- Leading the Way: After the first full weekend of regular season play, the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) has four teams ranked in the top-10 of the national opinion polls - matching ECAC Hockey for most among any D-I conference.
- Wisconsin remains on top of both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine polls, followed by No. 2 Minnesota.
- After skating to a tie and defeating then-No. 3 Boston College, Minnesota Duluth has hopped into the rankings at No. 6/8. North Dakota is seventh in the USCHO.com rankings, and sixth in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine poll.
- A fifth WCHA team, Bemidji State, is receiving votes in both ledgers.
- Nonconference Success: WCHA teams enjoyed a stellar start to nonconference play last weekend, going 11-1-2 (.857) against College Hockey America (7-0-1), ECAC Hockey (2-0-0) and Hockey East (2-1-1).
- Hot Starts: Seven of eight WCHA teams enter the first full weekend of conference play riding undefeated starts: Bemidji State (2-0-0), Minnesota (2-0-0), Minnesota Duluth (1-0-1), Minnesota State (2-0-0), North Dakota (1-0-1) and Ohio State (2-0-0).
- The Mavericks, who opened John Harrington's second season with a sweep of visiting RIT, is 2-0 for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign - while winning consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 7 and 9, 2015.
- The Buckeyes got the Nadine Muzerall era off to a perfect start with a road sweep at Rensselaer.
- Conference Play Kicks Into Gear: For the first time this season, all eight WCHA teams will play conference matchups this coming weekend, as No. 1 Wisconsin hosts Ohio State, No. 2 Minnesota visits Bemidji State, No. 6/8 Minnesota Duluth welcomes Minnesota State and No. 7/6 North Dakota visits St. Cloud State.
- WCHA and the Red, White and Blue: The 23-player U.S. National Women's Team roster for the 2016 Four Nations Cup includes 14 with WCHA ties, including two current student-athletes. The full group: goaltenders Shelby Amsley-Benzie (North Dakota) and Alex Rigsby (Wisconsin); defensemen Megan Bozek (Minnesota), Monique Lamoureux-Morando (UND), Anne Schleper (UMN) and current Gopher Lee Stecklein; and forwards Stephanie Anderson (Bemidji State), Hannah Brandt (UMN), Brianna Decker (UW), Meghan Duggan (UW), Amanda Kessel (UMN), Hilary Knight (UW), Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson (UND) and current Badger Annie Pankowski.
By the Numbers
- 22: Months that passed after Lisa Marvin sustained multiple, significant injuries after being hit by a car on Nov. 17, 2014, and her awe-inspiring return to the ice this past weekend for North Dakota.
- 39: Career shutouts for Wisconsin senior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens, matching the Badgers' program record (originally set by Jessie Vetter) and just four shy of the NCAA record, held by Minnesota's Noora Räty.
- 67: Saves, on 68 shots, made by Ohio State redshirt sophomore Kassidy Sauve in her return to the Buckeyes' net. The 2014-15 WCHA All-Rookie Team selection missed the entire 2015-16 campaign due to injury.
- 211: Wins, in 291 nonconference games for WCHA teams this decade. Beginning with opening night of the 2010-11 season (and including NCAA tournament contests), the WCHA is 211-59-21 (.761) against the rest of the country over the last six-plus years.
- 397: Career wins for Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson, third all-time among Division I women's coaches. Only two others have reached the 400-win plateau at the D-I level (Harvard's Katey Stone with 446 and Mercyhurst's Michael Sisti with 429).
The Week Ahead
- Ohio State at No. 1 Wisconsin: After a bye week, the top-ranked Badgers put their 25-game LaBahn Arena winning streak on the line when they host their home opener against the Buckeyes. OSU won a pair of road games at RPI last weekend, while UW has been off since sweeping St. Cloud State back on Sept. 23-24.
- No. 2 Minnesota at Bemidji State: The Beavers, who traveled to New York last weekend and swept Syracuse in impressive fashion, return to the Sanford Center to face the second-ranked Gophers in an intra-state matchup.
- Minnesota State at No. 6/8 Minnesota Duluth: Both teams had impressive opening weekends. The Mavericks swept visiting RIT for their first 2-0 start in five seasons, while the Bulldogs tied and defeated then-No. 3 Boston College in an East-West rivalry series.
