- Take It From the Top: Led by a new, unanimous national No. 1, the Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) enters Week 5 with four teams in the top-five of the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. The WCHA is tied with ECAC Hockey for the most ranked teams among all conferences.
- Wisconsin, at 8-0-0 the nation's lone remaining unbeaten among teams that have played at least four games, moved to the top of both polls, capturing every first-place vote in each.
- Following a split in Minneapolis, No. 3 Minnesota and No. 4 Ohio State remained steady, as did No. 5 Minnesota Duluth (which swept Bemidji State).
- Every Rink, Every Night: With five of the WCHA's seven teams sitting at .500 or better and with strong nonconference schedules, the league's four ranked teams have played some of the nation's toughest schedules.
- Per the RPI index, Minnesota has played the country's second-toughest ledger to date. Ohio State is third, Minnesota Duluth is fifth and Wisconsin is seventh.
- The trend continues this weekend, with the Gophers and Badgers facing off in Madison, and the Buckeyes traveling to 10th-ranked St. Lawrence.
- Rookies in Net: Long home to some of the nation's best and most-decorated goaltenders, the WCHA has a pair of freshmen turning heads (and stopping pucks) early in the 2018-19 campaign.
- Despite playing just 62.3-percent of her team's minutes, Ohio State's Andrea Braendli (3-2-0 in five starts) is fifth among NCAA Division I goalies with 171 saves. The 2018 Swiss Olympian ranks eighth with a .950 save pct. and 16th with a 1.79 GAA.
- Minnesota State's Abigail Levy has started all six games, led the Mavericks to a 3-3-0 record and ranks fourth nationally with 173 stops. She is 10th with a .945 save pct. and 13th with a 1.65 GAA.
By the Numbers
- 3: NCAA-leading game-winning goals scored by Ohio State senior Madison Field. She now has 10 such goals in her career, tied for the third-most in program history.
- 21 and 35: Wisconsin, which will have played in front of 21-consecutive sellout crowds at LaBahn Arena after this weekend's series, has a school-record 35-game home unbeaten streak (34-0-1). The Badgers' last home loss was a 2-0 setback to Minnesota on Dec. 3, 2016.
The Week Ahead
- Top-Three Border Battle: The premier rivalry in women's college hockey resumes this weekend in Madison, with top-ranked Wisconsin hosting No. 3 Minnesota. The Badgers and Gophers drop the puck at 2:07 p.m. CT on Saturday and Sunday, with both games available live on BTN Plus and FloHockey.tv.
- Wisconsin averages a Division I-best 4.25 goals per game, while Minnesota is third at 3.88. On the other side of the ice, the teams are tied for tied for sixth by yielding just 1.50 goals per contest.
- UW went 5-1-0 against Minnesota in 2017-18, winning all four regular season meetings (all one-goal contests). The Gophers won, 3-1, in the WCHA Final Faceoff championship, before the Badgers earned a 4-0 shutout victory in the NCAA quarterfinal round. Minnesota leads the all-time series, 50-35-11.
- No. 5 Minnesota Duluth at St. Cloud State: There will be a national team presence in the nets this weekend at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, with 2018 Olympians Maddie Rooney of Minnesota Duluth (USA) and Janine Alder of St. Cloud State (Switzerland), along with the Huskies' Emma Polusny (chosen, with Rooney, to represent Team USA at the 2018 4 Nations Cup).
- Both games will be streamed live on FloHockey.tv (Friday at 6:07 p.m. CT and Saturday at 3:07).
- Minnesota State at Bemidji State: The Beavers return home for the first time in October. BSU will host the Mavericks on Friday (6:07 p.m. CT) and Saturday (3:07 p.m. CT), with both games live on FloHockey.tv.
- Minnesota State is .500 through six games for the first time since the 2013-14 season (also 3-3-0).
- No. 4 Ohio State at No. 10 St. Lawrence: The No. 4 Buckeyes face their second test against a ranked nonconference opponent, traveling to face No. 10 St. Lawrence (which upset then-No. 1 Clarkson last weekend).
- OSU is 9-2-0 in nonconference road games under Nadine Muzerall (including NCAA tournament).
The Week in Review
at No. 3 Minnesota 3, No. 4 Ohio State 0
No. 4 Ohio State 3, at No. 3 Minnesota 2
(Oct. 19 and 20 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)
- The weekly top-four WCHA matchup once again did not disappoint, with the No. 3 Gophers and No. 4 Buckeyes playing to a split at Ridder Arena.
- Taylor Williamson scored twice for Minnesota on Friday, while freshman Catie Skaja also lit the lamp and goaltender Alex Gulstene made 18 saves for her first career shutout in a 3-0 victory.
- Ohio State bounced back Saturday to hand the Gophers (6-1-1) their first loss of the season. Freshman Andrea Braendli made 40 saves (and 84 on the weekend to earn WCHA Goaltender of the Week honors), while Madison Field scored her 3rd game-winning goal of the season. Freshman Sophie Jacques (first career goal) and Emma Maltais also scored for the Buckeyes, while Williamson notched her third of the weekend.
at No. 5 Minnesota Duluth 6, Bemidji State 1
at No. 5 Minnesota Duluth 2, Bemidji State 0
(Oct. 19 and 20 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)
- The No. 5 Bulldogs swept the visiting Beavers behind the offensive explosion of WCHA Forward of the Week Naomi Rogge (four goals and one assist for a five-point weekend) and the stellar goaltending of Maddie Rooney (51 saves).
- Freshman Anneke Linser's first career goal was the eventual game-winner in a 6-1 UMD victory Friday, while Rogge (2g-1a) had a three-point effort.
- Rogge scored the game's only two goals Saturday (both in the first period), while Rooney made 16 of her 24 saves in the final 40 minutes for her ninth career shutout. Rooney also assisted on Rogge's second goal, her first career helper and the first by a UMD netminder since Kayla Black on Jan. 24, 2015 against Connecticut.
at Minnesota State 3, St. Cloud State 1
St. Cloud State 2, at Minnesota State 1
(Oct. 19 and 20 at Verizon Center; Mankato, Minn.)
- Two tightly-contested games resulted in the first league wins of the season for the host Mavericks and visiting Huskies.
- Minnesota State scored twice in a 22-second span of the second period Friday to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead, en route to a 3-1 victory. Freshman Brooke Bryant scored her first collegiate goal for the game-winner.
- St. Cloud State's Hallie Theodosopoulos scored her WCHA-leading sixth goal of the season just 38 seconds into the third period Saturday, snapping a 1-1 tie and giving the Huskies a 2-1 win. Emma Polusny, who earlier in the week was named to the U.S. 4 Nations Cup team, made 38 saves for the win.
at No. 2 Wisconsin 4, Princeton 3
at No. 2 Wisconsin 3, Princeton 0
(Oct. 19 and 21 at LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis.)
- The No. 2 Badgers remained the nation's only undefeated team at 8-0-0, sweeping the visiting Tigers in the teams' first meeting since 1999.
- UW freshman Sophie Shirley had a huge weekend, with four points (three goals and one assist) and scoring the game-winning goal both nights.
- Shirley scored twice Friday as the Badgers held on for a 4-3 victory.
- Sunday afternoon, in front of the 19th-straight sellout crowd at LaBahn Arena, Shirley, Annie Pankowski and Presley Norby all scored in a 3-0 victory. Goaltender Kristen Campbell made 25 saves for her 14th career shutout.