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WCHA Notebook: Five of eight conference teams now ranked in national polls

St. Cloud State is officially ranked in the national polls this week, the first time since 2009. Minnesota State still lurks outside of the top-15 and receives votes.

Minnesota Duluth faces Harvard in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Hockey Tournament at Ridder Arena
Minnesota Duluth forward Clara Van Wieren (25) skates with the puck on Thursday, March 10, 2022, at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

The WCHA is showing off it's dominance in the national polls this week, as five of eight teams are in the top-15, with Minnesota State still receiving votes.

Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Minnesota Duluth, all remain in the top-10 while St. Cloud State breaks into the polls at No. 14 - the first time the Huskies have been nationally ranked since 2009.

OHIO STATE (#1), 14-2-2 Overall, 13-2-1 Conference:

The Buckeyes played a tough series against Minnesota Duluth, splitting the series and being handed their second loss of the season.

Paetyn Levis struck early on in the first game on the power play to give OSU an early 1-0 lead. Emma Maltais scored the eventual game-winning goal in the third period at even strength. The Buckeyes won game one of the series, but it was a close 2-1 final score.

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The Bulldogs brought the firepower the next night, putting themselves up 2-0 early on. Things were then back and forth for the rest of the game, eventually heading into overtime tied at 4-4. Ohio State were handed only their second loss of the season in the extra frame after UMD scored on goaltender Raygan Kirk .

Even though the Buckeyes now have two losses on the year, they still reign supreme in the WCHA standings at first place.

OSU will have a week off before traveling to face-off against nonconference opponent Cornell (#9/10) in mid-December.

WISCONSIN (#2), 13-2-1 Overall, 10-1-1 Conference:

The Badgers, simply put, had a dominant weekend against Bemidji State. Wisconsin outscored the Beavers by an 17-2 margin over two games.

Britta Curl netted a hat trick and Casey O'Brien had a six-point game in night one's 13-1 victory. Goaltender Cami Kronish had to make only eight saves the entire 60 minutes.

The next night was a closer outcome between the two teams but Wisconsin would still come out victorious, 4-1. Curl scored another two goals in game two and Kronish saved nine of nine shots on goal.

Curl's outstanding performance on the weekend earned her WCHA Forward of the Week honors while teammate Vivian Jungels is Rookie of the Week after netting four points.

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Wisconsin earns all six conference points in the weekend sweep and is third in the WCHA standings, only four points behind Minnesota.

The Badgers are on the road again this week as they travel to Mankato to take on Minnesota State (RV). The two teams have not yet met this season. Puck drop is set for Dec. 9 and 10 at 6 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.

MINNESOTA (#4/6), 12-3-2 Overall, 11-1-2-2 Conference:

The Gophers earned a weekend sweep in a strong showing against Minnesota State. Even though Minnesota won both games, they moved down one spot in the USCHO poll and moved up a spot in the USA Hockey poll this week.

The Mavericks scored the first goal in game one, but the Gophers scored four unanswered to come out victorious. Grace Zumwinkle had three assists while Abigail Boreen netted two goals for Minnesota.

The Gophers were much stronger in game two, posting a 6-0 shutout. Taylor Heise had a huge five-point night and teammate Skylar Vetter earned her third collegiate shutout.

Vetter stopped 38 of 39 shots on goal throughout the two-game series, earning her WCHA Goaltender of the Week honors.

Minnesota has one more series before the new year as they compete in a home-and-home with No. 14 St. Cloud State. The Huskies defeated the Gophers back in November for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Women's Face-Off Classic, but were previously swept by scores of 4-2 and 2-1 in October.

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Minnesota is currently second in the WCHA standings, four-points ahead of Wisconsin, and will be looking to solidify its second-ranked position this weekend. Game times are set for Dec. 9 in Minneapolis at 6 p.m. and Dec. 10 in St. Cloud at 3 p.m.

MINNESOTA DULUTH (#7/8), 12-6 Overall, 6-6 Conference:

The Bulldogs had a tough task last week as they faced-off against No. 1 Ohio State.

Game one might have not gone exactly how UMD pictured things, but it only lost 2-1 in the end. Kylie Hanley posted the lone Bulldog goal late in the third period.

