- Polling Place: With No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 2 Minnesota, and No. 8 Ohio State, the Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) enters a light Week 12 with three teams ranked in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
- Time to Take a Break: This weekend's Ohio State-Mercyhurst series are the only two games nationally, before women's college hockey takes a two-week break for the holidays.
- The WCHA and College Hockey America (CHA) will also be the first leagues back, as St. Cloud State hosts Lindenwood on Saturday, Dec. 29 (ECAC Hockey and Hockey East rejoin the fray on Dec. 30-31).
- Minnesota Cup Awaits in 2019: The first full weekend back for the WCHA is Jan. 4-6, 2019, highlighted by the inaugural Minnesota Cup tournament.
- The two-day, four-team event will be held Jan. 5-6 at the University of Minnesota's Ridder Arena and features Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State, St. Cloud State and the host Gophers. (Tickets to the 2019 Minnesota Cup are available here.)
- Winning Hockey: Fifteen (15) NCAA Division I programs have winning percentages of .500 or better, with four of those hailing from the WCHA.
- Wisconsin, which leads the country with 19 victories (19-1-0), is also tops in D-I with a .944 winning percentage. Minnesota is second at .875 (17-2-1), Ohio State is tied for eighth at .667 (12-5-0) and Minnesota State is 15th at .528 (8-7-3).
- The Badgers (11-straight wins) and Gophers (10-straight victories) enter the break with the nation's longest active winning streaks, and the second- and third-longest unbeaten streaks, respectively (Princeton is 9-0-3 in its last 12 games).
- The Mavericks enter the holiday break with a winning record for the first time since the 2005-06 season (9-7-2).
- Bench Sets BSU Shutout Mark: After blanking Mercyhurst for the first 41:42 last Friday, Bemidji State redshirt-sophomore goaltender Lauren Bench set the program's all-time record with a scoreless streak of 161:42.
- Bench's run, which spanned eight-consecutive periods, bested the previous mark held by Beavers great Zuzana Tomcikova, a 2010 Olympian with Slovakia and a 2012 All-American.
- Century Club on the Horizon: A handful of WCHA skaters will enter the second half of the 2018-19 season with 100 career points in their sights.
- Wisconsin senior Sam Cogan is closest to the prestigious milestone with 97 points (32g-65a), followed by Badgers junior Abby Roque (25g-69a--94pts), Ohio State senior Madison Field (52-40--92) and Minnesota redshirt-senior Nicole Schammel (40-51--91)
- WCHA and Girls Hockey Weekend: The WCHA is proud to participate this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 14-15) at the Minnesota Wild's 2018 Girls Hockey Weekend, Presented by Schwan's (and also held in conjunction with Minnesota Hockey, USA Hockey and the Minnesota Whitecaps).
- Current student-athletes from each of the WCHA's five Minnesota-based schools (Bemidji State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State University and St. Cloud State University) will help coach 8U, 10U and 12U girls clinics and participate in autograph signings.
- SCSU Assistant Coach Jinelle Siergiej, UMD Director of Hockey Operations Nicholas Bryant, and WCHA Vice President and Women's League Commissioner Katie Million will also help with various aspects of the event.
By the Numbers
- 5: Wins needed by fifth-year Bemidji State head coach Jim Scanlan to match Steve Sertich for the all-time program record. Scanlan has posted 76 victories at the helm of the Beavers, while Sertich won 81 games.
- 7: Straight games with a goal for Wisconsin redshirt-senior forward Annie Pankowski, the third-longest streak in program history. Pankowski has lit the lamp nine times during the streak (including a pair of game-winners), while adding three assists for 12 points in those seven contests.
The Week Ahead
- Mercyhurst at No. 8 Ohio State: The lone series in all of NCAA National Collegiate Women's Hockey takes place in Columbus, where the eighth-ranked Buckeyes host the Lakers from College Hockey America (CHA). Both games will be streamed live via FloHockey.tv and BTN Plus (Saturday at 3:07 p.m. ET and Sunday at 1:07 p.m. ET).
- The WCHA is an NCAA-best 32-12-2 (.717) in nonconference play this season.
