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WCHA Notebook: Huge sweep for UMD shakes up the polls

Minnesota Duluth swept the previous third-ranked Wisconsin in a pair of sold-out games on the road. After the sweep, UMD moves up to No. 6/7 and Wisconsin drops to No. 5/8.

Women's college hockey teams play game in arena
Minnesota Duluth goaltender Emma Soderberg (30) stops a shot on goal against Minnesota State at Amsoil Arena on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

National polls are shaken up after previously ranked No. 8 Minnesota Duluth earned a sweep of No. 3 Wisconsin in a pair of sold-out games on the road.

The WCHA continues to get more and more competitive as the season continues on.

OHIO STATE (#1), 18-2-2 Overall, 13-2-1 Conference:

The Buckeyes have been off since Dec. 31 but will be back in action this weekend in a home series against Wisconsin (#5/8).

The Badgers are coming off of being swept by Minnesota Duluth and will have a tough task to now travel to the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. The Buckeyes will look to open 2023 with a sweep of their own and will to try and receive as many WCHA conference points as possible. Ohio State and Minnesota both stand locked at 41 points each in the conference standings.

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Puck drop for the matchup is set for 5 p.m. on Jan. 13 and 2 p.m. on Jan. 14 (Central time).

In other news, netminder Raygan Kirk was named to the 2023 National Goalie of the Year Watch List after posting a .918 save percentage over eight games so far this season.

MINNESOTA (#3/4), 16-3-2 Overall, 13-1-2-2 Conference:

The Golden Gophers came away with two nonconference wins this weekend in the East/West Showcase.

Minnesota defeated Merrimack, 9-2, in game one. Taylor Heise posted a hat trick in the match.

"It was cool to see us come back from a shaky first period ... We made some mistakes that we don't normally make, but we came back much better in the third," Heise said.

The Gophers had another big night against New Hampshire the next day in a 8-1 victory. Grace Zumwinkle scored her 100th career goal in the win. Zumwinkle earned WCHA Forward of the Week honors after posting seven points on the weekend.

Teammate Skylar Vetter was named to the 2023 National Goalie of the Year watchlist. The sophomore has a .921 save percentage over 19 games in 2022-23.

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Minnesota will have a home series this weekend against St. Thomas. The Gophers will look to secure as many WCHA points as possible to try and lock up first place in the conference. Minnesota and Ohio State are both currently tied at 41 points.

Game times are set for Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. and Jan 14 at 2 p.m. at Ridder Arena.

MINNESOTA DULUTH (#6/7), 15-6-1 Overall, 9-6-1 Conference:

The Bulldogs had a huge weekend, sweeping the previously third-ranked team in the nation, Wisconsin.

UMD was outshot 45-31 in night one but tallied a goal in the second period and two in the third to come out on top, 3-1.

"I really loved our defensive play all day today ... In front of a sold-out crowd with everything on the line there, I thought there were so many gutsy plays from so many different people," head coach Maura Crowell told reporters after the game.

The next night was a tight 1-0 victory for the Bulldogs to complete the sweep of the Badgers at home. Anneke Linser scored the lone goal of the game.

After posting 72 saves on 73 shots, goaltender Emma Soderberg is WCHA Goaltender of the Week. Soderberg was also named to the 2023 National Goalie of the Year Watch List. Teammate Nina Jobst-Smith earned Defender of the Week honors.

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The Bulldogs have a two-game homestand against Bemidji State this weekend. Puck drop is set for Jan. 13 at 6 p..m and Jan. 14 at 3 p.m.

WISCONSIN (#5/8), 16-5-1 Overall, 12-3-1 Conference:

Wisconsin had a tough weekend. The Badgers were swept at home by Minnesota Duluth, which caused the squad to drop multiple spots in the national polls.

Wisconsin outshot UMD 45-31 in game one, but a lone goal from Casey O'Brien wasn't enough and the team would fall by a final score of 3-1.

The Badgers fell again in night two by a tight score of 1-0. "It was between two teams that were defending well today and both goalies were playing well," said head coach Mark Johnson on the team's website. "They got the bounce there to get it 1-0."

Wisconsin will look to rebound this weekend in a road series against first-ranked Ohio State. Game times are set for Jan. 13 at 5 p.m. and Jan. 14 at 2 p.m.

In other news, goaltender Cami Kronish was named to the 2023 National Goalie of the Year Watch List after posting a .926 save percentage over 15 games this season.

ST. CLOUD STATE (#14), 13-10 Overall, 6-10 Conference:

The Huskies posted two nonconference wins this weekend at the East/West Showcase in Minneapolis.

St. Cloud State shutout New Hampshire, 3-0, in game one. Redshirt senior Allie Cornelius posted two goals in the match.

"Obviously happy with the win in our first game back from break," said head coach Brian Idalski said after the game. "I thought JoJo was very good for us and definitely earned the shutout today."

The Huskies had another strong showing the next day, winning 3-1 over Merrimack. Senior Klara Hymlarova posted two powerplay goals in the game.

St. Cloud has a big conference match-up next. The Huskies will play Minnesota State on the road with fifth place in the WCHA on the line. The Huskies are currently fifth with 19 points while the Mavericks are sixth with 16.

Puck drop is set for Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. and Jan 14. at 3 p.m.

MINNESOTA STATE, 11-11 Overall, 5-11 Conference:

The Mavericks had two big nonconference wins this weekend against Lindenwood to get their season record up to .500.

Minnesota State came up big in a 8-0 victory in game one. Seven different skaters found the back of the net.

The next night was a little closer, but the Mavericks still came out victorious, 5-2.

Freshman Taylor Otremba earned her third WCHA Rookie of the Week title after posting five points over the two games.

Minnesota State has a big match-up this weekend against St. Cloud. The Mavericks are sitting only three points behind the Huskies in WCHA standings, so the six conference points that are on the line are critical in the series.

Puck drop is set for Jan 13 at 6 p.m. and Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. in Mankato.

ST. THOMAS, 7-14-1 Overall, 2-13-1 Conference:

The Tommies earned their second straight sweep after posting 5-1 and 3-0 wins over RIT.

Gabby Billing lead UST in night one with two goals while three different skaters found the back of the net the next day.

MORE FROM SYDNEY WOLF
Players from across the country have started to sign tenders to play in the NAHL for the 2023-24 season as the window opened to sign the agreements on Nov. 1.

Alexa Dobchuk and Saskia Maurer both appeared in net for the Tommies.

UST is on a four game win streak but they have a tough task ahead as they will travel to No. 3/4 Minnesota on Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. and Jan. 14 at 2 p.m.

BEMIDJI STATE, 4-17-1 Overall, 1-15 Conference:

The Beavers have been off since Dec. 17 but will soon be back in action.

BSU looks to improve on their standing in the conference as they currently are in eighth place in the WCHA, with three points.

The squad will travel to No. 6/7 Minnesota Duluth for two games against the Bulldogs. Games are slated for Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. and Jan. 14 at 3 p.m.

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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