WCHA Week 16: Hockey Day Minnesota And Top-10 Showdown Await
St. Cloud State hosts Minnesota Duluth outdoors for the annual 'State of Hockey' showcase, while No. 7 Ohio State welcomes No. 5/6 Minnesota and No. 1 Wisconsin visits Bemidji State
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St. Cloud State hosts Minnesota Duluth outdoors for the annual 'State of Hockey' showcase

Opening Faceoff

- Hockey Day Minnesota 2018: The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is once again proud to be part of Hockey Day Minnesota, the statewide celebration of the sport. This Saturday, St. Cloud State will host Minnesota Duluth at Eastman Park on the shores of Lake George, in what will be the first NCAA women's game to be played outside in the 12-year history of the event.

  • The Huskies and Bulldogs will drop the puck at 1 p.m. CT, live on FOX Sports North.
  • Beginning last Saturday (Jan. 13), five of the last six WCHA regular season weekends will feature at least one WCHA game on FOX Sports North, FOX Sports North PLUS and/or FOX Sports Wisconsin.

- More History for the Badgers: Wisconsin is just the third team in the WCHA's 19 seasons to win its first 14 league games. The Badgers join Minnesota Duluth, which won its first 16 league contests of the inaugural 1999-2000 WCHA season (the Bulldogs tied their 17th game and finished 21-1-2); and, the undefeated Minnesota squad of 2012-13, which went 28-0-0 as part of a 41-0-0 campaign and NCAA-record 62-game winning streak.

- Impressive Company: Ohio State freshman forward Emma Maltais leads the WCHA overall scoring race with 30 points (10g-20a), matching Olympic gold medalist Natalie Spooner for the sixth-most points by a rookie in Buckeye history. Maltais -- who, like Spooner, hails from the province of Ontario -- played for Canada's National Women's Development Team at the Nations Cup in Füssen, Germany on Jan. 3-6.

- The Puck Stops Here: The WCHA has long been known for outstanding goaltending, with league creases producing All-Americans, Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, Olympic medalists and professional standouts. This season is no different, with several impressive performances. Some of the best thus far:

  • Wisconsin sophomore Kristen Campbell is tied for the national lead with eight shutouts, while pacing NCAA Division I netminders with a 0.92 goals-against average, .952 save percentage, 23 wins and .958 winning percentage. She is currently riding a scoreless streak of 250:53, the sixth-longest in program history.
  • Ohio State redshirt-junior Kassidy Sauvé leads the WCHA and is third nationally with 625 saves, while she is 10th with a .929 save percentage and third with seven shutouts (one short of matching OSU's single-season record). She is fifth in school history with 2,254 career saves, just 14 shy of tying for fourth.
  • Since November 10, St. Cloud State's duo of freshman Emma Polusny and sophomore Janine Alder rank No. 1 and No. 3 in the WCHA and No. 1 and No. 8 in NCAA Division I with save percentages of .969 and .936, respectively. For the season, Polusny (who has tied the SCSU single-season record with three shutouts) and Alder boast save percentages of .938 and .931, which rank No. 2 and No. 3 in the WCHA and No. 3 and No. 6 in D-I.

- Golden Moment: The WCHA played a prominent role in Team USA's run to a fourth-straight gold medal at the IIHF Under-18 Women's World Championship. The Americans were led in Russia by head coach Joel Johnson (Minnesota's associate head coach) and associate coach Maura Crowell (Minnesota Duluth's head coach), while the roster included announced WCHA commits Madison Bizal (Ohio State), Britta Curl (Wisconsin), Maggie Flaherty (Minnesota Duluth), Taylor Heise (Minnesota), Lizi Norton (Minnesota Duluth) and Gracie Ostertag (Minnesota).


By the Numbers

- 4: Game-winning goals this season by Minnesota senior forward Cara Piazza -- more than half of her season goals total (seven) and tied for the fourth-most in the country (matching Ohio State's Maddy Field, who has 10 goals overall).

- 32: Current or former WCHA players named to 2018 Olympic teams for the United States (15), Canada (12) and Sweden (five).

- 136: Consecutive games played by Bemidji State senior blueliner Alexis Joyce, the fourth-longest streak in program history.


The Week Ahead

- No. 5/6 Minnesota at No. 7 Ohio State: The nation's only top-10 matchup this week has implications on the WCHA standings, as the second-place Gophers visit the third-place Buckeyes. OSU took five points at Ridder Arena back on Oct. 6-7.

- Minnesota Duluth at St. Cloud State: Only Friday's game is a WCHA league game, as Saturday's outdoor game on Hockey Day Minnesota is being played as a nonconference contest (the schools will play again Jan. 31 in St. Cloud).

- No. 1 Wisconsin at Bemidji State: The Badgers, who swept the Beavers at home on Oct. 20-21, look to match the second-longest, season-opening league winning streak in WCHA history. BSU's .676 overall winning percentage since Oct. 28 (11-5-1) is third-best in the WCHA over that stretch, while its .682 league mark (7-3-1) ranks second.


The Week in Review

- A rare Tuesday night game saw No. 5 Minnesota earn a 2-1, nonconference win over WCHA foe St. Cloud State at Ridder Arena.

- Two teams fighting for home ice during the 2018 WCHA Playoffs staged a tightly-contested series, with Bemidji State and host Minnesota Duluth each winning a game apiece.

