WCHA Week 5: Another Set Of WCHA League Games, Another Great Hockey Weekend
NO. 8 MINNESOTA DULUTH HOSTS NO. 7 MINNESOTA IN TOP-10 SERIES; NO. 4 OHIO STATE TRAVELS TO ST. CLOUD STATE AND BEMIDJI STATE VISITS NO. 1 WISCONSIN
photo
N0. 8 Minnesota Duluth hosts No. 7 Minnesota in Top-10 series

Opening Faceoff

- Prominent in the Polls: The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is leading the country with four teams ranked in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, matching ECAC Hockey in the former.

  • Wisconsin, at 8-0-0 one of three D-I unbeatens, remains at the top of both ledgers. Ohio State is fourth -- the highest ranking in program history (previous best was No. 7, on Oct. 15, 2012).
  • Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth -- teams that meet this weekend in Duluth -- are Nos. 7 and 8, respectively. Bemidji State is still receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll.

- Hot Start in Madison: Wisconsin joins Colgate (4-0-0) and Boston College (2-0-0) in the ranks of the NCAA's remaining unbeatens, but has played twice as many games as the Raiders and six more contests than the Eagles.

  • This is the fourth time that a Badger team has started 8-0-0. Only one of those teams won its ninth contest, as the 2015-16 squad set a UW record by opening 18-0-0.

- And, a Hot Start in Columbus: At 5-0-1, Ohio State is off to the best six-game start in program history. The 2012-13 group that ascended to seventh in the polls opened 5-1-0.

- Every Rink, Every Night: The WCHA regular season has traditionally been a gauntlet, but the 2017-18 campaign is shaping up to perhaps be among the toughest yet, with four ranked teams and competitive hockey, top-to-bottom.

  • The first eight WCHA league games have all been decided by two-goals-or-less, with four one-goal contests and one tie. Two games have advanced to overtime, while the three two-goal finals were all one-goal affairs with less than four minutes remaining in regulation (including one that featured an empty-netter with under four seconds left).

By the Numbers

- 1: Just one goal decided five of the six meetings last year between Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth, including a 2-1, double-OT win by the Bulldogs in the WCHA Final Faceoff semifinal and a 1-0, Gopher victory in the NCAA Quarterfinal a week later. The No. 7 Gophers and No. 8 Bulldogs meet this weekend in Duluth.

- 8: Of the nation's top-15 scoring freshman skate in the WCHA: Ohio State's Tatum Skaggs (5g-4a=9pts) and Emma Maltais (3-6=9) are tied for second at 1.50 points-per-game, Minnesota's Grace Zumwinkle (4-2=6) and Olivia Knowles (2-4=6) are tied for sixth at 1.00, Bemidji State's Clair DeGeorge (1-4=5), Minnesota Duluth's Naomi Rogge (3-2=5) and Minnesota State's Brittyn Fleming (0-5=5) are tied for 10th at 0.83, and Wisconsin's Brette Pettet (4-2=6) is tied for 14th.

- 10: Years have passed since the 2006-07 Wisconsin Badgers captured the program's second NCAA championship. UW will honor that team, which also won WCHA regular season and playoff titles, this weekend in Madison.

- 600: All-time victories for Minnesota. The Gopher program, which has won seven national championships in its first 20 seasons, owns a 600-122-50 all-time mark.


The Week Ahead

- Minnesota at Minnesota Duluth: A top-10 showdown looms in Duluth, as the No. 8 Bulldogs host the No. 7 Gophers. The teams split their six games last season, with, as touched on, five games being decided by a single goal -- including the epic postseason contests. Minnesota leads the all-time series by a 52-27-7 margin.

- Ohio State at St. Cloud State: The Huskies open WCHA play by hosting the fourth-ranked Buckeyes. Both projected starting goaltenders earned All-WCHA accolades last year in SCSU's Janine Alder (Rookie Team) and OSU's Kassidy Sauvé (Second Team). SCSU is 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings, including a 2-1-1 mark last year. OSU still holds a 40-30-9 all-time edge.

- Bemidji State at Wisconsin: The Beavers will play their third-straight top-10 team, and second top-two opponent, when they visit the No. 1-ranked Badgers. Wisconsin has won 10-straight in the series and is 67-5-3 all-time against Bemidji State.


The Week in Review

- Led by NCAA 1st Star of the Week Kassidy Sauvé (66 saves) and balanced scoring, Ohio State (then-No. 7) swept Minnesota Duluth (then-No. 5/6) in a top-10 league series from Columbus.

- Top-ranked Wisconsin got all it could handle from host Minnesota State, but the Badgers improved to 8-0-0 with a tightly-contested sweep in Mankato.

