- 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 Week 13 -- the final games of the 2018 calendar year -- with three teams ranked in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
- Those same three teams enter the second half among the top-eight in the PairWise Rankings. The Badgers are No. 1, the Gophers are No. 3 and the Buckeyes are No. 7.
- Back at It: The WCHA and College Hockey America (CHA) were the last two leagues to play before the holiday break (as Ohio State swept Mercyhurst on Dec. 15-16) and will be the first two back on the ice this weekend, as St. Cloud State hosts Lindenwood for a two-game series beginning Saturday, Dec. 29 (ECAC Hockey and Hockey East rejoin the fray on Dec. 30-31).
- Minnesota Cup, Powered by GELSTX, Awaits in 2019: The first full weekend back for the WCHA is next weekend (Jan. 4-6, 2019), highlighted by the inaugural Minnesota Cup tournament, Powered by GELSTX.
- 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.
- Winning Hockey: Fifteen (15) NCAA Division I programs have winning percentages of .500 or better, with four of those hailing from the WCHA.
- Wisconsin leads the country with 19 victories and tops D-I with a .944 winning percentage (19-1-0). Minnesota is second at .875 (17-2-1), Ohio State is eighth (.700, 14-6-0) and Minnesota State is 14th (.528, 8-7-3).
- The Badgers (11-straight wins) and Gophers (10-straight victories) have the nation's longest active winning streaks, and the second- and third-longest unbeaten runs, respectively (Princeton is 9-0-3 in its last 12 games).
- The Mavericks entered the holiday break with a winning record for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
- Every Rink, Every Night: WCHA teams have achieved success (four programs with a winning record), while also playing some of the country's toughest first-half schedules, according to the USCHO.com Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).
- Minnesota Duluth has played the nation's toughest schedule to-date, while Bemidji State is second, Ohio State is fourth, Minnesota is fifth, Wisconsin is eighth, Minnesota State is 15th (a sliver behind Clarkson for 14th) and St. Cloud State is 18th.
- Impressive Company: Not only did Charly Dahlquist record her first collegiate hat trick in Ohio State's 9-2 win over Mercyhurst to close out the first half, she netted all three goals in the third period. The only other Buckeye in program history to score thrice in a single period is Olympic gold medalist Natalie Spooner (on Dec. 12, 2008).
- The Next Level: Six WCHA seniors were selected in the 2018 NWHL Draft, held Dec. 19-20.
- Wisconsin forward Annie Pankowski was tabbed by the Metropolitan Riveters with the first overall pick, followed by Minnesota forward Kelly Pannek (fourth overall to the Minnesota Whitecaps), UW forward Sophia Shaver (ninth overall to the Whitecaps), Ohio State blueliner Lauren Boyle (14th to the Whitecaps), UW forward Emily Clark (15th to the Boston Pride) and UMN forward Nicole Schammel (23rd to the Buffalo Beauts).
By the Numbers
- 4: Points separate the top-three teams in the WCHA standings entering the season's second half. The league's regular season champion earns an automatic spot in the 2019 WCHA Final Faceoff.
- 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 She leads the WCHA and is tied for third nationally with 14 goals this season.
- 34: NCAA-best nonconference wins for the WCHA this season, which also has the country's best out-of-conference winning percentage at .729 (34-12-2).
- 794: NCAA-best team saves by St. Cloud State, as goaltenders Janine Alder (438 stops) and Emma Polusny (356) rank seventh and 16th, respectively, in the country.
The Week Ahead
- Lindenwood at St. Cloud State: The Lions and Huskies meet in a nonconference series at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Both games (Saturday at 2:07 p.m. CT and Sunday at 12:07 p.m. CT) are streamed live on FloHockey.tv.
- The two teams met in a pair of overtime contests Nov. 9-10 in Missouri, with Lindenwood winning the finale, 2-1, after a 2-2 tie in the opener.