WCHA Week 17: Three Key League Series, Two Televised Games Highlight Weekend Ahead
Friday's game between No. 5 Ohio State and Minnesota Duluth, along with No. 1 Wisconsin vs. St. Cloud State on Sunday, to be shown on FOX Sports North/Wisconsin networks
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Ohio State travels to Minnesota Duluth with Friday's game televised on FOX Sports North PLUS.

Opening Faceoff

- A Look at the Rankings: Once again, the Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) has three teams ranked in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey magazine polls: top-ranked Wisconsin (unanimous), No. 5 Ohio State and No. 7 Minnesota. The Buckeyes flipped with the Gophers after their first-ever sweep of Minnesota.

  • The Badgers (No. 1), Buckeyes (No. 5) and Gophers (No. 7) are in identical spots in the PairWise rankings.

- O-H-I-O: Ohio State's first-ever sweep of Minnesota was the latest accomplishment in what is becoming a special season.

  • At 17-5-4 overall and 10-2-4 in the WCHA, the Buckeyes have already matched their largest overall win total since going 17-16-3 in the 2014-15 season (also the last time they won at least 10 league games, finishing with 12). OSU last won more games in 2012-13 (19-15-3) and have not finished with a winning league record since the 2006-07 season (13-11-4, part of a program-record 20-win campaign).

- Unleash SCSU: St. Cloud State is 3-1-1 since the calendar flipped to 2018, the WCHA's third-best winning percentage (.700).

  • The Huskies' forward trio of sophomore transfer Hallie Theodosopoulos, sophomore Kayla Friesen and freshman Laura Kluge has been on fire, combining for nine goals and 18 points. Kluge is tied for the WCHA lead in January with seven points (2g-5a), while Theodosopoulos is tied for tops with five goals.
  • SCSU leads the league this month by allowing just 1.20 goals per game. Freshman goaltender Emma Polusny paces the WCHA with a 1.15 goals-against average and a .963 save percentage, while sophomore Janine Alder has posted marks of 1.28 and .966, respectively (without enough minutes to qualify).

- From St. Cloud to Pyeongchang: In a historic first for the program, St. Cloud State sophomore goaltender Janine Alder was named to Switzerland's women's hockey roster for the 2018 Winter Olympics. A bronze medalist with the Swiss in 2014, Alder becomes the first active Olympian in the 20-year history of SCSU women's hockey.

- WCHA on FOX Sports North: Beginning Jan. 13, five of the last six WCHA regular season weekends will feature at least one game on FOX Sports North, FOX Sports North PLUS and/or FOX Sports Wisconsin (all streamed on FOX Sports GO).

  • This weekend features Ohio State's debut on the WCHA television package, as the Buckeyes face host Minnesota Duluth on Friday. The puck drops at 3:07 p.m. CT on FOX Sports North PLUS.
  • FOX Sports Wisconsin PLUS and FOX Sports North will air Sunday's finale between top-ranked Wisconsin and St. Cloud State from a sold-out LaBahn Arena in Madison.

- #WeAreWCHA: The NCAA's top-three attendance leaders are all WCHA teams. Wisconsin leads the country with an average attendance of 2,273 per game at LaBahn Arena, Minnesota is second by welcoming 1,610 fans to Ridder Arena and Minnesota Duluth ranks third with 1,260 per game joining Bulldog Country at AMSOIL Arena.


By the Numbers

- 12: Goals by Minnesota Duluth freshman forward Naomi Rogge, the most by a Bulldogs rookie since Jenna McParland lit the lamp 21 times during the 2011-12 season.

- 15: Straight WCHA wins for Wisconsin to start its 2017-18 league schedule, the third-longest streak in the WCHA's 19 seasons. The Badgers, which played to a tie last Saturday at Bemidji State in their 16th game, joined Minnesota Duluth, which won its first 16 league contests of the inaugural 1999-2000 WCHA season; and, the undefeated Minnesota squad of 2012-13.

- 24: Consecutive home games without a loss for Wisconsin. The Badgers have outscored their opponents by 114 goals during the 23-0-1 streak, which dates back to Dec. 3, 2016.

- 37: Current or former WCHA players named to 2018 Olympic teams for the United States (14), Canada (nine), Finland (seven), Sweden (five) and Switzerland (two).

- 381: WCHA-leading blocked shots by Minnesota State, good for seventh-most nationally.


The Week Ahead

- No. 5 Ohio State at Minnesota Duluth: The Buckeyes, who earlier this season swept the Bulldogs for the first time since March 2013, visit Duluth. OSU swept the Oct. 13-14 series in Columbus (2-0 and 4-3), but UMD owns a 65-17-3 all-time edge.