- Another taut Gophers-Beavers series saw then-No. 9/8 Minnesota come away with a pair of close victories and a sweep in Bemidji.

- During a weekend off from WCHA play, St. Cloud State won a pair of entertaining exhibition contests against the Minnesota Whitecaps by identical 2-1 scores, the second in overtime.

- Watch all the top goals, plays and saves from last weekend on the "WCHA Highlight Reel," found here.

- Full recaps and box scores are available at wcha.com.


at No. 7 Ohio State 2, No. 5/6 Minnesota Duluth 0 at No. 7 Ohio State 4, No. 5/6 Minnesota Duluth 3 (Oct. 13 and 14 at OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio)

Led by NCAA 1st Star of the Week Kassidy Sauvé (66 saves) and balanced scoring, Ohio State (then-No. 7) swept Minnesota Duluth (then-No. 5/6) in a top-10 league series from Columbus.

Sauvé made a season-high 35 saves in a 2-0 shutout Friday night, as the host Buckeyes won despite getting out-shot by 17. Maddy Field provided all the offense needed with a goal 15 minutes into the contest, while Julianna Iafallo added insurance with a third-period marker.

Four Buckeyes scored in Saturday's 4-3, comeback win. First-period goals by Sydney Brodt and Naomi Rogge gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead at intermission, but OSU scored twice in the second stanza (Iafallo and Field), and added a third-straight strike 1:04 into the third (game-winner by Jacyn Reeves). Rogge added another goal with 32 seconds left as UMD used an extra attacker, but Sauvé finished a 31-save effort and victory.


No. 1 Wisconsin 3, at Minnesota State 2 No. 1 Wisconsin 3, at Syracuse 1 (Oct. 13 and 14 at Verizon Center; Mankato, Minn.)

Top-ranked Wisconsin got all it could handle from host Minnesota State, but the Badgers improved to 8-0-0 with a tightly-contested sweep in Mankato.

Sophia Shaver scored an unassisted, game-winning goal with 13 minutes left in regulation Friday, capping the Badgers' two-goal, final-period rally. Second-period goals by Megan Hinze and Lindsey Coleman gave the host Mavericks a 2-1 lead entering the final stanza, but Presley Norby tied the contest 4:53 into the frame.

Wisconsin jumped out to an early 2-0 lead en route to a 3-1 victory in Saturday's series finale. Claudia Kepler and Brette Pettet scored 1:38 apart in the first period, while Maddie Rowe added a third-period insurance marker. Mankato native Rebekah Kolstad scored late in the first period for her first goal in a Minnesota State uniform, while Katie Bidulka made 31 saves to keep the Mavericks close throughout.


No. 9/8 Minnesota 3, at Bemidji State 1 No. 9/8 Minnesota 4, at Bemidji State 3 - OT (Oct. 13 and 14 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)

Another taut Gophers-Beavers series saw then-No. 9/8 Minnesota come away with a pair of close victories and a sweep in Bemidji.

Senior goaltenders Sidney Peters (27 saves for Minnesota) and Erin Deters (24 stops for Bemidji State) went toe-to-toe in a 3-1 Gophers' win Friday. Grace Zumwinkle scored on the power play to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the second period, a score that held until Cara Piazza stretched the advantage at 2:37 mark of the third. Abby Halluska got the Beavers within a goal with seven minutes remaining, but any empty-net strike with four seconds left sealed the outcome.

Sydney Baldwin delivered the Gophers a 4-3 victory with the game-winning goal 1:04 into overtime Saturday afternoon. Emma Terres forced the extra session for Bemidji State, scoring at the 4:44 mark of the third period as part of an exciting contest. Seven different skaters lit the lamp, including the first career goal (and, earlier, assist) from BSU freshman Mak Langei.


at St. Cloud State 2, Minnesota Whitecaps 1 at St. Cloud State 2, Minnesota Whitecaps 1 (Exhibitions - Oct. 13 and 14 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)

During a weekend off from WCHA play, St. Cloud State won a pair of entertaining exhibition contests against the Minnesota Whitecaps by identical 2-1 scores, the second in overtime.

Alyssa Erickson's heroics delivered Friday's victory, as she scored twice - once in the second period to tie the game and once with 3:56 remaining in regulation. Former SCSU star Julie Friend was in net for the Whitecaps, making 36 saves in her return to the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

Friend had a great game again Saturday, making 20 stops, while fellow SCSU alumni Kalli Funk and Meaghan Pezon combined to set up the Whitecaps' lone goal. But, a pair of Husky newcomers - freshman Aubrey Pritchett and sophomore transfer Hallie Theodosopoulos - rallied SCSU to another 2-1 triumph. Pritchett brought the Huskies even at the 6:47 mark of the third period, setting up Theodosopoulos' game-winner 2:10 into overtime.