WCHA Week 20: Final Regular Season Weekend
Minnesota Duluth (at Minnesota State) and Bemidji State (at No. 6 Ohio State) compete for the final home ice slot, while No. 1 Wisconsin hosts No. 7 Minnesota in the Border Battle
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No. 1 Wisconsin hosts No. 7 Minnesota in the Border Battle

Opening Faceoff

- Badgers Go Back-to-Back-to-Back: The nation's top-ranked team, Wisconsin, has won its third-straight regular season championship in the Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). The Badgers clinched the program's seventh WCHA regular season title last weekend, while joining Minnesota (2013-15) as the only teams in WCHA history to go back-to-back-to-back.

  • By surviving the regular season gauntlet of college hockey's toughest conference, Wisconsin has earned a quarterfinal-round bye and will automatically advance as the top seed at the 2018 WCHA Final Faceoff.

- Final Regular Season Weekend: Three seeds have been set for the 2018 WCHA Quarterfinals, entering the final weekend of the regular season. In addition to No. 1 seed Wisconsin, St. Cloud State and Minnesota State are locked into the No. 7-8 seeds, respectively.

  • Ohio State and Minnesota will each host a quarterfinal-round series as the No. 2-3 seeds, in some order. OSU, which owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over UMN, needs a combination of two points won and/or Gophers' points lost to clinch the No. 2 seed and a quarterfinal-round series with Minnesota State (setting up a Minnesota vs. St. Cloud State clash).
  • The 4-5 matchup in the WCHA Quarterfinals will be Minnesota Duluth vs. Bemidji State, as they are locked into those spots. The only question is where that series will be held, as the Bulldogs currently have a two-point lead for home ice. A combination of five UMD points won and/or BSU points lost sends the series to AMSOIL Arena. Since the teams split their WCHA season series at two wins apiece, a tiebreaker would come down to one of three criteria, in order: 1) most WCHA wins, 2) most WCHA losses, 3) least goals allowed in the head-to-head series (which BSU would win, 10-11).

- Every Rink, Every Game: Regardless of the match-ups, the 2018 WCHA Quarterfinals promises to provide excellent hockey. The No. 7 seed, St. Cloud State, is 5-4-3 since Jan. 1 (allowing just 1.92 goals per game during that stretch). Minnesota State, the eighth seed, has split its last two series -- including a 4-1 win last Friday against potential quarterfinal-round opponent Ohio State.

- A Look at the Rankings: Three WCHA teams are ranked in both the USCHO.com and USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine polls: No. 1 Wisconsin (back in the top spot), No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Minnesota. Minnesota Duluth, is receiving USCHO.com votes.

  • The Badgers are still No. 1 in the PairWise Rankings entering the weekend. The Buckeyes are sixth and the Gophers are eighth.

- Rookie Scoring Champ?: The WCHA has not had a freshman as its scoring champion (defined as the most points in league play) since Ohio State's Hokey Langan in the 2009-10 season (21g-22a--43pts). But, rookies have two of the top-three spots entering the final weekend of the regular season: Minnesota's Grace Zumwinkle leads the WCHA with 25 points (10g-15a) in league games, while Ohio State's Emma Maltais is second with 23 points (10g-13a).

- WCHA on FOX Sports North: Beginning Jan. 13, five of the last six WCHA regular season weekends have (and 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 Friday night's Border Battle clash, as Wisconsin hosts Minnesota at 7:07 p.m. CT on FOX Sports North Wisconsin and FOX Sports North PLUS.
  • Saturday marks the FSN home debut for Minnesota State, as FOX Sports North PLUS will carry the Mavericks-Minnesota Duluth contest beginning at 2:07 p.m. CT.

- 2018 Winter Olympics: Seven (37) current or former WCHA players, including four current student-athletes, are competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.


By the Numbers

- 4: Shutouts this season for Emma Polusny, a St. Cloud State single-season record. The freshman netminder has all four clean sheets since Nov. 22, during which time she leads the WCHA with a .953 save percentage and is second with a 1.57 GAA.

- 5: Categories in which Wisconsin sophomore Kristen Campbell leads NCAA Division I goaltenders: wins (27), winning percentage (.944, 27-3-2), goals-against average (1.12), save percentage (.944) and shutouts (10).

- 13 and 20: WCHA and overall wins for Ohio State, matching the all-time program records. OSU won 13 league games in 2011-12 (13-14-1) and in 2006-07 (13-11-4), while the Buckeyes' lone 20-win campaign also came in 2006-07 (20-13-4).

- 484: WCHA-best blocked shots by Minnesota State, second-most in NCAA Division I. Senior blueliner and team captain Anna Keys is second in the league and sixth nationally with 73 blocks.