- Playing for the first time in 2018, top-ranked Wisconsin and goaltender Kristen Campbell showed little signs of rust in a sweep of visiting Minnesota State.

- Fifth-ranked Minnesota wrapped up its regular season nonconference schedule by hosting Vermont of Hockey East, skating to a series split.

- Behind 78 saves from Kassidy Sauvé and five points each from freshmen Tatum Skaggs and Emma Maltais, No. 8 Ohio State turned a top-10 showdown with No. 9 Robert Morris into an impressive sweep.

- Four points from Hallie Theodosopoulos fueled St. Cloud State to a 7-2, exhibition win against the Minnesota Whitecaps.

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

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


at No. 5 Minnesota 2, St. Cloud State 1
(Jan. 9 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)

A rare Tuesday night game saw No. 5 Minnesota earn a 2-1, nonconference win over WCHA foe St. Cloud State at Ridder Arena.

Katie Robinson and Cara Piazza scored the Gopher goals, with Piazza's shorthanded marker standing as her fourth game-winner of the season. Julia Tylke scored for St. Cloud State, while freshman Emma Polusny made 27 saves.


Bemidji State 5, at Minnesota Duluth 3
at Minnesota Duluth 3, Bemidji State 2
(Jan. 12 and 13 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)

Two teams fighting for home ice during the 2018 WCHA Playoffs staged a tightly-contested series, with Bemidji State and host Minnesota Duluth each winning a game apiece.

Trailing 2-0 late in the second period Friday, five different Beavers scored over the final 21:34 of hockey as Bemidji State stormed back for a 5-3 victory. Abby Halluska, Jacqueline Kaasa, Bailey Wright, Clair DeGeorge (game-winner) and Reilly Fawcett all lit the lamp, while Lauren Bench made 32 saves.

Playing in front of a FOX Sports North PLUS audience, UMD freshmen Ashton Bell netted a pair of power-play goals to lift the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win Saturday afternoon. Bell's second goal snapped a 2-2 tie at the 11:28 mark of the second period. Ryleigh Houston also scored to cap a four-point weekend, while Jessica Convery stopped 33-of-35 BSU shots.


at No. 1 Wisconsin 6, Minnesota State 0
at No. 1 Wisconsin 4, Minnesota State 0
(Jan. 13 and 14 at LaBahn Arena; Madison, Wis.)

Playing for the first time in 2018, top-ranked Wisconsin and goaltender Kristen Campbell showed little signs of rust in a sweep of visiting Minnesota State.

Campbell turned aside all 16 shots she faced, including a second-period breakaway attempt, in a 6-0 shutout win Saturday. Six different Badgers scored in the victory: Sam Cogan, Brette Pettet, Claudia Kepler, Baylee Wellhausen, Maddie Rowe and Alexis Mauermann.

Kepler scored twice Sunday afternoon, while Wellhausen and Pettet also finished off multi-goal weekends. Campbell again made 16 saves in her eighth shutout of the season, tying for the NCAA lead. The sophomore transfer from North Dakota now has a scoreless streak of 250:53, the sixth-longest in program history.


Vermont 3, at No. 5 Minnesota 2
at No. 5 Minnesota 6, Vermont 1
(Jan. 12 and 13 at Ridder Arena; Minneapolis, Minn.)

Fifth-ranked Minnesota wrapped up its regular season nonconference schedule by hosting Vermont of Hockey East, skating to a series split.

Vermont scored the game's first four goals Friday en route to a 4-2 win. Nicole Schammel got the Gophers on the board with 5:48 remaining in regulation and Sydney Baldwin also scored, but it was not enough.

After falling behind 1-0 just 55 seconds into Saturday's game, Minnesota scored six unanswered goals to win, 6-1 and salvage a series split. The game was tied 1-1 heading to the third period, but the Gophers scored five times on 17 shots. Taylor Wente (game-winner), Lindsay Agnew and Baldwin all scored, while Schammel lit the lamp twice as part of a three-point night.


at No. 8 Ohio State 5, No. 9 Robert Morris 0
at No. 8 Ohio State 5, No. 9 Robert Morris 2
(Jan. 12 and 13 at OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio)

Behind 78 saves from Kassidy Sauvé and five points each from freshmen Tatum Skaggs and Emma Maltais, No. 8 Ohio State turned a top-10 showdown with No. 9 Robert Morris into an impressive sweep.

Sauvé turned aside all 34 shots she faced Friday for her seventh shutout of the season, a 5-0 victory. Skaggs scored twice for the Buckeyes and added an assist, Maltais had a goal and an assist, and Rebecca Freiburger and Maddy Field also lit the lamp.

OSU connected on five of its 21 shots Saturday and, despite allowing 46 shots on goal, finished the sweep behind 44 saves from Sauvé. The Buckeyes jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind two goals from Charly Dahlquist and a power-play strike from Freiburger, which stood as the game-winner. Maltais and Jincy Dunne scored in the third period for the 5-2 final.


at St. Cloud State 7, Minnesota Whitecaps 2 (Exhibition)
(Jan. 13 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; St. Cloud, Minn.)

Four points from Hallie Theodosopoulos fueled St. Cloud State to a 7-2, exhibition win against the Minnesota Whitecaps. Theodosopoulos scored goals in the first and third periods, while adding a pair of second-period assists.