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WCHA Notebook: Ohio State steals first place in the conference away from Minnesota

The Buckeyes had a big weekend against St. Thomas while Minnesota struggled against Wisconsin. This propelled OSU to pass up Minnesota in the WCHA standings.

St. Cloud State vs Minnesota
Sophomore goalie Skylar Vetter started six of the Minnesota Gophers first eight games of the 2022-23 season, as they opened 7-0-1 and she was named the WCHA's goalie of the month for October 2022.
Matt Krohn / Gopher Sports

Minnesota has been at the top of the WCHA conference standings for months, but now Ohio State has grabbed the lead after the Gophers stumbled against the Badgers last weekend while the Buckeyes swept the Tommies.

Find out more about each of the teams in the WCHA and where they sit as we inch closer and closer to the postseason every day.

OHIO STATE (#1), 27-3-2 Overall, 22-3-1 Conference:

The Buckeyes have been No. 1 in the nation for a majority of the season, but now they are also No. 1 in the WCHA after passing up rival Minnesota this weekend.

Ohio State took home all six possible conference points in a sweep of St. Thomas, 6-1 and 5-0. It also helped that Minnesota only took home one single point in their series against Wisconsin. The Buckeyes now sit three points ahead of the Gophers in the conference.


Jenna Buglioni and Emma Maltais both had team highs of three points each on Friday night while Jennifer Gardiner had a three-point night on Saturday. Quinn Kuntz earned a 17-save shutout in game number two. Sophie Jaques is now tied for second all-time in career assists (92) at Ohio State after the weekend.

"We're gonna be that team that's relentless and grind it out, blue collar, it doesn't matter if we're No. 1 in the country or last place in the country," said head coach Nadine Muzerall to reporters after Saturday's game. "Our style, our philosophy, doesn't change or else we're going to lose sight of who we are and how we got to be great."

And that's not the only good news that the Buckeyes had recently, as plans were announced that a brand new rink may be in the team's future .

Ohio State has one more series before the postseason starts. The Buckeyes will travel to Madison for a two-game match-up against No. 7 Wisconsin. OSU previously took five of six points against the Badgers about a month ago. Game times are set for 3 p.m. (CT) on Feb. 18 and 2 p.m. on Feb. 19.

MINNESOTA (#4), 23-5-3 Overall, 20-3-3-2 Conference:

The Gophers had arguably their worst weekend of the season so far in 2022-23. Although they are still a top-five team in the nation, coming out with only a single point against No. 8 Wisconsin gave Ohio State the opportunity it needed to seize first place in the WCHA.

Minnesota has struggled against the Badgers this season, only taking three points out of the 12 possible over the course of 2022-23.

The Gophers earned their lone point of the weekend on Friday in a 2-2 tie, which resulted in a shootout loss. Abbey Murphy and Taylor Heise netted goals, but it wasn't enough for the win.


Bemidji State has 19 honorees, while Minnesota, MSU-Mankato and Ohio State have 18 each

The next night was a high-scoring affair that resulted in a 7-5 loss for Minnesota. Skylar Vetter made a combined 57-saves over the two games.

"Certainly not the outcome we were hoping for. We're proud of our team for coming back from a couple of goals down and having 26 shots in the third period," said head coach Brad Frost after the game on Saturday to the media. "Still a lot of hockey left and we'll regroup and be back at it next week."

The Gophers sit three points behind Ohio State in the WCHA standings. For their final series of the 2022-23 regular season, they'll head to St. Thomas for a two-game series. Minnesota has already swept the Tommies in earlier this season. Puck drop is set for Feb. 17 and 18 at 6 p.m.

WISCONSIN (#6/7), 22-8-2 Overall, 18-6-2 Conference:

The Badgers played one of their best weekends, coming out with five of six points against top-five Minnesota.

The first game is marked as a 2-2 tie, but Wisconsin won the shootout for the extra point. Jesse Compher and Katie Kotlowski netted the goals for the team while Britta Curl scored the lone tally of the shootout. Cami Kronish made 40 saves.

The next night was a whopping 7-5 victory over the Gophers where the freshman class shined. Claire Enright posted a three-points, Kirsten Simms netted two goals, and Caroline Harvey had a polished two-way effort.

"I am so confident in our group," said Harvey after the game to the Wisconsin athletics website. "We're peaking at the right times and we knew we could do this."


The Badgers have one more series left of the regular season. They'll play two home games against No. 1 Ohio State. Wisconsin previously earned one of six points last time they played the Buckeyes. Game times are set for Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. and Feb. 19 at 2 p.m.

MINNESOTA DULUTH (#8), 21-8-3 Overall, 15-8-3 Conference:

The Bulldogs had a decent showing against St. Cloud, but the two games definitely weren't easy for the squad. UMD comes out with five of six points after the weekend.

