing some of D-I's toughest schedules, per the RPI Strength-of-Schedule ledger.

  • Six of the NCAA's top-10 toughest schedules belong to WCHA teams, while the entire membership is in the top-20 of difficulty.
  • Wisconsin has played D-I's toughest schedule to date, while St. Cloud State ranks second, Minnesota Duluth is third, Minnesota is fourth, Bemidji State is sixth, Ohio State is seventh, North Dakota is 12th and Minnesota State is 19th.

- Winning Hockey: Despite these tough schedules, 62.5 percent of WCHA membership is at .500-or-better entering the weekend, currently trailing only Hockey East (6-of-9, 66.7 percent) among D-1 conferences.

  • Wisconsin has the nation's top winning percentage at .891 (20-2-1). Minnesota Duluth is sixth at .750 (15-4-3), Minnesota is seventh at .739 (16-5-2), North Dakota is 12th at .604 (12-7-5) and Ohio State is 18th at .500 (11-11-2).

- 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 3,508 fans per game (including nine dates at LaBahn Arena and one home contest at the Kohl Center); Minnesota is second by welcoming 1,563 each night to Ridder Arena; Minnesota Duluth ranks third by hosting 1,206 per contest at AMSOIL Arena; and, North Dakota is fourth with an average of 902 per game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

By the Numbers

- 11: Wins by Ohio State (11-11-2) under first-year head coach Nadine Muzerall, already surpassing the Buckeyes' 2015-16 victory total (10-25-1).

- 13: Career-long, active point streak (8g-9a=17pts) by Minnesota Duluth senior Ashleigh Brykaliuk, the longest by a Bulldog since Laura Fridfinnson's 13-game run from Jan. 22 to March 7, 2010.

- 15: Points in the last five games (5g-10a) for Wisconsin junior Emily Clark. Last Friday, she and teammate Annie Pankowski became the first Badgers' duo with hat tricks in the same game since Feb. 19, 2011 (Hilary Knight and Madison Packer).

- 17: Career shutouts for Bemidji State senior goaltender Brittni Mowat, one away from matching former All-American Zuzanna Tomcikova for the all-time program record.

- 19: Active point streak (13g-30a=43pts), including an assist in each contest, by Minnesota junior Kelly Pannek. She leads the country with 48 points (13g-35a), 2.09 points per game, 35 assists, and 1.52 assists per game.

- 59: Saves last Saturday by St. Cloud State goaltender Janine Alder, the third-most in program history. With three shutouts this season, she is the first SCSU freshman netminder with multiple clean sheets.

- 99: Career points for North Dakota senior forward Amy Menke (46g-53a), one shy of becoming the seventh 100-point scorer in program history.

- 1,928: Career saves for Minnesota State goaltender Brianna Quade, 72 stops from 2,000. She has eight games this season with 30+ saves.


The Week Ahead

- Minnesota State at St. Cloud State: As mentioned above, the Mavericks and Huskies will face-off Saturday as part of Hockey Day Minnesota 2017, and both games will be televised on either FOX Sports North Plus or FOX Sports North. St. Cloud State earned five points in Mankato on Oct. 21-22, is unbeaten in nine of its last 10 games against Minnesota State (6-1-3) and leads the all-time series, 35-30-10.

- No. 2 Minnesota Duluth at Bemidji State: Coming off their historic sweep of Minnesota, the Bulldogs travel to Bemidji in a rematch of the last two WCHA quarterfinal round series. The Beavers are 8-6-1 against UMD under Jim Scanlan, but the Bulldogs are 65-12-3 all-time in the series. UMD earned five points against BSU at home Oct. 21-22.

- Ohio State at No. 4 Minnesota: The Gophers return home to Ridder Arena for the first time in 54 days, as Buckeyes' bench boss and former Minnesota All-American Nadine Muzerall coaches at her alma mater for the first time. Minnesota won a pair of one-goal games Oct. 21-22 in Columbus and leads the all-time series, 69-8-3.

- North Dakota at No. 1 Wisconsin: The Badgers continue their six-game homestand by welcoming the Fighting Hawks to LaBahn Arena. UW leads the all-time series by a 47-7-4 margin, including an Oct. 22-23 sweep in Grand Forks.


The Week in Review

- Top-ranked Wisconsin earned a sweep of visiting St. Cloud State, but the story of the weekend was the crowd of 15,369 at the Kohl Center on Saturday - making the game the highest-attended women's hockey game ever in the United States.

- Fourth-ranked Minnesota Duluth picked up its first sweep of No. 2 Minnesota since Oct. 29-30, 2010, a pair of victories that vaulted the Bulldogs past the Gophers in this week's national polls.

- Playing for the first time since Dec. 17, North Dakota opened the second half with a road sweep at Minnesota State.

- Goaltenders Kassidy Sauve (Ohio State) and Brittni Mowat (Bemidji State) went toe-to-toe this weekend, with both the Buckeyes and visiting Beavers earning a win.

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


at No. 1 Wisconsin 9, St. Cloud State 0
at No. 1 Wisconsin 2, St. Cloud State 0
(Jan. 13 at LaBahn Arena and Jan. 14 at Kohl Center; Madison, Wis.)

