When people think of rivalries in the WCHA Women’s League, most immediately think of Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth. Winners of every WCHA regular-season and playoff championship, as well as the last three national championships, the Gopher-Bulldog rivalry is big.
However, this weekend’s matchup between No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth and No. 6 Wisconsin ranks right up there.
This weekend’s battle be the first time the teams have met in the Kohl Center since they played the first WCHA Women’s League game in history. That series, which saw UMD take 8-1 and 4-2 wins, Oct. 8-9, 1999, started a heated rivalry which may be the fiercest in the league.
At the end of the Bulldogs’ 4-2 win, a fracas erupted which featured five roughing penalties and two misconducts. The Badgers’ Kerry Weiland set a single-game league record with eight penalties for 24 minutes in the game.
There was also an uproar when UMD took to the ice Saturday morning for its pregame skate. With the Wisconsin men’s team, which had gotten a late start to its workout, still on the ice when the Bulldogs were supposed to go on, UMD hit the ice in the middle of the Badgers’ practice.
It was certainly an auspicious way to start their rivalry.
The Bulldogs added insult to injury later that season when they handed Wisconsin at 14-1 loss in a game which featured 64 penalty minutes.
Oddly enough, in a series UMD leads 8-4-2, Wisconsin has not won in six games at home, going 0-4-2. Yet, the Badgers own wins in their last three meetings with the Bulldogs, including a 4-1 victory in the WCHA semifinals last season.
This weekend’s matchup features a Wisconsin team that ranked second nationally in scoring defense against a Bulldog squad that ranked third in scoring offense last season. The proverbial irresistible force against the immovable object.
What it all boils down to is, in all likelihood, the best matchup of the young season. Not to mention bragging rights along with a leg up in the league standings.
However things turn out this weekend, the Badgers won’t have time to contemplate this weekend’s series as they have No. 2 Minnesota waiting for them next weekend.
For women’s hockey this weekend, the Kohl Center will be the place to be.
INJURY BUG BITING THE HUSKIES
When St. Cloud State took to the ice for practice on Monday, they were missing six of the 15 skaters who are regulars in the lineup. It didn’t get any easier when two more players collided later in practice and left the ice for the training room.
Junior captain Kobi Kawamoto, who broke her ankle in an Oct. 6 exhibition game, is out until mid-November. Her absence in the lineup was readily apparent in weekend losses to Minnesota as the Husky defense struggled to move the puck out of the zone.
Freshman forward Katie Hauge suffered a high ankle sprain in practice early in the season, has yet to play a game this season and is not expected to travel this weekend as St. Cloud takes on Niagara and Mercyhurst.
In Saturday’s 8-0 loss to the Gophers, the Huskies lost the services of defenseman Leanne Perrin (leg) and senior forward Erin McNamara (concussion). Perrin was being evaluated on Tuesday and both are expected to miss the weekend series.
The good news on the injury front for St. Cloud State was the return of sophomore forward Melanie Pudsey, who was injured during the team’s Oct. 6 exhibition. She was a last-minute addition to the lineup Friday and scored the Huskies’ lone goal in a 10-1 loss.
Ironically, she was not listed on the Huskies’ line chart, nor was she listed on the team’s official lineup prior to the game, an omission that was not discovered until after the game ended.
UNDERCLASSMEN TO BE FEATURED IN COLUMBUS
Three of the best young players in the WCHA will take to the ice in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend when Minnesota invades the OSU Ice Arena to take on the Buckeyes.
The Gophers feature freshmen Natalie Darwitz and Krissy Wendell, a pair of U.S. Olympians last year who ranked first and third respectively in league scoring. Darwitz tops the league with 13 points while she and Wendell, along with sophomore teammate Kristy Oonincx, are tied for the league lead with six goals.
Ohio State features 2002 WCHA Rookie of the Year Jeni Creary, who lead the league with 26 goals last season. She currently leads the league with six power-play points.
WCHA “HOUSE”HOLD HINTS
Minnesota State junior goalie Shari Vogt set a school record by stopping 63 shots in the Mavericks 6-1 loss Saturday at UMD … Minnesota opened Ridder Arena with an 8-0 win over St. Cloud State in front of 3,239 fans, the third-largest crowd to attend a women’s collegiate game … The Gophers’ inaugural game, Nov. 2, 1997 at Mariucci Arena, was witnessed by a record 6,854 while Wisconsin’s inaugural game, Oct. 9, 1999, drew a crowd of 3,892 … Junior forward Jerilyn Glenn became the answer to a trivia question when she scored on a rebound at 4:16 of the opening period … WCHA Supervisor of Officials Greg Shepherd worked the game, the first time he has officiated a women’s contest … It also marked the fourth new building in the last decade in which he has officiated the first collegiate game … He also did the first college game at Minnesota’s new Mariucci Arena as well as the Xcel Center in St. Paul, and North Dakota’s new Engelstad Arena … Gopher senior defenseman Winny Brodt and junior forward La Toya Clarke became the eighth and ninth players in school history to top the 100-point mark for their careers … Bemidji State needed a three-goal third period to earn a 3-3 tie with North Dakota at home Sunday in the Sioux’s first NCAA contest … For the third consecutive game Minnesota State got its lone goal from a rookie as Katie Hainrich scored in Friday’s 12-1 loss … Wisconsin is off to a 4-0-0 start for the first time in school history … The Badgers, who opened the season with wins over preseason No. 9 Northeastern, play three of their first four series against ranked teams with No. 1 UMD coming up this weekend and a road trip to No. 2 Minnesota next weekend.
