November 15, 2011
North Dakota hosts MInnesota State this weekend
MADISON, Wis. – After taking a week-long break while 15 of its elite players from six member institutions competed for their national teams in the Four Nations Cup in Sweden, the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association swings back into action with two league series Nov. 18-20 and a number of non-conference matchups.
The two weekend WCHA series will feature North Dakota (7-4-1, 4-3-1-0 WCHA) hosting Minnesota State (5-7-0, 1-5-0 WCHA) at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks on Friday and Saturday at 7:07 pm CT and Minnesota Duluth (4-5-1, 1-4-1-1 WCHA) entertaining Bemidji State (8-3-2, 4-3-1 WCHA) at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 3:07 pm CT.
In non-conference play Friday and Saturday, Ohio State (5-4-1) travels to Syracuse (5-7-0) of College Hockey America, St. Cloud State (1-10-1) visits College Hockey America-member Niagara (6-6-3), Wisconsin (11-1-0) heads to ECAC Hockey-member Rensselaer (3-7-4) and Minnesota (10-2-0) plays host to New Hampshire (4-6-2) of the Hockey East Association.
As play resumes this week, No. 2-ranked Minnesota has the league lead with 24 points, three more than defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Wisconsin, but the Golden Gophers (10-2-0, 8-2-0-0 WCHA) have played two more games than the Badgers (11-1-0, 7-1-0-0 WCHA). Ohio State (5-4-1, 5-4-1-1 WCHA) is currently in third place with 17 points, four ahead of both No. 7-ranked North Dakota (7-4-1, 4-3-1-0 WCHA) and Bemidji State (7-3-2, 4-3-1-0 WCHA), who are tied for fourth with 13 points each but have played two fewer games than the Buckeyes. No. 5/6-ranked Minnesota Duluth is in sixth place with five points, but the Bulldogs (4-5-1, 1-4-1-1 WCHA) have played four fewer games than the league leader and eight of their 10 games to date have come against nationally-ranked teams. Minnesota State (5-7-0, 1-5-0-0 WCHA) has three points for the seventh spot while St. Cloud State (1-10-1, 0-8-0-0 WCHA) is eighth and has yet to record a point.
In the only game involving a WCHA team last week, Bemidji State set a school record with 72 shots on goal and defeated Lindenwood University 11-0 in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame Face-off Classic at the Hippodrome in Eveleth, Minn., on Thursday, Nov. 10. The Beavers had eight different players score a goal, including three freshmen – Kristin Huber, Natasha Kostenko and Whitney Wivoda – who each tallied their first collegiate goals. Alana McElhinney notched the shutout in goal for BSU as she tallied nine saves in two periods and Jessica Havel followed up with 10 third period saves. Sadie Lundquist tallied a goal and five assists to lead the Beavers in scoring.
The victory against Lindenwood means that, against opponents from other Division 1 conferences so far this season, WCHA teams are 21-6-2 overall for a .758 winning percentage. WCHA teams are 2-0-0 (1.000) vs ECAC Hockey, 11-2-1 (.821) vs the Hockey East Association, 3-4-1 (.438) vs College Hockey America, and 5-0-0 vs Independents.
Looking ahead to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend of Friday, Nov. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 27, there are three WCHA series on the docket as Ohio State hosts Minnesota Duluth (Friday/Saturday), North Dakota visits Bemidji State (Friday @ Crookston, MN/Saturday), and Wisconsin welcomes St. Cloud State (Friday/Sunday). Outside the loop, Minnesota travels to Harvard (Saturday/Sunday).
In this week's (Nov. 14) USCHO.com Division 1 Women's College Hockey Poll, four Western Collegiate Hockey Association-member teams are again among the nation's top 10. Wisconsin continues its reign at No. 1, Minnesota moved up to the No. 2 national rank, Minnesota Duluth is at No. 6 and North Dakota is at No. 7. Also receiving votes in the poll this week was Bemidji State.
And in the latest (Nov. 15) USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Division 1 Women's College Hockey Poll, Wisconsin is ranked No. 1, Minnesota is No. 3, North Dakota is No. 6 and Minnesota Duluth is No. 7. Also receiving votes was Bemidji State.
Five of the WCHA's eight-member teams sport winning percentages of .550 or above overall this season, led by Minnesota at 11-1-0 (.917), Wisconsin at 10-2-0 (.833), Bemidji State at 8-3-2 (.692), North Dakota at 7-4-1 (.625) and Ohio State at 5-4-1 (.550).
Home to a record 12 consecutive national championship teams, including the NCAA Frozen Four crown won by Wisconsin last spring, the WCHA marks its 13th season as a women's league in 2011-12.
This Week in the WCHA
Games for Friday, November 18: Ohio State at Syracuse (NC), 7:00 pm ET; St. Cloud State at Niagara (NC), 7:00 pm ET; Wisconsin at Rensselaer (NC), 7:00 pm ET; Minnesota State at North Dakota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; New Hampshire at Minnesota (NC), 7:07 pm CT.
Games for Saturday, November 19: St. Cloud State at Niagara (NC), 2:00 pm ET; Ohio State at Syracuse (NC), 4:00 pm ET; Wisconsin at Rensselaer (NC), 4:00 pm ET; Bemidji State at Minnesota Duluth (WCHA), 3:07 pm CT; New Hampshire at Minnesota (NC), 4:07 pm CT; Minnesota State at North Dakota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT.
Games for Sunday, November 20: Bemidji State at Minnesota Duluth (WCHA), 3:07 pm CT.
Last Week in the WCHA
Results of Thursday, November 10
Lindenwood 0 vs Bemidji State 11 (NC).
* U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face-off Classic (Eveleth, MN)