WCHA Week 12: 2017-18 FSN Debut Highlights Upcoming Weekend
No. 1 Wisconsin visits St. Cloud State in first of seven WCHA telecasts on FOX Sports North; No. 6 Minnesota hosts Minnesota Duluth, while Bemidji State (vs. RIT) and Minnesota State (vs. Lindenwood) welcome nonconference foes
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St. Cloud State hosts No. 1 Wisconsin in first of seven WCHA telecasts on FOX Sports North

Opening Faceoff

- Presence in the Polls: 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, with three ranked teams and a fourth with votes.

  • Wisconsin is the unanimous No. 1 in both polls, while No. 6 Minnesota leap-frogged No. 7 Ohio State in this week's rankings. Bemidji State received votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

- WCHA on FOX Sports North and FOX Sports Wisconsin: Friday's game between St. Cloud State and top-ranked Wisconsin will be the first of seven scheduled live WCHA broadcasts on FOX Sports North (all of which can be streamed on FOX Sports GO).

  • The Huskies vs. Badgers tilt will be carried on both FSN and FOX Sports Wisconsin, as will a SCSU-UW rematch Jan. 28 in Madison. The Feb. 16 "Border Battle" contest from LaBahn Arena between Minnesota and Wisconsin will be televised on FOX Sports North PLUS and FOX Sports Wisconsin.
  • FOX Sports North will also show the Jan. 20 outdoor game between Minnesota Duluth and host St. Cloud State as part of "Hockey Day Minnesota 2017" and a Feb. 3 match-up between the Gophers and Huskies from the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. FOX Sports North PLUS will be the TV home for Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota State on Feb. 17, while FSN will broadcast the 2018 WCHA Final Faceoff championship game March 4.

- Badgers Match the 2008-09 Champs: With a series sweep of UMD last weekend, top-ranked Wisconsin matched the best 20-game start in program history with a 19-1-0 record. The only other team in school history to open a season with a .950 winning percentage through 20 contests was the 2008-09 NCAA championship squad, which started 18-0-2.

- Polusny's Historic Effort: St. Cloud State freshman goaltender Emma Polusny set the program record for most saves in a shutout, with 41 stops in a scoreless draw last Saturday at then-No. 5 Ohio State. She turned aside 11 shots in the first period, 14 in the second, 13 in the third and three more in overtime.

  • Polusny's shutout at OSU was her second in as many starts, becoming the first SCSU netminder with back-to-back clean sheets since Lauri St. Jacques on Feb. 4 and 10, 2006. She has not been scored on in the last 145:50.

- Youth Movement: Freshmen are one-two in the WCHA conference scoring race, the league's top-four overall scoring leaders are all underclassmen (two freshmen and two sophomores) and four of the nation's top-20 rookie scorers are from the WCHA.

  • Ohio State's Emma Maltais (6g-10a=16pts) and Minnesota's Grace Zumwinkle (6-9=15) are neck-and-neck in conference scoring through their first 14 WCHA games.
  • Wisconsin sophomore Abby Roque (the 2016-17 WCHA Rookie of the Year) is the league's top overall scorer with 25 points (8g-17a) in 20 contests. Maltais is second with 23 points (8g-15a), while Zumwinkle (9g-11a) and UW sophomore Presley Norby (6g-14a) are tied for third with 20 apiece.
  • Maltais ranks third nationally among freshmen with 1.28 points per game. Fellow OSU rookie Tatum Skaggs (12g-6a=18pts) is tied with Zumwinkle for seventh at 1.00 point per contest, Minnesota Duluth's Naomi Rogge is 14th at 0.84 (10-6=16) and St. Clout State's Laura Kluge is 16th at 0.80 (4-8=12).

By the Numbers

- 1: Wins Wisconsin needs to reach the 20-win plateau for the eighth consecutive season and 17th time in the program's illustrious 19-year history.

- 13: Road games, out of 21 first-half contests, for Minnesota Duluth after this weekend's series at Minnesota. The Bulldogs wrap up their 2017 calendar year schedule this weekend with the last leg of a three-week road swing.


The Week Ahead

- RIT at Bemidji State: One of two WCHA-College Hockey America (CHA) series on tap this weekend, as the Beavers host the Rochester Institute of Technology. BSU swept the Tigers last year in the first-ever meeting between the schools.

- Minnesota Duluth at No. 6 Minnesota: The Bulldogs wrap up a six-game road swing and their 2017 calendar year schedule with a trip to Ridder Arena. The Gophers, who swept UMD in Duluth earlier this season (4-1 on Oct. 20 and 2-1 on Oct. 21), are also playing for the final time in December.

- No. 1 Wisconsin at St. Cloud State: The Badgers have won 11-straight against the Huskies, dating back to Feb. 20, 2015, entering this weekend's set in St. Cloud. Both teams will be done with their first-half schedules after Saturday's contest.

- Lindenwood at Minnesota State: The other WCHA-CHA nonconference matchup pits the Mavericks against the visiting Lions. Minnesota State opened the campaign at Lindenwood, posting a 4-1 win (Sept. 29) and a 2-2, overtime tie (Sept. 30).


The Week in Review

- Continuing a recent trend in the Gophers-Beavers series, No. 6/5 Minnesota and visiting Bemidji State played a pair of tightly-contested games, which each team winning once.

