- Badgers, WCHA Leading at the Polls: The WCHA continues to set this season's NCAA standard in the national polls, matching ECAC Hockey with four teams in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine rankings. Wisconsin is the top-ranked team in both polls, followed by No. 3 Minnesota, No. 5 Bemidji State and No. 9 North Dakota.
- Winning Hockey: Not surprisingly, five of the NCAA's top-15 winning percentages also belong to WCHA teams. At 18-0-0, Wisconsin is one of just two remaining unbeaten and untied teams (along with 19-0-0 Boston College). Minnesota (15-3-0, .833) is fourth, while Bemidji State (13-5-2, .700) is seventh, North Dakota (10-6-2, .611) is tied for 12th and St. Cloud State (8-8-2, .500) is tied for 15th.
- An Early Look at the PairWise: Entering the final weekend of games across women's college hockey for the 2015 calendar year, the WCHA has three teams in the top eight of the PairWise rankings: No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 3 Minnesota and No. 6 (tied) Bemidji State. Additionally, North Dakota is tied for 10th, Minnesota Duluth is tied for 13th and St. Cloud State is tied for 17th.
- Badgers Continue Historic Start: Wisconsin's 18-0-0 start is the best in program history, while the 18-game winning streak is the second-longest streak in school history and the fourth-longest in WCHA annals. It is also UW's longest streak to occur in a single season, while a win Friday at North Dakota would match the Badgers' all-time record of 19-straight victories (Feb. 11 - Oct. 21, 2006).
- 21 and Counting: Wisconsin sophomore forward Annie Pankowski is on a 21-game point streak dating back to the 2015 Final Face-Off championship game, totaling 36 points (17g-19a) during a run that is now the fifth-longest in UW history and sixth-longest in WCHA annals.
- Wait, What?!?: In WCHA play, Wisconsin has almost scored as many short-handed goals (four) as it has allowed even-strength scores (five). The Badgers are a perfect 34-for-34 on the penalty kill in league games and 50-for-51 on the year (including 45-straight dating back to Oct. 3). For the season, UW has allowed nine goals (eight even-strength) and has scored an NCAA-high six shorties.
- Playmakers: Twelve of the NCAA's top 26 individual point producers play in the WCHA: UMN's Dani Cameranesi (3rd at 2.17 points per game), Sarah Potomak (4th at 2.12 - tops among freshmen), Hannah Brandt (5th at 2.11), Kelly Pannek (t-10th at 1.50) and Cara Piazza (t-19th at 1.22); UW's Annie Pankowski (7th at 1.78), Sarah Nurse (12th at 1.43), Emily Clark (15th at 1.31), and Courtney Burke and Jenny Ryan (t-22nd at 1.17 - tops among defensemen); SCSU's Molly Illikainen (13th at 1.38); and UND's Amy Menke (14th at 1.33).
- Brandt Watch: One of the all-time great players in WCHA history, Minnesota senior forward Hannah Brandt continues to move up the league and NCAA record books. Entering this weekend, she ranks sixth in WCHA history (since 1999-2000) with 109 career goals (Monique Lamoureux, who scored 113 with UMN and UND, is fifth), third with 150 assists (M. Lamoureux is second with 152) and fourth with 259 points (UW's Hilary Knight is fourth with 262). In NCAA Division I history (since 2000-01), Brandt is ninth for goals (M. Lamoureux and Dartmouth's Katie Weatherston are tied for eighth), fourth for assists (M. Lamoureux is third) and fifth for points (Knight is fourth).
By the Numbers
- 42: Career victories for Bemidji State junior goaltender Brittni Mowat, most in school history. Mowat surpassed BSU great and fellow All-American Zuzana Tomcikova with a win last Sunday, and is now 42-36-6 with a 1.90 GAA, .936 save percentage and 14 shutouts in 85 collegiate games.
The Week Ahead
- Final Weekend of 2015: Six WCHA teams play their final games of the 2015 calendar year this weekend, while Bemidji State and Minnesota State have already wrapped up their first-half schedules. Following this weekend, the league - and all of women's college hockey - will be off for the holidays. WCHA teams return to action Jan. 2, 2016, with the first league games slated for Jan. 8-10.
- No. 1 Wisconsin at No. 9 North Dakota: The Badgers and Fighting Hawks will continue the weekly top-10 series that is a tradition of the ultra-competitive WCHA. UW leads the all-time series 43-6-3, including a 4-0-1 mark last season.
- U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Women's Face-Off Classic: The annual game, held in conjunction with Let's Play Hockey, features St. Cloud State and Minnesota. The Huskies (6-1-1 in their last eight games) and third-ranked Gophers will drop the puck at 6:30 p.m. at the Roseville Skating Center in Roseville, Minn.