- No. 7/6 North Dakota at St. Cloud State: A rematch of the 2016 WCHA Quarterfinals awaits in St. Cloud, where the Huskies will host a Fighting Hawks team that earned a win and tie on the road at Mercyhurst last weekend.
The Week in Review
- WCHA teams enjoyed a stellar start to nonconference play last weekend, going 11-1-2 (.857).
- No. 2 Minnesota raised the 2016 NCAA championship banner to the Ridder Arena rafters, and then kicked off defense of their title with a sweep of visiting Lindenwood.
- No. 6 North Dakota got its season off to an undefeated start, earning a win and tie on the road at Mercyhurst.
- Bemidji State used stellar defense, excellent goaltending and timely scoring to post a season-opening road sweep at Syracuse.
- Minnesota Duluth enjoyed an impressive start to its season, skating to a Friday tie before posting an emphatic win Saturday over then-No. 3 Boston College.
- Minnesota State used clutch scoring to earn its first 2-0 start since the 2011-12 season, skating to a sweep of visiting RIT by identical 2-1 scores.
- Kassidy Sauve returned to the net by stopping 67-of-68 shots, and the Nadine Muzerall era at Ohio State got off to a 2-0 start with a pair of road wins at RPI.
- St. Cloud State earned its first win of the season with a 4-2 triumph over visiting Merrimack on Friday, before dropping the finale Saturday.
- Full recaps and box scores are available at wcha.com.
at No. 2 Minnesota 3, Lindenwood 0
at No. 2 Minnesota 6, Lindenwood 2
(Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)
No. 2 Minnesota raised the 2016 NCAA championship banner to the Ridder Arena rafters, and then kicked off defense of their title with a sweep of visiting Lindenwood.
Three different Gophers scored goals and Sidney Peters made 10 saves in a 3-0, opening-night win Friday. Minnesota scored all three goals during the second period, including Sarah Potomak's game-winner just 1:28 into the middle frame. Cara Piazza and Megan Wolfe added goals of their own before the period ended.
Minnesota broke open a tight game Saturday with three third-period goals, capping the sweep with a 6-2 victory. Dani Cameranesi (2g-1a), Kelly Pannek (3a) and Potomak (3a) led the way for the Gophers with three points each. Alex Woken and Caitlin Reilly also picked up multiple points with one goal and one assist each.
No. 6 North Dakota 3, at Mercyhurst 1
No. 6 North Dakota 1, at Mercyhurst 1 - OT
(Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at the Mercyhurst Ice Center; Erie, Pa.)
No. 6 North Dakota got its season off to an undefeated start, earning a win and tie on the road at Mercyhurst.
UND used two power-play goals and eight penalty kills to open with a 3-1 win Friday night. All three Fighting Hawks goals came in the first period, courtesy of Halli Krzyzaniak, freshman Ryleigh Houston and Gracen Hirschy. Lexie Shaw earned the win for UND, making 19 saves, which included eight while on the penalty kill.
A late goal by the Lakers forced the draw on Saturday afternoon, offsetting a first-period, power-play goal by Anna Kilponen. Shaw had a tremendous night in net with 26 saves, including five on the penalty kill.
The other big story line for the weekend was the return of UND's Lisa Marvin, who was forced off the ice for nearly two years after suffering injuries from a car accident in the fall of 2014.
Bemidji State 2, at Syracuse 1
Bemidji State 3, at Syracuse 0
(Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Tennity Ice Pavilion; Syracuse, N.Y.)
Bemidji State used stellar defense, excellent goaltending and timely scoring to post a season-opening road sweep at Syracuse.
The Beavers fell down early to the Orange on opening night, but rallied back with two unanswered goals for the win. Reilly Fawcett scored the game-winning goal with 12:31 remaining in the third period, while Emily Bergland scored the Beavers' first goal of the season in the second period. Senior Brittni Mowat stopped 11-of-12 shots by the Orange to pick up her first win of the campaign.
