Final Regular Season Weekend: The nation's top two teams - No. 1/1 Wisconsin and No. 2/2 Minnesota enter the final weekend of the WCHA regular season still battling for the league crown. The top-ranked Badgers currently lead the Gophers by two points in the WCHA standings and control their own destiny. Minnesota needs help in order to make up the two-point difference.
- A Badger championship would be fourth in a row for UW, making them the first program in the 20-year history of the WCHA to achieve that feat. Wisconsin has won seven league titles overall.
- The Gophers, who lead the WCHA in all-time regular season titles, are seeking their 10th league crown.
Julianne Bye Cup to Be Presented to WCHA Regular Season Champion: The WCHA will present a new regular season championship trophy named in honor of longtime women's hockey advocate Julianne Bye, the league announced on Feb. 18.
- The Julianne Bye Cup will be awarded yearly to the winner of the WCHA regular season championship beginning with the 2018-19 season. Julianne Bye's love for the game of hockey began as a child watching the 1960 Winter Olympics and has been a strong advocate for the women's game for several decades. She was instrumental in the launch of the women's hockey program at the University of Minnesota and has been one of the WCHA's biggest boosters since the Women's League was founded in 1999.
Road to the Final Faceoff Begins March 1: Though the pairings are up in the air, the WCHA playoffs promises to feature exciting hockey at every turn. Quarterfinal series will get underway at campus sites on Friday, March 1 around the league with the winners of the three best-two-of-three series joining the regular season champion at the 2019 Final Faceoff, March 9-10 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
WCHA Scoring Chase: As we enter the final weekend of the regular season, Minnesota senior Nicole Schammel continues to lead the WCHA in scoring with 41 points but teammate Grace Zumwinkle and Ohio State's Emma Maltais are in close pursuit with 38. Schammel also tops the league in assists at 29, three ahead of Wisconsin's Abby Roque. Zumwinkle's 22 goals has her four in front of Wisconsin's Sophie Shirley for the league lead.
Wisconsin Overtakes Minnesota for Top Spot in the National Polls: Wisconsin ascended to the No. 1 spot in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls this week, following its sweep of Minnesota Duluth. Minnesota moved down one spot to No. 2 in the rankings after the weekend. Ohio State remains in the top-10 in both polls at No. 10.
- Wisconsin and Minnesota top the most-recent PairWise Rankings with the Badgers at No. 1 and the Gophers at No. 2. Ohio State is No. 10 this week while UMD is tied for 11th.
By The Numbers
28: Wins by Wisconsin goaltender Kristen Campbell, which leads the NCAA. The junior also leads the country in shutouts (seven) and goals against average (1.13). She is the only netminder in the nation with more than 20 wins.
24: Points scored by Ohio State's Jincy Dunne and Minnesota's Emily Brown, tops among all WCHA blueliners.
4.31: Goals scored per game by Minnesota, the top average in the WCHA.
The Week Ahead
(2/2) Minnesota at Bemidji State: No. 2/2 Minnesota needs points and help to secure its 10th WCHA title and a quarterfinal bye as they skate into Bemidji. The Gophers are 74-9-7 all-time against the Beavers in a series that dates to 1998.
Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota State: The Bulldogs enter the weekend one point behind fourth-place Bemidji State and five points off of third-place Ohio State in the quest for the final two home-ice seeds in the quarterfinals. UMD is 67-7-5 against the Mavericks all-time.
(10/10) Ohio State at (1/1) Wisconsin: Ohio State travels to Madison to face the top-ranked Badgers and will be looking to lock down the No. 3 seed in the WCHA quarterfinals. OSU and UW split their earlier meeting this season in Columbus with the Buckeyes taking a 1-0 win on Jan. 11 and the Badgers rebounding to win, 5-2, on Jan. 12.
The Week in Review
No. 2/2 Wisconsin 6, at RV/RV Minnesota Duluth 1
No. 2/2 Wisconsin 3, at RV/RV Minnesota Duluth 0
(Feb. 15-16 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)
- Emily Clark scored twice as Wisconsin jumped out to a 4-0 lead en route to a 6-1 win at Minnesota Duluth on Friday afternoon.