- Minnesota State at No. 7 Minnesota: The Gophers are 82-3-3 all-time against the Mavericks, including a 48-game unbeaten streak dating back to Jan. 2007. Earlier this season (Nov. 3-4), Minnesota won 6-1 and 5-2 on the road in Mankato.

- St. Cloud State at No. 1 Wisconsin: The Badgers look to move a step closer to a possible WCHA regular season title. UW is undefeated in its last 13 games against the Huskies, including 1-0 and 3-0 victories Dec. 8-9 in St. Cloud.


The Week in Review

- Top-ranked Wisconsin remained undefeated in WCHA play, but surrendered a league point for the first time this season as host Bemidji State earned a Saturday draw during an exciting series.

- In an historic weekend, No. 7 Ohio State posted the first sweep in program history of Minnesota, leap-frogging the No. 5/6 Gophers into second place in the WCHA standings.

- It was an exciting weekend in St. Cloud, as the city hosted Hockey Day Minnesota 2018 festivities, which included St. Cloud State playing Minnesota Duluth in the first collegiate women's hockey game held outdoors.

- 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.


No. 1 Wisconsin 4, at Bemidji State 3
No. 1 Wisconsin 3, at Bemidji State 3 - OT (UW wins shootout, 2-1)
(Jan. 19 and 20 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)

Top-ranked Wisconsin remained undefeated in WCHA play, but surrendered a league point for the first time this season as host Bemidji State earned a Saturday draw during an exciting series.

After the Badgers jumped out to a 3-0 lead Friday, the Beavers battled back to tie the game before the end of regulation, scoring at 15:18 (Emily Bergland) and 16:59 (Paige Beebe) of the third period. But in overtime, UW defenseman Mikaela Gardner notched her sixth goal of the season to give the Badgers a 4-3 victory.

The teams traded goals throughout the day during Saturday's series finale, eventually sending the game into extra time once again (this time, on a third-period goal by UW's Sam Cogan). In the end, OT wasn't enough, forcing a shootout, where the Badgers got a fifth-round goal by freshman Brette Pettet to gain the extra league point.


at No. 7 Ohio State 3, No. 5/6 Minnesota 2
at No. 7 Ohio State 5, Minnesota 1
(Jan. 19 and 20 at OSU Ice Rink; Columbus, Ohio)

In an historic weekend, No. 7 Ohio State posted the first sweep in program history of Minnesota, leap-frogging the No. 5/6 Gophers into second place in the WCHA standings.

Freshman Liz Schepers capped an OSU comeback Friday night with a dramatic goal, scoring with 3:56 remaining in regulation to snap a 2-2 tie and lift the Buckeyes to a 3-2 victory. Charly Dahlquist scored at 10:48 of the third period to draw OSU even, after the hosts entered the final frame trailing, 2-1.

OSU used the momentum to finish off the Gophers in high-scoring fashion Saturday. Led by Maddy Field's two goals and another game-winner from Schepers, along with 23 saves from Kassidy Sauvé, the Buckeyes rolled to a 5-1 victory.


at St. Cloud State 3, Minnesota Duluth 2
at St. Cloud State 1, Minnesota Duluth 1 - OT (SCSU wins shootout, 1-0)
(Jan. 19 at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center; Jan. 20 at Eastman Park; St. Cloud, Minn.)

It was an exciting weekend in St. Cloud, as the city hosted Hockey Day Minnesota 2018 festivities, which included St. Cloud State playing Minnesota Duluth in the first collegiate women's hockey game held outdoors.

In the first contest of the weekend, a WCHA league game played Friday night at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, SCSU used a pair of Hallie Theodosopoulos goals -- including the tie-breaking, game-winner with 2:32 remaining in regulation -- to dispense of the Bulldogs, 3-2. Janine Alder made 36 saves for the Huskies.

The outdoor game, played as a nonconference contest, was an exciting, 1-1 draw. Theodosopoulos scored again for SCSU, while UMD freshman Naomi Rogge -- an Eden Prairie, Minn. native -- lit the lamp on Hockey Day Minnesota. While it did not count for a league point, the teams played a six-round shootout in which SCSU senior defenseman Brittney Anderson scored the winner. After Emma Polusny turned aside 22-of-23 shots, Alder made 21 official saves in a scheduled relief role, before stopping all six Bulldog shootout attempts. UMD sophomore goaltender Catherine Johnson, a Lakeville, Minn. native, was also excellent, making 16 official saves.