The Week in Review
at Minnesota Duluth 2, Minnesota State 2 - OT (UMD wins shootout, 1-0)
at Minnesota Duluth 2, Minnesota State 1
(Dec. 7 and 8 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)
- The Bulldogs took away five hard-earned points from a weekend series against the Mavericks.
- 2018 Olympian Maddie Rooney (Minnesota Duluth) and freshman sensation Abigail Levy (Minnesota State) went toe-to-toe in the nets Friday, with the Bulldogs and Mavericks skating to a 2-2 tie. Ryleigh Houston scored in the first period -- a goal that was #3 on SportsCenter's top-10 plays -- and Anna Klein netted a second-period tally to give UMD a 2-0 lead, but Minnesota State had a furious third-period rally. Brittyn Fleming and Tristen Truax both scored for the Mavericks to force OT. The game went all the way to the shootout, where Rooney made three stops and Houston scored to give the Bulldogs the extra league point.
- Freshmen led the way for the Bulldogs in a 2-1 win Saturday on FOX Sports North PLUS, as Gabbie Hughes and WCHA Rookie of the Week Anneke Linser scored in the second period, and fellow first-year player Emma Soderberg stopped 19-of-20 shots (and nearly posted her first collegiate shutout). UMD also held its first-ever teddy bear toss following Hughes' goal.
No. 1 Wisconsin 8, at St. Cloud State 2
No. 1 Wisconsin 3, at St. Cloud State 1
(Dec. 7 and 8 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)
- The top-ranked Badgers ran their winning streak to 11-straight games following a sweep of the host Huskies, with both games televised live on FOX Sports North and FOX Sports Wisconsin.
- Presley Norby scored the final two of UW's four first-period goals (including the eventual game-winner) and the Badgers never looked back, cruising to an 8-2 win in Friday's series opener. Annie Pankowski lit the lamp twice herself in the second period to run her goal-scoring streak to six straight games for the Badgers. Hallie Theodosopoulos and Laura Kluge scored the Huskies' goals.
- A much different game Saturday, with the Badgers needing two goals in the game's final seven minutes to earn a 3-1 win. Mekenzie Steffen snapped the 1-1 tie with the game-winning goal at 13:12 of the third period, overcoming a 46-save effort by SCSU goaltender Janine Alder. Britta Curl scored in the first period for Wisconsin, but Janna Haeg tied it in the second for St. Cloud State. Pankowski added an empty-netter to score a goal in her seventh-straight game.
at No. 2 Minnesota 6, Robert Morris 1
at No. 2 Minnesota 5, Robert Morris 0
(Dec. 7 and 8 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)
- The second-ranked Gophers rolled into the holiday break in style, outscoring the Colonials 11-1 to earn the nonconference sweep and up their winning streak to 10-straight games.
- The line of Grace Zumwinkle, Taylor Wente and Nicole Schammel combined for three goals Friday, leading Minnesota to a 6-1 win. The game was actually tied at 1-1 in the first period, but Emily Brown (game-winner), Wente and Kelly Pannek scored to give the Gophers a 4-1 lead after the first 20 minutes.
- Taylor Heise scored two goals and WCHA Goaltender of the Week Sydney Scobee posted a 30-save shutout as the Gophers wrapped up the sweep with a 5-0 win Saturday. Heise scored the game's first and fifth goals, while Pannek added a shorthanded marker for Minnesota.
at Mercyhurst 3, Bemidji State 0
Bemidji State 3, at Mercyhurst 1
(Dec. 7 and 8 at Mercyhurst Ice Center; Erie, Pa.)
- The Beavers bounced back after a Friday night loss to win Saturday and earn a nonconference road split at Mercyhurst.
- The Beavers dropped a 3-0 decision Friday, but with 41:42 shutout minutes, sophomore goaltender Lauren Bench set the all-time Bemidji State record with a scoreless streak of 161:32.
- BSU rallied Saturday behind clutch scoring and goaltending to post a 3-1 road win. Tied at 1-1 in the second period, Emily Bergland (game-winner) and Paige Beebe scored just 1:51 apart to give BSU the 3-1 lead. Bergland's goal was the 33rd of her career, moving her into a tie for 10th in BSU history. Kerigan Dowhy made 25 saves for the Beavers to earn the victory.