Offensive Player of the Week–Erica Holst, Sr., F, Minnesota-Duluth
Defensive Player of the Week–Shari Vogt, Jr., G, Minnesota State
Rookie of the Week–Krissy Wendell, Fr., F, Minnesota
St. Cloud State at Niagara (Friday)
St. Cloud State at Mercyhurst (Saturday-Sunday)
Niagara won the teams’ only previous meeting, 7-0, Jan. 5, 2000, in St. Cloud … Mercyhurst won 2-1 in overtime and 4-1, Dec. 15-16, 2001, in St. Cloud in the teams’ only previous meeting … Friday’s game is the first of a three-game CHA swing for the Huskies … Husky freshman Brie Anderson made her debut in goal Saturday, stopping 34 shots in an 8-0 loss at Minnesota … Newcomers to the St. Cloud lineup have accounted for four of the team’s six goals and nine of its 16 points through four games … Senior forward Abby Cooper has already accumulated 12 penalty minutes in four games … She’s only registered 22 in each of the last two seasons and 20 as a freshman.
No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth at No. 6 Wisconsin (Friday-Saturday)
UMD leads the all-time series 8-4-2 … The Bulldogs are 4-0-2 in Madison … In 14 meetings, the teams have combined to average 27.9 penalty minutes per game … UMD junior forward Jenny Potter has scored a goal in each of the team’s four games this season … She also reached the 100-point mark in her Bulldog career in Saturday’s 6-1, her 36th game at UMD … Potter, who spent the 1998-99 season at Minnesota, has 173 points in 68 collegiate games … Wisconsin has allowed just one even-strength goal in its first four games … During the 2002 calendar year, the Badgers are 19-3-0 … The three losses were all one-goal games … Wisconsin is the WCHA’s only team yet to play a league game this season …Fourteen of the 20 skaters the Badgers have dressed this season have registered points, including all three freshmen, Sharon Cole, Grace Hutchins and Nikki Burish, who each have two points … Seventeen of UMD’s 19 skaters have scored at least one point this season.
Bemidji State at Minnesota State (Friday-Saturday)
BSU is 7-5-2 in 14 games against the Mavericks … The Beavers are 7-0-1 the last two seasons versus MSU, including four wins in Mankato … Junior goalie Shari Vogt is facing an average of nearly 43 shots per 60 minutes after her school-record 63-save effort in Saturday’s 6-1 loss at UMD … That number is slightly higher than her career average of 39.2 shots per game … Vogt has faced over 60 shots three times in her career … The Mavericks have gone 0-for-31 on the power play after converting their first opportunity of the season in a 6-1 loss to Ohio State, Oct. 11 … Bemidji State has pulled its goalie for an extra attacker in four of five games this season, including Sunday’s 3-3 tie with North Dakota, in which the Beavers scored with 21 seconds to play in the third period to salvage the tie … Junior goalie Anik Cote appears to have earned the team’s number-one goaltending job for the time being … She has a .943 save percentage despite a 1-2-1 record, earning a decision in four of BSU’s five games this season.
No. 2 Minnesota at Ohio State (Friday-Saturday)
Minnesota is 11-3-0 versus the Buckeyes, including a 5-1-0 mark at OSU Arena … Six of the WCHA’s eight top scorers will be featured in this weekend’s series … The Gophers’ 4-0-0 record is its best start in six seasons … Minnesota has scored three shorthanded goals this season compared to just two in each of the last two campaigns … The Gophers have nine players averaging at least one point per game this season … Minnesota sophomore goalie Jody Horak has not allowed a goal in five periods in WCHA games … She has allowed just three goals in four starts … The Buckeyes have killed off 15 straight power plays in league games … OSU is 2-0-0 on the road this season and 0-2-0 at home … Gopher head coach Laura Halldorson and Buckeye head coach Jackie Barto have squared off against each other 20 times, dating back to the 1994-95 season, when both coached in the ECAC: Halldorson at Colby and Barto at Providence.