- Kassidy Sauvé, Janine Alder and Emma Polusny put on a goaltending clinic in Columbus, as No. 5 Ohio State won both shootouts following a pair of ties with visiting St. Cloud State.

- Top-ranked Wisconsin returned to LaBahn Arena for the first time in a month and ran its home unbeaten streak to 22-straight games with a sweep of visiting Minnesota Duluth.

- Minnesota State erupted for 10 goals on the weekend, winning a pair of exhibition contests against the visiting Minnesota Whitecaps.

- 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. 6/t5 Minnesota 3, Bemidji State 2 - OT
Bemidji State 4, at No. 6/t5 Minnesota 2
(Dec. 1 and 2 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)

Continuing a recent trend in the Gophers-Beavers series, No. 6/5 Minnesota and visiting Bemidji State played a pair of tightly-contested games, which each team winning once.

Freshman Grace Zumwinkle lifted the Gophers to a 3-2 win in Friday's opener, scoring with 26 seconds left in overtime. Minnesota also received goals from Caitlin Reilly and Emily Brown, while Sidney Peters made 24 saves in net -- including four in overtime. Sophomore defender Briana Jorde scored her first career goal for Bemidji State.

Jacqueline Kaasa led the Beavers to a 4-2 win Saturday, factoring in all four BSU goals for her first career multi-goal and multi-point game. The sophomore opened the scoring 3:15 into the game, then picked up the primary assist on Bailey Wright's goal that tied the contest 2-2 after two periods. In the third stanza, Kaasa snapped the deadlock with the game-winning marker 5:14 into the period, then set up the Beavers' fourth and final goal just 46 seconds later. Redshirt-freshman goaltender Lauren Bench wrapped up a 58-save weekend with 24 stops for BSU.


at No. 5 Ohio State 2, St. Cloud State 2 - OT (OSU wins shootout)
at No. 5 Ohio State 0, St. Cloud State 0 - OT (OSU wins shootout)
(Dec. 1 and 2 at OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio)

Kassidy Sauvé, Janine Alder and Emma Polusny put on a goaltending clinic in Columbus, as No. 5 Ohio State won both shootouts following a pair of ties with visiting St. Cloud State.

Friday's series opener ended in a 2-2 tie after the Buckeyes rallied. SCSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead with first-period goals by Abby Thiessen and Dana Rasmussen, but Tatum Skaggs scored in the second stanza for OSU and Julianna Iafallo knotted the contest 11:57 into the third frame. Alder made 41 stops for the Huskies, while Sauvé turned aside 29 shots. Grace Zarzecki scored the lone shootout goal, in the fifth round, to give the Buckeyes an extra WCHA point.

OSU put 41 shots on net Saturday, but could not solve Polusny. The SCSU freshman set a program record for most saves in a shutout with 41, going toe-to-toe with the All-American Sauvé (18 saves) in a scoreless draw. Again, only one skater was successful in the shootout, with OSU's Liv Halvorson lighting the lamp.


at No. 1 Wisconsin 5, Minnesota Duluth 1
at No. 1 Wisconsin 3, Minnesota Duluth 1
(Dec. 1 and 2 at LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis.)

Top-ranked Wisconsin returned to LaBahn Arena for the first time in a month and ran its home unbeaten streak to 22-straight games with a sweep of visiting Minnesota Duluth.

WCHA scoring leader Abby Roque had a three-point effort (2g-1a) to lead the Badgers to a 5-1 victory in Friday's series opener. Mekenzie Steffen, Sophia Shaver and Brette Pettet also scored for UW. Kristen Campbell turned aside 28-of-29 shots, falling just three seconds shy of a shutout.

Thanks to goals from Pettet, Shaver and Maddie Rolfes, UW matched the best 20-game start in program history with a 3-1 triumph Saturday. The Badgers scored twice in the first period and increased the lead to 3-0 at the 8:03 mark of the third stanza, before UMD freshman Naomi Rogge netted her 10th goal of the season. Campbell made another 16 saves in the UW net.


at Minnesota State 5, Minnesota Whitecaps 1 (Exhibition)
at Minnesota State 5, Minnesota Whitecaps 2 (Exhibition)
(Dec. 1 and 2 at Verizon Center; Mankato, Minn.)

Minnesota State erupted for 10 goals on the weekend, winning a pair of exhibition contests against the visiting Minnesota Whitecaps.

Five different Mavericks lit the lamp Friday evening: Corbin Boyd and Jordan Jackson buried power-play goals, Hannah Davidson and Amanda Conway netted even-strength markers and Jordan McLaughlin scored a short-handed tally. In a special moment, former Minnesota State defender Anna Fiegert recorded an assist on the lone Whitecaps goal, feeding North Dakota alumna Amy Menke. Goaltender Chloe Crosby made 29 stops for the Mavericks.

Sara Bustad tallied a hat trick and Minnesota State rolled to a 5-2 victory in Saturday's series finale. Bustad scored once in each period, Anna Keys and Amanda Martin also found the back of the net, and Brittyn Fleming had a pair of assists. Crosby finished with 23 saves, while former Gopher Becky Kortum scored for the Whitecaps.