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WCHA Notebook: Minnesota State shakes up the conference standings after huge weekend sweep

The Mavericks post a big weekend sweep against the Huskies to move them up to fifth place in the WCHA standings.

Women's college hockey teams play game in arena
Minnesota State goaltender Alexa Berg (1) blocks a shot on goal against Minnesota Duluth at Amsoil Arena on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

The national polls haven't changed much, but the WCHA standings have been shook up after big wins for Minnesota and Minnesota State this weekend.

The Gopher now stand in sole possession of first place in the conference while the Mavericks move up to fifth place. Find out all of the latest WCHA news below.

OHIO STATE (#1), 20-2-2 Overall, 15-2-1 Conference:

Even though the Buckeyes aren't the No. 1 team in the WCHA standings anymore, they still remain the top team in the nation in the polls. OSU is on a six-game win streak after sweeping Wisconsin at home by scores of 2-1 and 5-0.

Ohio State lost a conference point in game one due to the fact that the squad needed overtime to earn the victory. Jenna Buglioni tallied the early goal while Sophie Jaques scored the game-winner in the extra frame.

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The Buckeyes came out with much more firepower in game two. Paetyn Levis netted a hat trick while Amanda Thiele earned a 17-save shutout.

"They were rewarded for their unified chemistry, that they play together," said head coach Nadine Muzerall after the game on the team's social media page. "They don't care about who gets the recognition or who puts the puck in the net, they just want to win."

Levis, Jaques, and Thiele all earned WCHA honors this week after their dominant performances.

OSU will look to regain their first place position in the WCHA this weekend as they head to St. Cloud State (RV) for a pair of games. Puck drop is set for Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. and Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. (Central Time).

MINNESOTA (#3/4), 18-3-2 Overall, 15-1-2-2 Conference:

The Golden Gophers may not be No. 1 in the national polls, but they are in sole position of first-place in the WCHA conference this weekend after sweeping St. Thomas.

Minnesota earned a 5-0 shutout victory in game one. Sophomore Skylar Vetter saved all 17 shots on goal and Grace Zumwinkle netted two goals which puts her tied for fifth-place in program history for career goals scored.

In a 4-1 victory the next night the accolades kept coming for the Gophers. Catie Skaja hit the 100-career point milestone while Taylor Heise went over 200 career points, which puts her in seventh-place in program history for total points scored.

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Minnesota will look to defend their sole possession of first place in the WCHA this weekend in a series against Bemidji State. The Gophers won both games in the first match-up earlier this season. Game times are set for Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. and Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. in Bemidji.

MINNESOTA DULUTH (#6), 17-6-1 Overall, 11-6-1 Conference:

The Bulldogs had arguably the biggest wins of the weekend, defeating Bemidji State by a 13-1 margin over two games.

Multiple different UMD skaters were able to get on the scoresheet over the two games. Goaltenders Emma Soderberg and freshman Hailey MacLeod both appeared in net. MacLeod earned WCHA Rookie of the Week honors after stopping 11 of 12 shots on goal.

"I thought the crowd tonight was outstanding, so fun to see so many girls hockey players in the building," said head coach Maura Crowell to reporters after the game. "It's an inspiration for our players just as much as it is for the girls that came."

The Bulldogs stand at fourth place in the WCHA standings. They'll look to make a push to get up to third this weekend as they take on St. Thomas. UMD previously earned a win and a shootout loss to the Tommies back in December. Game times for series is set for Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. and Jan. 22 at 2 p.m.

WISCONSIN (#8), 16-7-1 Overall, 12-5-1 Conference:

The Badgers have had a tough streak of games lately, falling to eighth in the national polls. The team is currently on a five-game losing streak.

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Wisconsin came close to winning game one against Ohio State, but the lone goal from Lacey Eden wasn't enough as the Buckeyes would take game one in overtime.

The next night, the Badgers were shutout by a final score of 5-0.

Wisconsin still stands at third place in the WCHA standings but will need to find some wins soon or UMD has the potential to pass them up.

The Badgers have a chance to redeem themselves this weekend in a series against Minnesota State (RV). Puck drop is set for Jan. 21 and 22 at 2 p.m.

MINNESOTA STATE (RV), 13-11 Overall, 7-11 Conference:

The Mavericks had an impressive weekend, posting a sweep against St. Cloud State. With the two wins, MSU now moves up and takes SCSU's fifth place spot in the WCHA.

Minnesota State won the games by scores of 3-1 and 4-1. Multiple different skaters found the scoresheet and goaltenders Lauren Barbro and Alexa Berg split time in net.

After the weekend, the squad now is over .500 in their overall record and is on a six-game win streak.

The team will be tested this weekend in a series against No. 8 Wisconsin. The Badgers are currently on a five-game losing streak. Game times for the matchup are set for Jan. 21 and 22 at 2 p.m.

ST. CLOUD STATE (RV), 13-12 Overall, 6-12 Conference:

After an impressive start to the 2022-23 season, the Huskies had a disappointing weekend on the road. Minnesota State swept St. Cloud State and passed them up in the WCHA conference standings.

Freshman Svenja Voigt and junior transfer Avery Myers netted the lone goals for SCSU in the 3-1 and 4-1 losses.

"I thought Mankato was hungrier," said head coach Brian Idalski on the team's website. "They played well and deserved the outcome that they got. A disappointing weekend overall for us."

The two-year captain for Apple Valley is closing in on 150 career points over her five varsity seasons.

St. Cloud now falls to sixth place in the WCHA standings and goes from being ranked 14th in the nation to just receiving votes.

And things won't get easier from here on out as the No. 1-ranked team is coming to town this weekend. Ohio State will play the Huskies at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. and Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. (Central Time).

ST. THOMAS, 7-16-1 Overall, 2-15-1 Conference:

The Tommies unfortunately had their four-game win streak squashed by Minnesota (#3/4) over the weekend. UST lost game one 5-0 and game two 4-1.

The team was shutout in the first night, and sophomore Maddy Clough earned the squad's lone tally of the series.

The largest gift ever given to a Minnesota university means the new 4,000-seat Lee and Penny Anderson Arena will likely open on the St. Thomas campus in time for the 2025-26 college hockey season.

Fortunately though for the squad, the university announced plans to build a brand new arena that will be home to the men's and women's hockey and basketball teams in the future.

St. Thomas currently sits at seventh in the WCHA standings with eight points. Up next for the Tommies will be a rematch against Minnesota Duluth.

In the last match-up, UST lost in game one to the Bulldogs but won a shootout in night two. If the Tommies are able to find success again this weekend they will be able to earn some much-needed conference points. Puck drop is set for Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. and Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. in Mendota Heights.

BEMIDJI STATE, 4-19-1 Overall, 1-17 Conference:

The Beavers continue to struggle in WCHA play as they get swept by Minnesota Duluth on the road by scores of 8-1 and 5-0.

The lone BSU goal came from senior Reece Hunt late in the game on Friday.

The two losses put Bemidji State on a six-game losing streak.

The schedule ahead for the Beavers is a tough one as they'll playing two home games this weekend against top-ranked Minnesota. The two teams met earlier in the season which resulted in a sweep in favor of the Gophers.

Puck drop for the games is set for Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. and Jan. 21 at 2 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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