WCHA Week 11: Back To League Play
No. 1 Wisconsin hosts surging Minnesota Duluth, No. 5 Ohio State welcomes St. Cloud State and No. 6/5 Minnesota brings eight-game winning streak into series vs. Bemidji State; also, Minnesota State hosts the Minnesota Whitecaps for two exhibition games
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No. 1 Wisconsin hosts surging Minnesota Duluth this weekend

Opening Faceoff

- Three of the Top-Six: The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) continues to have a strong presence in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, entering December with three of the top-6 teams.

  • Wisconsin remains No. 1 in both polls (unanimous in the USCHO.com poll and with 18-of-19 first place votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings), followed by Ohio State (No. 5 in both) and Minnesota (No. 6 in the USCHO.com rankings, tied for fifth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll).
  • A fourth team, Minnesota Duluth, is receiving votes in both polls.

- Bulldog Country: Minnesota Duluth entered November at 3-7-0 overall and 1-5-0 in the WCHA. The Bulldogs, winners of four-straight games and six of their last seven contests, will enter December at 9-8-0 and 5-5-0 in league play.

  • UMD's six wins and .857 winning percentage (6-1-0) in November were both second-best in the WCHA, while tying for third nationally for the month (with one Division I game remaining November 30).
  • The Bulldogs capped the month by winning the Windjammer Classic last weekend. UMD upset No. 2 Colgate, 4-1 on Friday, before defeating host Vermont, 2-1 in the championship game.

- Perfect Month: Another team in Maroon and Gold has also been hot and, in fact, now owns the nation's longest current unbeaten streak, as Minnesota was a perfect 8-0-0 in November.

  • Six of the Gophers' November wins came on the road, including a pair of overtime triumphs (Minnesota has now won all 10 of its games this season away from Ridder Arena).

- Badgers, Buckeyes Also Continue Stellar Starts: Wisconsin fell just short in its bid to match the 2015-16 squad for best start in program history (18-0-0), losing to Northeastern last Friday in the Badgers' 17th contest. However, UW bounced back the next day to defeat Boston University and, at 17-1-0, leads the country in wins and Division I in winning percentage.

  • Ohio State earned a nice road win last Friday at No. 9 Robert Morris, defeating the Colonials in a match-up of first-place teams from the WCHA and College Hockey America. At 11-3-2, the Buckeyes continue to improve the best start in program history, bettering the 11-5-0 mark through 16 games of the 2012-13 team.

- Potential Olympians Come "Home": The Time is Now Tour, Presented by Toyota, makes its closest stop to the greater WCHA geographic footprint this weekend, with a Sunday, Dec. 3 game at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn.

  • The exhibition contest will feature 27 current or former WCHA players that are centralized with either the U.S. Women's National Team or Canada's National Women's Team, with the hopes of competing at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Former Minnesota Duluth blue-liner and 2016-17 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year Sidney Morin was added to the U.S. roster on Monday.

By the Numbers

- 2: Three-point games this season for Laura Kluge, the first St. Cloud State freshman with multiple three-point outings since the 2006-07 season (Caitlin Hogan and Holly Roberts).

- 3: November wins for Bemidji State, as the Beavers ranked in the top-15 nationally with a .583 winning percentage during the month (3-2-1). In all, five WCHA teams were above .500 for the month.

- 7: Goals in the last two games for St. Cloud State, after the Huskies were blanked in three-straight contests Nov. 10-17.

- 20: Home unbeaten streak for Wisconsin (19-0-1), during which the Badgers have outscored opponents, 100-12.

- 288: Blocked shots by Minnesota State, which continues to lead the WCHA in that category (third-most nationally).


The Week Ahead

- Bemidji State at No. 6/5 Minnesota: The Gophers put the nation's longest active unbeaten streak on the line when they host the Beavers. Minnesota has won three-straight in the series, including a sweep in Bemidji on Oct. 13-14 (3-1 and 4-3 in OT).

- St. Cloud State at No. 5 Ohio State: The Buckeyes and Huskies wrap up their season series this weekend in Ohio. OSU won by identical 4-0 scores to sweep host SCSU on Oct. 20 and 21. But, St. Cloud State is still 6-3-1 in the last 10 meetings.

- Minnesota Duluth at No. 1 Wisconsin: The Badgers and Bulldogs meet for the first time since the 2017 WCHA Final Face-Off championship game, a 4-1 UW victory. UMD is responsible for the lone tie in UW's current 20-game home unbeaten streak, a 1-1 draw last Feb. 11. Wisconsin leads the all-time series, 42-30-13.

- Minnesota Whitecaps at Minnesota State: The Mavericks welcome the Whitecaps, an elite women's hockey team made up of post-collegiate players -- including many WCHA alumnae. The teams will play two exhibition games at Verizon Center.


The Week in Review

- St. Cloud State put on a show for its biggest crowd of the season, treating fans on its inaugural "Pack the HBNHC" night to a 4-0, nonconference victory over Bemidji State.

- Minnesota Duluth brought home some hardware, winning the Windjammer Classic title with victories over No. 2 Colgate and host Vermont.

- Top-ranked Wisconsin and Minnesota State participated in the inaugural D1 in D.C. tournament, each playing a pair of Hockey East foes (Boston University and Northeastern) at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex (practice facility for the NHL's Washington Capitals).

- A match-up of league leaders saw No. 5 Ohio State earn a road split at No. 9 Robert Morris, the first-place team in College Hockey America (CHA).

- Sixth-ranked Minnesota wrapped up an 8-0-0 November with a nonconference road sweep at Lindenwood, including an overtime win in the series finale.