Top-ranked Wisconsin earned a sweep of visiting St. Cloud State, but the story of the weekend was the crowd of 15,369 at the Kohl Center on Saturday - making the game the highest-attended women's hockey game ever in the United States.

Friday at LaBahn Arena, the Badgers got hat tricks from Emily Clark and Annie Pankowski to roll to a 9-0 victory. Clark's three goals were part of a six-point performance, while the duo became the first UW pair to record hat tricks in the same game since Feb. 19, 2011 (Hilary Knight and Madison Packer against Minnesota State). Abby Roque, Presley Norby and Mekenzie Steffen also scored for the Badgers, while Ann-Renée Desbiens made 17 saves en route to her ninth shutout of the season.

The atmosphere at the Kohl Center for the Badgers' "Fill the Bowl" game Saturday was electric, as the UW-SCSU tilt outdrew NHL contests played that day in Florida (14,795) and Arizona (12,015). Clark scored her second-straight game-winner, Baylee Wellhausen also scored and the Badgers finished off the sweep, 2-0. Huskies' goaltender Janine Alder made an astonishing 59 saves - a career-high and the third-most in SCSU history - to keep her team in the game throughout. Desbiens finished with 12 stops in her second-straight shutout, NCAA-leading 10th of the season and 48th of her career (extending her own all-time NCAA record).


at No. 4 Minnesota Duluth 3, No. 2 Minnesota 2
at No. 4 Minnesota Duluth 5, No. 2 Minnesota 3
(Jan. 13 and 14 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)

Fourth-ranked Minnesota Duluth picked up its first sweep of No. 2 Minnesota since Oct. 29-30, 2010, a pair of victories that vaulted the Bulldogs past the Gophers in this week's national polls.

Friday's series opener was tight throughout, with the host Bulldogs outlasting the Gophers, 3-2 following a frenetic final period. UMD took a slim, 1-0 lead into the third period, but three power-play goals in a span of 1:59 resulted in two ties and one lead change. Minnesota's Sarah Potomak tied the score 4:11 into the final stanza, Lara Stalder responded 40 seconds later to once again put UMD on top, then Kelly Pannek scored the equalizer at the 6:10 mark. Tied 2-2 with under five minutes to play, UMD senior Katherine McGovern gave the Bulldogs the lead for good. Maddie Rooney (28 saves) closed the door over the final 4:38, and the Bulldogs had their first victory over Minnesota since Jan. 13, 2012.

The teams were in for another seesaw game the next night. After Pannek and McGovern picked up their second goals of the weekend, Maria Lindh broke the tie in favor of the Bulldogs just over the midway point of the first period. But the Gophers responded, as Sophie Skarzynski capped the four-goal opening stanza. Ashleigh Brykaliuk gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead 4:52 into the second period, before, Stalder put the game away with a pair of goals (one in the second period and one in the third). Rooney made 29 saves and UMD completed the sweep with a 5-3 triumph.


No. 10 North Dakota 3, at Minnesota State 2
No. 10 North Dakota 4, at Minnesota State 0
(Jan. 13 and 14 at Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.)

Playing for the first time since Dec. 17, North Dakota opened the second half with a road sweep at Minnesota State.

The Fighting Hawks needed a third-period rally to win Friday's series opener, scoring twice in the final stanza for the 3-2 victory. After UND took a 1-0 lead after one period, Lindsey Coleman tied things up for the Mavericks 22 seconds into the middle frame. Minnesota State defenseman Megan Hinze then put one in the back of the net to give her team a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. But it was all Fighting Hawks down the stretch. After Halli Krzyzaniak tied things up with her second goal of the game 1:22 into the third period, fellow defenseman Gracen Hirschy put in the game-winner 45 seconds later. Goaltender Lexie Shaw (15 saves) closed the door from there, giving UND the comeback win.

North Dakota picked up right where it left off Saturday, using a three-goal first period to bury the Mavericks. Jordan Hampton opened things up early with a goal 2:12 into the contest, while Ryleigh Houston and Amy Menke also scored in the first 20 minutes. Mankato native Rebekah Kolstad scored in the second period, putting the finishing touches on a 4-0 UND triumph. Freshman goaltender Kristen Campbell made a career-high 22 saves en route to her first collegiate win and shutout.


at Ohio State 2, Bemidji State 1
Bemidji State 3, at Ohio State 1
(Jan. 13 and 14 at OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio.)

Goaltenders Kassidy Sauve (Ohio State) and Brittni Mowat (Bemidji State) went toe-to-toe this weekend, with both the Buckeyes and visiting Beavers earning a win.

Ohio State scored both of its goals in the first period Friday, then held on for a 2-1 victory. Julianna Iafallo connected with her fourth goal of the season to go up 1-0 midway through the first, before freshman Rebecca Freiburger scored the eventual game-winner. Bemidji State's Emma Terres cut the lead in half before heading to the dressing room. From there, Sauve took over, registering 33 of her 45 saves in the final two periods.

The Beavers came out shooting again in Saturday's series finale, registering a pair of first period goals off the sticks of Haley Mack and Lauren Miller to set the stage for a 3-1 triumph. OSU responded with a Dani Sadek goal in the closing minute of the second period, but Mowat's 25-save effort sealed the Beavers' road win. BSU sophomore defenseman Lisa Laiti scored her first career goal, a power-play strike at the 8:41 mark of the third period.