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WCHA notebook: Minnesota takes the top spot in the nation

After a regulation win and a shootout loss against Ohio State, Minnesota moves up to the No. 1 spot in national polls.

jea 0173 Minnesota vs Ohio St WH.jpg
Minnesota Gophers forward Grace Zumwinkle looks for a teammate while Ohio State goalie Andrea Braendli guarded the goalmouth on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
John Autey / The Rink Live

After a big weekend of games in the WCHA, a new team takes the top spot in the national polls — the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

MINNESOTA (#1), 7-0-1 Overall, 7-0-1 Conference:

The Minnesota Golden Gophers move up to the No. 1 overall team in the nation after a regulation win and a shootout loss against previous number one team, Ohio State.

Minnesota struck first in game one on the road against the Buckeyes, but Ohio State potted two goals in the second period for a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame. The Gophers rallied for three unanswered goals in the third to win the first game in regulation, 4-2.

The next night, Abbey Murphy netted two of the four goals for Minnesota, but the two teams would come out with a 4-4 tie. Special teams were a big factor in night two, as 13 penalties were called between both squads. Ohio State grabbed the extra conference point after winning the shootout.

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Minnesota's Skylar Vetter earned WCHA Goaltender of the Month, and of the Week, honors for October while also being the Howies Hockey Tape Performance of the Week. Teammate's Abbey Murphy is Forward of the Month and Taylor Heise is Forward of the Week.

The Golden Gophers will be back home this weekend for a series against fifth-ranked Minnesota Duluth. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at Ridder Arena.

Minnesota will also be playing in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Women's Face-Off Classic in Andover, Minn., against St. Cloud State on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.

BEMIDJI STATE, 3-8-1 Overall, 1-7-0 Conference:

The Bemidji State Beavers had a back-and-forth weekend, splitting with Minnesota State (RV).

The Beavers scored two unanswered goals to win night one, 2-1. Shelby Breiland and Reece Hunt scored the two points for the team while Hannah Hogenson made 26 saves in net.

Bemidji State lost night two, 3-0, after Minnesota State potted all three goals in the second period.

The Beavers will be at home again this weekend as they take on conference rival St. Cloud State. Puck drop is set for Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

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WISCONSIN (#3), 10-2 Overall, 7-1 Conference:

The Badgers had a tough task this weekend, taking on Minnesota Duluth on the road.

Wisconsin took a 2-1 overtime loss in game one, with a lone goal from Lacey Eden . Cami Kronish stopped 23 of 25 shots on goal.

The next night, freshman Caroline Harvey netted two goals along side one a-piece from teammates Nicole LaMantia and Lacey Eden . Wisconsin was outshot 38-26 in the game, but came out with a win thanks to a solid showing from goaltender Jane Gervais .

Caroline Harvey 's performance earned her WCHA Rookie of the Month honors. She also is the National Rookie of the Month for her six goals and 13 assists throughout the month of October.

Wisconsin will have a weekend off before taking on Minnesota, Nov. 19-20.

ST. CLOUD STATE, 4-6 Overall, 2-6 Conference:

The Huskies earned their first conference sweep of the 2022-23 season this past weekend against St. Thomas.

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The Huskies exploded in the second period on Friday night, scoring four goals to secure a 4-1 win against the Tommies. Klara Hymlarova scored two goals and teammate Jenniina Nylund posted a goal and two assists.

The next night was a 4-0 shutout for SCSU. Hymlarova and Nylund both netted another goal in the Saturday game, while teammate Emma Gentry had two goals and Addi Scribner tacked on two assists. Goaltender JoJo Chobak earned the shutout.

St. Cloud will look to take on more conference points this weekend in a road series against Bemidji State. Puck drop is set for 3 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The Huskies will also take part in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Women's Face-off Classic in Andover, Minn., for a one-game series against Minnesota at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7.

OHIO STATE (#2), 8-1-1 Overall, 8-1-1 Conference:

After being the No. 1 team in the nation for the entire season so far, the Buckeyes drop to No. 2 after a loss and a tie to Minnesota.

In game one, the Buckeyes had a 2-1 lead heading into the third, but were unable to stop a rallying Gopher squad. Ohio State scored goals from Jenna Buglioni and Sophie Jaques , but fell 4-2.

The next night, the Buckeyes came from behind late in the game to tie things up 4-4. The game is recorded as a tie after neither team was able to find the back of the net in the extra frame, but OSU will come out with the extra conference point after winning a shootout. Raygan Kirk stopped three of four shootout attempts.

Defender Sophie Jaques is WCHA Defender of the Month for October after posting a team-high 15 points. She is also Defender of the Week.

Ohio State will hit the road and head to St. Paul to take on St. Thomas in a Saturday/Sunday series with puck drop at 6 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

MINNESOTA STATE, 3-7 Overall, 3-7 Conference:

The Minnesota State Maverick split their weekend contest with WCHA foe Bemidji State. As a result, the team is no longer receiving votes in the national polls.

Sydney Langseth gave MSU a 1-0 lead in night one, but the team was unable to score after the first period and would fall by a final score of 2-1.

The Mavericks came out seeking revenge the next night, and would do just that by achieving a 3-0 shutout win. Three different MSU players scored goals and netminder Alexa Berg was perfect in net.

Freshman Taylor Otremba (Lakeville, Minn.) earned WCHA Rookie of the Week honors after posting three points over the two games, which included scoring her first career goal.

Minnesota State will have a change of pace this weekend as they will play a home series against non-conference opponent Sacred Heart (3-5-1). Game times in Mankato are set for 3 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday.

ST. THOMAS, 1-7 Overall, 0-6 Conference:

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The Tommies had a tough weekend, dropping two games against St. Cloud State in a home-and-home series.

St. Thomas fell in game one by a final score of 4-1, with the teams lone goal coming from Luci Bianchi .

The next night, the Tommies were shutout 4-0. Saskia Maurer and Alexa Dobchuk split time in net for the weekend.

St. Thomas will look to better their luck this weekend, but will have a big task ahead as they will play second-ranked Ohio State at home on Saturday and Sunday with game times at 6 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

MINNESOTA DULUTH (#5), 7-3 Overall, 3-3 Conference:

The Bulldogs played a two-game battle at home against Wisconsin and came out with a split.

UMD was down 1-0 for a majority of game one, but scored late in a game off a goal from Gabbie Hughes to send things to overtime. Nina Jobst-Smith then got the win for the Bulldogs in the extra frame.

The next night was just as tough as the night before, but the Bulldogs would drop game two, 4-3. Goaltender Emma Soderberg was in net for both nights.

The Bulldogs have an even bigger match-up coming their way, as they will travel to Ridder Arena this weekend to take on the top-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers. Puck drop is 6 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Related Topics: WOMEN'S HOCKEY
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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