- 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 St. Cloud State 4, Bemidji State 0
(Nov. 22 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)

St. Cloud State put on a show for its biggest crowd of the season, treating fans on its inaugural "Pack the HBNHC" night to a 4-0, nonconference victory over Bemidji State.

The Huskies' four goals were the team's biggest offensive output of the season, and came from a quartet of skaters: Kayla Friesen, Alyssa Erickson, Abby Thiessen and Laura Kluge. Freshman goaltender Emma Polusny made 26 saves for her first career shutout (and the first for SCSU this season).

The contest was the first nonconference tilt between Bemidji State and St. Cloud State since the 1998-99 season -- the inaugural campaign for both schools and a year before the WCHA was formed.


Minnesota Duluth 4, vs. No. 2 Colgate 1
Minnesota Duluth 2, at Vermont 1
(Windjammer Classic - Nov. 24 and 25 at Gutterson Fieldhouse; Burlington, Vt.)

Minnesota Duluth brought home some hardware, winning the Windjammer Classic title with victories over No. 2 Colgate and host Vermont.

The Bulldogs put together an impressive performance Friday to upset the second-ranked Raiders, as four UMD skaters scored in a 4-1 victory. Naomi Rogge and Sydney Brodt lit the lamp in the second period, while Ashton Bell and Lynn Astrup scored in the third stanza. Facing a Colgate team that entered the game ranked fourth among D-I schools by averaging 3.86 goals per game, UMD goaltender Jessica Convery turned aside 25-of-26 shots and pitched a shutout for the first 59:37 of the contest. Katerina Mrázová had a pair of assists for the Bulldogs.

Emma Yanko made sure UMD would take home the trophy, scoring the tie-breaking, game-winning goal with 1:38 remaining in the tournament championship game, lifting the Bulldogs to a 2-1 victory over host Vermont. Rogge's second goal of the weekend gave UMD an early 1-0 lead, while Convery was again brilliant with 25 saves (on 26 shots).

Rogge, Convery and Yanko earned Windjammer Classic All-Tournament Team honors, while Yanko was named Player of the Tournament.


Boston University 5, vs. Minnesota State 2
Northeastern 3, vs. No. 1 Wisconsin 2
No. 1 Wisconsin 4, vs. Boston University 3
Northeastern 6, vs. Minnesota State 1
(D1 in D.C. tournament - Nov. 24 and 25 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex; Arlington, Va.)

Top-ranked Wisconsin and Minnesota State participated in the inaugural D1 in D.C. tournament, each playing a pair of Hockey East foes (Boston University and Northeastern) at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex (practice facility for the NHL's Washington Capitals).

The Badgers saw their season-opening, 16-game winning streak come to an end Friday with a 3-2 setback to Northeastern, as Huskies freshman goaltender Aerin Frankel made 39 saves. But, UW bounced back with a 4-2 triumph over Boston University on Saturday. Abby Roque had a pair of assists, while four Badgers (Baylee Wellhausen, Mikaela Gardner, Alexis Mauermann and Claudia Kepler) all scored against BU. Kristen Campbell made 23 saves for UW.

Minnesota State was done in by a Victoria Bach hat trick in a 5-2 loss to Boston University, before dropping a 6-1 decision to Northeastern. Jordan Jackson, Corbin Boyd and Sofia Poinar all scored for the Mavericks, while both Katie Bidulka and Chloe Crosby saw time in the net.


No. 5 Ohio State 7, at No. 9 Robert Morris 3
at No. 9 Robert Morris 3, No. 5 Ohio State 2 - OT
(Nov. 24 and 25 at RMU Island Sports Center; Pittsburgh, Pa.)

A match-up of league leaders saw No. 5 Ohio State earn a road split at No. 9 Robert Morris, the first-place team in College Hockey America (CHA).

Freshman Tatum Skaggs notched her first collegiate hat trick in a 7-3, Friday win for the visiting Buckeyes. OSU jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first period, extended to 6-1 and eventually won by four. Skaggs lit the lamp in each stanza, while four other Buckeyes also scored (Liz Schepers, Grace Zarzecki, Dani Sadek and Charly Dahlquist). OSU was out-shot, 33-30, but Kassidy Sauvé made 30 saves.

OSU nearly pulled off the sweep, but the NCAA's leader in goals-per-game, Brittany Howard, scored twice late to give Robert Morris a 3-2 overtime win. Howard's first goal tied the game 2-2 at the 5:18 mark of the third period, while her second was the winner 1:36 into OT. Julianna Iafallo and Emma Maltais scored for the Buckeyes, while Sauvé finished with 38 saves.


No. 6 Minnesota 3, at Lindenwood 1
No. 6 Minnesota 4, at Lindenwood 3 - OT
(Nov. 25 and 26 at Lindenwood Ice Arena; Wentzville, Mo.)

Sixth-ranked Minnesota wrapped up an 8-0-0 November with a nonconference road sweep at Lindenwood, including an overtime win in the series finale.

Alex Woken scored two second-period goals and Sophie Skarzynski assisted on all three Gopher goals as the visitors won the series opener, 3-1. Lindenwood scored the game's first goal, before Woken lit the lamp twice and Olivia Knowles found the back of the net 2:38 into the third period. Sidney Peters made 20 saves for the win.

Knowles scored twice, including the overtime winner, to lift Minnesota to a 4-3 win Sunday afternoon. Skarzynski once again had three helpers, including setting up Knowles' OT winner, to finish the series with a NCAA-best six assists. Cara Piazza tallied a goal and assist for the Gophers, while Sydney Baldwin also scored.