Junior goaltender Erin Deters stopped all 28 shots she faced to record her second career shutout, a 3-0 BSU victory Saturday afternoon. Bergland opened the scoring with her second goal in as many days in the second period. The Beavers added two insurance goals in the final period when Lauren Miller and Alexis Joyce scored nine seconds apart - one second shy of tying a school record for the two fastest goals. Bailey Wright and freshman Kiki Radke each recorded two assists during the game, while Joyce recorded a goal and an assist to round out Beavers with multiple points.
at Minnesota Duluth 3, No. 3 Boston College 3 - OT
at Minnesota Duluth 5, No. 3 Boston College 2
(Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)
Minnesota Duluth enjoyed an impressive start to its season, skating to a Friday tie before posting an emphatic win Saturday over then-No. 3 Boston College.
Three times Friday night, the visiting Eagles thought they had finally overtaken the Bulldogs, and three times senior forward Ashleigh Brykaliuk proved them wrong. Behind Brykailuk's hat trick, UMD earned a 3-3 tie in the season opener. Katerina Mrázová had a pair of assists for the Bulldogs, while goaltender Maddie Rooney had 31 saves in the contest - including four in overtime to preserve the tie.
UMD rolled to the 5-2 victory Saturday, blowing the game open in the second period with four unanswered goals. After Demi Crossman scored in the first period, the Bulldogs received second-stanza goals from Brooklynn Schugel, Lara Stalder (game-winner), Brykaliuk and Katherine McGovern. Defenseman Sidney Morin had three assists, while Rooney made 27 saves.
at Minnesota State 2, RIT 1 - OT
at Minnesota State 2, RIT 1
(Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at the Verizon Wireless Center; Mankato, Minn.)
Minnesota State used clutch scoring to earn its first 2-0 start since the 2011-12 season, skating to a sweep of visiting RIT by identical 2-1 scores.
Emily Antony scored a power-play goal with 0:40 remaining in overtime to secure a 2-1, opening night victory for the Mavericks. Lindsey Coleman opened the scoring for Minnesota State in the first period, while defenseman Anna Keys assisted on both Mavs' goals. Senior Brianna Quade made 22 saves for the win.
Senior Savannah Quandt scored her first-career game-winning goal to complete a 2-1, comeback victory Saturday. After freshman Sofia Poinar tied the game in the second period with her first career goal, Quandt capitalized on a rebound opportunity to win it with just 3:58 remaining in regulation. Sophomore Katie Bidulka made 12 saves in goal to earn her first career victory.
Ohio State 4, at Rensselaer 1
Ohio State 2, at Rensselaer 0
(Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Houston Field House; Troy, N.Y.)
Kassidy Sauve returned to the net by stopping 67-of-68 shots, and the Nadine Muzerall era at Ohio State got off to a 2-0 start with a pair of road wins at RPI.
OSU got off to a blazing start Friday, scoring twice in the first 108 seconds of the game. Freshman Samantha Bouley netted the first goal of the season for the Buckeyes just 1:08 into the game, and Erin Langermeier added another goal just 40 seconds later. Redshirt freshman Jincy Dunne, who missed the 2015-16 season due to injury, scored her first career goal to cap a three-goal first period, while senior Katie Matheny added a third-period marker.
Maddy Field provided the game's only two goals within 75 seconds of game time Saturday. The sophomore scored with 35 ticks remaining in the first period, then found the back of the net 40 seconds into the second stanza. Sauve, who missed the 2015-16 campaign due to injury, made 30+ saves in both games for the Buckeyes.
at St. Cloud State 4, Merrimack 2
Merrimack 4, at St. Cloud State 1
(Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)
St. Cloud State earned its first win of the season with a 4-2 triumph over visiting Merrimack on Friday, before dropping the finale Saturday.
Julia Tylke shined for St. Cloud State on Friday night, as the sophomore forward scored a pair of goals in the 4-2 triumph. Jordan Stewart (game-winner and first career goal) and Brittney Anderson also scored for the Huskies, while Lauren Hespenheide had three assists. Freshman goaltender Janine Alder stopped 24 shots to earn her first career win.
Penalties once again felled St. Cloud State on Saturday, as Merrimack salvaged a series split, 4-2, on the strength of a pair of second-period, power-play goals. Tylke's unassisted tally was the Huskies' lone goal, while Taylor Crosby turned aside 17-of-19 shots. Merrimack's final two goals were both empty-netters.