The first game will go down as a 1-1 tie, with Minnesota Duluth earning the extra point in the shootout. Gabbie Hughes scored the lone goal in regulation while Maggie Flaherty tallied the shootout point.

The next game was a gritty 2-0 win for UMD. Ashton Bell scored the first goal of the game while Taylor Anderson found the empty-net late in regulation.

Over the two games, Emma Soderberg made 35 saves and is now tied for first-place in program history for all-time career shutouts (20).

Minnesota Duluth sits locked in fourth-place in the WCHA with 48 points; which is 10 behind Wisconsin and 18 above St. Cloud State.

Up next, the Bulldogs will compete against Bemidji State for the last series of the regular season. UMD previously outscored BSU by a 13-1 margin back in mid-January. Puck drop is set for Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. in Bemidji.


ST. CLOUD STATE (#12), 16-16-1 Overall, 9-16-1 Conference:

The Huskies played a gritty style of game but ultimately only took away one point from the two games against Minnesota Duluth.

The first game is recorded as a 1-1 tie, but SCSU lost the extra point in the shootout. Emma Gentry netted the lone goal for the Huskies late in the third period while JoJo Chobak made 43 saves against her former team.

St. Cloud State was shutout the next night in a 2-0 loss. Sanni Ahola made 30 saves while the team overall blocked 16 shots.

"I'm disappointed for our kids that we weren't able to find a way to get it done," said head coach Brian Idalski to reporters after the game. "The way we're defending, just giving everything we have to be playing, really, above our pay grade on paper. You have to like the will, the heart and the compete that we're showing every weekend now."

The Huskies now sit tied for fifth-place in the WCHA standings with Minnesota State. That makes this weekened's match-up against the Mavericks even more important for SCSU.

Last time the Huskies and the Mavericks met, St. Cloud State lost both games in regulation. This weekend will determine who will play Wisconsin (No. 3) and Minnesota Duluth (No. 4) in the WCHA playoffs. Game times are set for Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 3 p.m.

MINNESOTA STATE (#15/RV), 15-16-1 Overall, 9-16-1 Conference:


The Mavericks earn some recognition this week as they move up to No. 15 in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll. MSU posted a weekend sweep of conference rival Bemidji State.

In a 3-2 win in game one, Madison Mashuga netted two goals (including the game-winner) while Kelsey King had the other for MSU. Lauren Barbro made 19 saves in net.

The Mavericks shutout the Beavers, 4-0, in night two. Four different skaters found the back of the net while Alexa Berg earned a 22-save shutout.

The Luverne senior currently sits at third place in all-time points scored in Minnesota girls hockey history. The Minnesota State commit currently leads the entire state in goals scored in 2022-23.

After Saturday's game, King officially moved into second-place in all-time career goals scored (45).

This weekend is a big match-up for MSU, as they'll travel to St. Cloud to determine the fourth and fifth-place spots in the WCHA. Both teams are currently tied at 30-points in the conference standings, and this weekend will officially determine who takes the higher-seed as we head into the postseason.

Last time the two teams met, Minnesota State came out with the sweep, so this could be a good pair of games for the Mavericks. Game times are set for Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. in St. Cloud.

ST. THOMAS, 8-23-1 Overall, 3-22-1 Conference:

The Tommies struggled this past weekend against the No. 1 Buckeyes, falling by scores of 6-1 and 5-0.


The lone goal for UST was scored by senior captain Maija Almich . Sophomore Saskia Maurer made 46 saves on 52 shots on Friday while Alexa Dobchuk saved 46 of 51 the next night.

The Tommies currently sit in seventh-place in the WCHA with 11-points, which is five-points ahead of Bemidji State. They'll have a tough road ahead to finish out the 2022-23 regular season as they'll play a pair of home games against No. 4 Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers previously defeated UST by scores of 5-0 and 4-1 about a month ago. Game times are set for Feb. 17 and 18 at 6 p.m.

BEMIDJI STATE, 5-26-1 Overall, 2-24 Conference:

The Beavers put up a good fight in their first game of the weekend, but ending up being swept by Minnesota State, 3-2 and 4-0.

Bemidji State had a lead in the second period of game one, but were able to keep the lead late in the game. Senior Reece Hunt and freshman McKayla Zilisch netted the goals for the team. It was Zilisch's first collegiate goal.

Hannah Hogenson made 26 saves in game one while Abbie Thompson made 14 in game two.

BSU sits in last place in the WCHA and will play Minnesota Duluth for their final regular season series of 2022-23. The Bulldogs previously swept the Beavers, 8-1 and 5-0, about a month ago. Puck drop for the series is set for Feb. 17 at 3 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. in Bemidji.

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