The Week Ahead

- Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota State: The Bulldogs control their destiny in the chase for quarterfinal-round home ice as they skate in Mankato. UMD has won 11 of the last 12 meetings, including a Nov. 17-18 sweep at AMSOIL, and leads the all-time series, 64-7-4.

- Bemidji State at No. 6 Ohio State: The Beavers need some points and some help to capture home ice, while the sixth-ranked Buckeyes can wrap up the No. 2 seed. The Nov. 17-18 series was tight, with host BSU winning a shootout Friday and OSU winning 5-4 Saturday.

- No. 7 Minnesota at No. 1 Wisconsin: The top-ranked Badgers host the No. 7 Gophers in the latest Border Battle series. UW is undefeated in the last five games (3-0-2) after winning a pair of one-goal decisions, including an OT contest, Oct. 28-29 at Ridder Arena.


The Week in Review

- Behind WCHA Players of the Week Julia Tylke (Offensive) and Emma Polusny (Rookie), St. Cloud State picked up its first league road sweep since Jan. 2016 and first at Bemidji State since Dec. 2007.

- Nationally second-ranked Wisconsin wrapped up its third-straight WCHA regular season championship with a win Friday, then rallied for a tie and shootout win Saturday at Minnesota Duluth.

- Minnesota State picked up its biggest win of the season with an upset victory over No. 5 Ohio State on Friday, while the visiting Buckeyes rallied in the third period Saturday to earn the split.

- 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.


St. Cloud State 4, at Bemidji State 0
St. Cloud State 4, at Bemidji State 1
(Feb. 9 and 10 at Sanford Center; Bemidji, Minn.)

Behind WCHA Players of the Week Julia Tylke (Offensive) and Emma Polusny (Rookie), St. Cloud State picked up its first league road sweep since Jan. 2016 and first at Bemidji State since Dec. 2007.

Polusny, the freshman goaltender, turned aside all 26 shots she faced in a 4-0, series-opening victory Friday. The shutout was Polusny's fourth of the season, setting the SCSU single-season record. Tylke had a goal and an assist for the Huskies, while Janna Haeg opened the scoring with the game-winner.

Tylke led the way Saturday, scoring the game's first two goals and assisting on the Huskies' third in a 4-1 triumph. Polusny made 16 of her 35 saves in the third period, as SCSU turned a narrow 2-1 lead into the two-goal victory thanks to goals from Hannah Potrykus and Brittney Anderson.


No. 2 Wisconsin 5, at Minnesota Duluth 0
No. 2 Wisconsin 3, at Minnesota Duluth 3 - OT (UW wins shootout, 1-0)
(Feb. 9 and 10 at AMSOIL Arena; Duluth, Minn.)

Nationally second-ranked Wisconsin wrapped up its third-straight WCHA regular season championship with a win Friday, then rallied for a tie and shootout win Saturday at Minnesota Duluth.

The Badgers rode the NCAA-leading 10th shutout from sophomore goaltender Kristen Campbell (17 saves) to a 5-0, title-clinching win Friday. Five different Badgers scored, including freshman Caitlin Schneider, who was credited with the game-winner after netting the first of three UW goals in the first period.

Trailing 3-1 entering the third period Saturday, UW received a pair of power-play goals from Sophia Shaver to force overtime. Following the 3-3 tie, the Badgers' Sam Cogan scored the winning shootout goal for the extra league point. Jalyn Elmes, along with freshmen Naomi Rogge and Anna Klein, all scored in regulation for the host Bulldogs.


at Minnesota State 4, No. 5 Ohio State 1
No. 5 Ohio State 3, at Minnesota State 2
(Feb. 9 and 10 at Verizon Center; Mankato, Minn.)

Minnesota State picked up its biggest win of the season with an upset victory over No. 5 Ohio State on Friday, while the visiting Buckeyes rallied in the third period Saturday to earn the split.

Lindsey Coleman scored 29 seconds into regulation Friday and the Mavericks never looked back en route to a 4-1 victory. Amanda Conway also scored in the first period, Coleman netted her second of the game in the second period and Mankato native Rebekah Kolstad added a third-period insurance marker. Chloe Crosby, the eventual WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, turned aside 35-of-36 shots for Minnesota State.

Trailing 2-1 entering the third period Saturday, Ohio State turned to a pair of its newcomers to pull off a 3-2, comeback win. Charly Dahlquist, a transfer from North Dakota, tied the game 2:59 into the final period, while freshman Emma Maltais broke the deadlock with the game-winner at the 13:13 mark. Crosby made another 36 saves for the Mavericks, while Kolstad scored her second goal of the weekend.