December 7, 2010
Minnesota Duluth will close down the DECC this weekend against UND
MADISON, Wis. – The first half of the 2010-11 conference season concludes this coming weekend of Friday-Saturday, Dec. 10-11 with a full slate of four Western Collegiate Hockey Association series match ups.
League-leading and No. 2-ranked Wisconsin (14-2-0, 10-2-0-0 WCHA) will visit St. Cloud State (0-14-1, 0-11-1-1 WCHA) for a pair of 2:07 pm CT face-offs at the National Hockey Center. Defending NCAA and WCHA champion and No. 4-ranked Minnesota Duluth (11-4-1, 9-4-1-0 WCHA) will play host to third place and No. 9-ranked North Dakota (8-6-2, 7-5-2-0 WCHA) in the Bulldogs' final two games at the Duluth Entertainment & Convention Center (DECC), with start times at 7:07 pm CT both evenings. Bemidji State (7-7-2, 5-5-2-1 WCHA) will travel to Minnesota State (6-10-2, 5-7-0-0 WCHA) and All Seasons Arena for a 7:07 pm face-off Friday and a 3:07 pm CT start on Saturday afternoon. And No. 7-ranked Minnesota (11-6-0, 6-6-0-0 WCHA) will entertain No. 10 Ohio State (8-6-2, 4-6-2-2 WCHA) at Ridder Arena at 6:07 pm CT Friday evening and 2:07 pm CT Saturday afternoon.
Following this weekend's final WCHA series of calendar year 2010, all eight league-member teams will have played at least 14 of their 28 conference games, with both UMD and UND having played 16.
Wisconsin re-established itself as the team to beat in the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association by opening an eight-game road trip with two victories at third place North Dakota on the penultimate weekend before the Christmas break. The Badgers used a three-point performace by Brianna Decker (2g, 1a) to take a 4-3 victory over the Sioux last Saturday (Dec. 4) and then exploded for four second period goals in a 6-2 victory in the series finale last Sunday (Dec. 5). With two games left before the holiday break, the Badgers have opened up a two-point lead on second place Minnesota Duluth and a seven-point lead on North Dakota. The Badgers have also played two fewer games than each of their closest competitors.
Heading into the end of the first half of the league schedule this weekend the WCHA has five of its eight teams again ranked in the top 10 in the Dec. 6 USCHO.com Division 1 Women's Hockey Poll. Wisconsin is ranked second, Minnesota Duluth is fourth, Minnesota is at No. 7, North Dakota is at No. 9 and Ohio State is at No. 10. Bemidji State was one of four other teams which also received votes in this week's poll.
Last weekend (Dec. 3-5), Minnesota and Bemidji State split a series in Bemidji. Beavers' goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova made 29 saves for her fourth shutout of the season and Erin Cody scored twice in a 2-0 decision last Friday but freshman forward Kelly Terry had a goal and three assists to lead Minnesota to a 6-2 victory in the series finale last Saturday.
In St. Cloud, Huskies' goaltender Ashley Nixon made 39 saves and freshman Molli Mott scored a goal power-play goal and the lone goal in the shootout as St. Cloud State earned a 1-0 shootout win after skating to a 2-2 (ot) tie with Minnesota Duluth.The Bulldogs roared back to take a 5-0 victory on Saturday, however, as Haley Irwin had a hand in all her team's goals. Irwin, the country's leading scorer, had three goals and two assists and scored a total of seven points in the series.
In non-conference play last weekend, host Minnesota State dropped a 2-1 decision to Robert Morris last Friday and then tied the Colonials 1-1 on Saturday in Mankato. Through games of Dec. 7, the eight WCHA-member women's teams are a combined 19-9-2 in non-conference play for a .667 winning percentage.
The WCHA standings this week show Wisconsin (10-2-0-0 WCHA) in first place with 30 points, two ahead of Minnesota Duluth (9-4-1-0 WCHA) and now seven better than North Dakota (7-5-2 WCHA). Minnesota (6-6-0-0 WCHA) and Bemidji State (5-5-2-1 WCHA) are currently tied for fourth place with 18 points each, two better than Ohio State (4-6-2-2 WCHA). Minnesota State (5-7-0-0 WCHA) is in seventh place with 15 points while St. Cloud State (0-11-1-1 WCHA) is eighth with two points.
There are no games scheduled for WCHA-member teams from Dec. 12-29. Ohio State will return to on-ice action on Dec. 30-31 when the Buckeyes host Wayne State for a non-conference series. North Dakota will play in the Bison Holiday Tournament in Winnipeg Dec. 30-31 against the University of Alberta and host University of Manitoba. St. Cloud State will return to play on Jan. 1-2 when the Huskies host Wisconsin, Northeastern and Mercyhurst in the Easton Holiday Showcase at the National Hockey Center. On that Saturday, the Badgers will take on Northeastern while SCSU will face-off against Mercyhurst. On that Sunday, Wisconsin plays Mercyhurst while the Huskies take on Northeastern.
After this Dec. 10-11 weekend, the next action for Bemidji State will be on Jan. 7-8 at St. Cloud State, the next games for Minnesota will be against visiting Minnesota State on Jan. 7-8, and the next competition for Minnesota Duluth will be a Jan. 14-15 set at Minnesota.
This Week in the WCHA
Games for Friday, December 10: Wisconsin at St. Cloud State (WCHA), 2:07 pm CT; Ohio State at Minnesota (WCHA), 6:07 pm CT; Bemidji State at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; North Dakota at Minnesota Duluth (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT.
Games for Saturday, December 11: Ohio State at Minnesota (WCHA), 2:07 pm CT; Wisconsin at St. Cloud State (WCHA), 2:07 pm CT; Bemidji State at Minnesota State (WCHA), 3:07 pm CT; North Dakota at Minnesota Duluth (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT.
Last Week in the WCHA
Results of Friday, December 3
Minnesota 0 at Bemidji State 2 (WCHA)
Minnesota Duluth 2 at St. Cloud State 2 ot (WCHA)
Robert Morris 2 at Minnesota State 1 (NC)
Results of Saturday, December 4
Minnesota 6 at Bemidji State 2 (WCHA)
Wisconsin 4 at North Dakota 3 (WCHA)
Robert Morris 2 at Minnesota State 2 ot (NC)
Minnesota Duluth 5 at St. Cloud State 0 (WCHA)
Results of Sunday, December 5
Wisconsin 6 at North Dakota 2 (WCHA)