Losing in night one seemed to give Minnesota Duluth just the right amount of firepower they needed for an extra spark the next day. UMD scored an early 2-0 lead, but Ohio State and the Bulldogs clawed back and forth until the end of regulation with things tied up at 4-4. UMD came out victorious in the extra frame to pull off the upset on a goal from junior Clara Van Wieren .

After a standout performance over the two-game series, defender Nina Jobst-Smith earned WCHA Defender of the Week honors.

The Bulldogs are currently in fifth place in the conference standings, one point ahead of Minnesota State and two points behind St. Cloud State.

UMD will look to advance up in the WCHA standings this weekend as they take on St. Thomas at home. The Tommies have yet to earn a single conference point. Puck drop is set for Dec. 9 and 10 at 3 p.m.

ST. CLOUD STATE (#14), 11-8 Overall, 6-8 Conference:

The Huskies are now on a four-game win streak after sweeping conference foe St. Thomas in a home-and-home series. After the weekend sweep, St. Cloud is nationally ranked for the first time since 2009 — coming in at No. 14 on the polls.

The first game of the series, which was played in St. Cloud, was a fairly tight game with a final score of 3-2 in favor of SCSU. Emma Gentry netted two goals and netminder Sanni Ahola stopped 33 of 35 shots on goal.

The Huskies showed much more dominance in game two, winning by a final score of 6-3. Klara Hymlarova score a hat trick by scoring twice on the power play and once shorthanded. Grace Wolfe tacked on three assists.

Hymlarova's three goals earned her the Howies Hockey Tape Performance of the Week title.

The Huskies stand at fourth in the WCHA standings, two points ahead of Minnesota Duluth but 12 points behind Wisconsin.

The Huskies have two big games coming up this weekend as they take on #4/6 Minnesota. Game one will be played in Minneapolis on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. with game two the next day in St. Cloud at 3 p.m.

MINNESOTA STATE (RV), 7-9 Overall, 5-9 Conference:

The Mavericks had a tough conference matchup for the first week of December, falling to #4/6 Minnesota by scores of 1-4 and 0-6.

MSU actually scored the first goal of the game in night one, but unfortunately for the Mavericks that goal from Kennedy Bobyck would be the team's lone tally for the entire weekend.

Alexa Berg saved 37 of 41 shots on net in game one, and 44 of 50 in game two.

Minnesota State sits at sixth place in the WCHA standings, one single point behind Minnesota Duluth but 13 points ahead of Bemidji State. They have a chance to grab more conference points this weekend in a home series against #2 Wisconsin. Puck drop against the Badgers is set for Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. and Dec 10 at 3 p.m.

BEMIDJI STATE, 4-15-1 Overall, 1-13 Conference:

The Beavers had a disappointing weekend as they were outscored by No. 2 Wisconsin by a 17-2 margin over two games at home.

BSU was outshot 55-9 in game one to lose by a final score of 13-1, with the lone Beaver goal coming from Mya Headrick . The next night Bemidji State pulled things together to only lose 4-1 with a single power play goal from Reece Hunt .

Both Abbie Thompson and Hannah Hogenson made appearances in net during the series.

Bemidji State stands at seventh place in the WCHA standings with three points, which is three ahead of St. Thomas but 13 behind Minnesota State.

The Beavers are off this week before they head to St. Thomas for their last series of 2022.

ST. THOMAS, 3-13 Overall, 0-12 Conference:

St. Thomas was swept by the Huskies this past weekend in a home-and-home series, but they kept things close — for the most part.

The Tommies lost 3-2 in game one but showed that they are not a team that will give up easily. Lauren Stenslie and Maija Almich tacked on the goals for UST before St. Cloud won the game late in the third period.

St. Thomas had a decent showing the next night but unfortunately had to deal with an electric Klara Hymlarova for the Huskies who netted a hat trick, who put St. Cloud up by a final score of 6-3. Almich and Stenslie both scored again in game two along with teammate Alli Pahl .

Saskia Maurer and Alexa Dobchuk split time in net against SCSU.

UST has yet to earn a conference point and remain at eighth in the WCHA standings. It'lll have a chance to fight for that first point this weekend on the road against #7/8 Minnesota Duluth. Game times are set for 3 p.m. on both Dec. 9 and 10 in Duluth.

Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a B.S. in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies and was a part of the University Honors Program.
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