- Clark staked the Badgers to a 1-0 lead with her first goal of the game 3:44 into the first period.
- The score stood at 1-0 until UW broke free for three goals in the second period as Presley Norby (6:01), Clark (14:02) and Annie Pankowski (19:45) each lit the lamp in the period.
- Kailee Skinner tallied the only goal of the day for UMD with her second goal of the year 22 seconds into the third period but Wisconsin answered with a pair of goals from Sophie Shirley (7:12) and Sam Cogan (17:26) for the final margin.
- Kristen Campbell made 19 saves for the Badgers in the win.
- Goaltender Kristen Campbell made 24 saves to backstop Wisconsin to a 3-0 win over Minnesota Duluth on Saturday and complete a Badger sweep of the two-game WCHA set.
- Alexis Mauermann (2:06) and Emily Clark (14:47) scored in the second period and Sam Cogan added an insurance goal 22 seconds into the third in the win.
- Maddie Rooney made 49 saves for the Bulldogs in the loss.
Bemidji State 4, at St. Cloud State 2
Bemidji State 2 at St. Cloud State 1 (OT)
(Feb. 15-16 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)
- Bemidji State opened its final road series of the season with a 4-2 win at St. Cloud State on Friday.
- The Beavers outshot the Huskies 30-12 as four different BSU skaters found the back of the net in the victory.
- After SCSU opened the scoring on a goal by Laura Kluge at 1:48 of the first period, BSU answered with a pair goals from Jacqueline Kaasa (7:36) and Haley Mack (15:24) for a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
- Kayla Friesen knotted the game for St. Cloud State with a goal at 8:35 of the second.
- But Clair DeGeorge put Bemidji in the lead for good with her ninth goal of the season 1:11 later.
- Abby Halluska added an empty net goal at 19:12 of the third period for the final margin.
- Lauren Bench stopped 10 shots for BSU in the victory.
- Lydia Passolt scored at 2:19 of overtime to give Bemidji State a 2-1 win Saturday and a weekend sweep of St. Cloud State at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
- The two teams exchanged goals in the second period with Jacqueline Kaasa scoring at 1:43 for Bemidji before Hannah Potrykus scored at 19:35 for the Huskies.
- Following a scoreless third period, the two squads headed to overtime before Passolt gave BSU the win.
- Lauren Bench stopped 26 shots for the Beavers while Emma Polusny turned away 33 shots for the Huskies.
at No. 1/1 Minnesota 3, Minnesota State 1
at No. 1/1 Minnesota 3, Minnesota State 2 (OT)
(Feb. 15-16 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)
- Abigail Boreen, Crystalyn Hengler and Amy Potomak scored goals to lead top-ranked Minnesota to a 3-1 win over visiting Minnesota State on Friday evening.
- The Gophers jumped out to a three-goal lead before the Mavericks got on the board on a power play goal by Sofia Poinar 20 second into the period.
- Alex Gulstene improved to 17-2-0 on the season, stopping 10 of 11 shots in the win.
- Abigail Levy turned away 36 Gopher shots for Minnesota State.
- Minnesota rallied from a 2-1 third period deficit to defeat Minnesota State, 3-2, in overtime on Saturday to complete a sweep of the two-game series at Ridder Arena.
- Taylor Wente's goal at 1:27 of the extra period was the game winner.
- The Gophers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Nicole Schammel at 3:24 fo the first period.
- But the Mavericks equalized on the power play when Rebekah Kolstad found the back of the net at 16:23 of the first. MSU then took the lead at 7:58 of the second period on a goal from Brooke Bryant.
- The lead held until the 10:40 mark of the third when Sarah Potomak knotted the score at 2-2 for the Gophers, setting up Wente's overtime heroics.
- Sydnee Scobee made 22 saves for Minnesota while Abigail Levy stopped 39 shots for the Mavericks.