- Minnesota Duluth at Ohio State: For the first time, first-year Ohio State head coach Jenny Potter will face-off against her alma mater when the Buckeyes welcome the Bulldogs to Columbus. Potter totaled 256 points in a UMD uniform during the 1999-2000, 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, scoring 108 goals with 148 assists.
The Week in Review
- Top-ranked Wisconsin emphatically continued the best start in program history with two victories over No. 3 Minnesota - the Badgers' first sweep of the Gophers since the 2009-10 season.
- Two of the nation's top-10 teams faced off in a home-and-home series, with No. 9 North Dakota and No. 7/6 Bemidji State each winning a 1-0 decision on the road.
- St. Cloud State ran its unbeaten streak to seven games with a shootout win Friday, before host Minnesota Duluth rebounded with a 4-0 win on Saturday.
- Full recaps and box scores are available at wcha.com.
at No. 1 Wisconsin 3, No. 3 Minnesota 2 - OT
at No. 1 Wisconsin 3, No. 3 Minnesota 1
(December 4 and 5 at LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wisc.)
Top-ranked Wisconsin emphatically continued the best start in program history with two victories over No. 3 Minnesota - the Badgers' first sweep of the Gophers since the 2009-10 season.
Friday night's game was a thriller worthy of a top-three Border Battle. Tied 2-2 with just 55 seconds remaining in overtime and the Badgers on a power play, UW's Annie Pankowski tipped a Courtney Burke shot into the back of the net for the game-winner. Pankowski's goal, which came after the two teams traded four goals in the second period, snapped the Badgers' 18-game winless streak against Minnesota. Freshman Sam Cogan and senior Rachel Jones also scored for Wisconsin, while Ann-Renée Desbiens made 21 saves for the win. Brook Garzone and Milica McMillen scored the Gophers' goals, while Amanda Leveille made 24 stops.
Pankowski shone in Saturday's game as well. The Badger sophomore scored the first two goals of the game, including the game-winner in an eventual 3-1 Wisconsin victory. Emily Clark assisted on one of Pankowski's goals and an empty-net goal scored by Sarah Nurse. Between the pipes, Desbiens was outstanding stopping 23-of-24 shots to remain perfect at 16-0-0 on the season. Freshman Sarah Potomak netted the lone Minnesota goal, scoring at the 8:12 mark of the third period to bring the Gophers within one.
No. 9 North Dakota 1, at No. 6/5 Bemidji State 0
No. 6/5 Bemidji State 1, at No. 9 North Dakota 0
(December 4 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)
(December 6 at Ralph Engelstad Arena; Grand Forks, N.D.)
Two of the nation's top-10 teams faced off in a home-and-home series, with No. 9 North Dakota and No. 6/5 Bemidji State each winning a 1-0 decision on the road.
Friday's game in Bemidji went to the Fighting Hawks and their goaltender, Shelby-Amsley Benzie. The senior netminder stopped all 21 shots she saw, including all 10 in the third period. After a scoreless first period, UND's Becca Kohler played the hero role with a power-play goal at the 6:54 mark of the second - the only score of the game.
After a day of travel, the two teams met again on Sunday, this time in Grand Forks - where Bemidji State's Brittni Mowat stole the show. The junior netminder stopped all 21 shots for her 14th career shutout and 42nd career win - passing fellow All-American Zuzana Tomcikova for most victories in Bemidji State history. BSU's Kristin Huber gave the Beavers the 1-0 road win by scoring just 55 seconds into the third period off an assist from Hanna Moher.
St. Cloud State 2, at No. 10 Minnesota Duluth 2 - OT
SCSU won shootout, 2-0
at No. 10 Minnesota Duluth 4, St. Cloud State 0
(December 4 and 5 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)
St. Cloud State ran its unbeaten streak to seven games with a shootout win Friday, before host Minnesota Duluth rebounded with a 4-0 win on Saturday.
Friday's game went to a shootout after the teams were tied 2-2 after 65 minutes, with SCSU's Julia Tylke and Molly Illikainen delivering to give the Huskies the extra point. Tylke also scored in regulation, while Vanessa Spataro added a power-play goal. SCSU goaltender Katie Fitzgerald made 30 saves over 65 minutes and two more in the shootout. Michela Cava and Demi Crossman both scored for UMD.
On Saturday, UMD senior Kayla Black became the seventh goaltender in WCHA history with 20 career shutouts, stopping all 20 SCSU shots en route to a 4-0 victory. Maria Lindh (game-winner), Jessica Healey, Cava and Ashleigh Brykaliuk all scored for the Bulldogs, while Lara Stalder had a pair of assists.