Western Collegiate Hockey Association has four of the nation’s top 10 teams

by Brian Deutsch

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association is now tied with the East Coast Athletic Conference Hockey League with four of the top 10 women’s hockey teams in the country.

Wisconsin, which earned three No. 1 votes, is in second place behind Mercyhurst in the USCHO.com Division I poll.

The Gophers (12-3-1 overall, 9-2-1 WCHA) dropped to fifth in the nation, even after sweeping Bemidji State last weekend, while Minnesota-Duluth slid down a spot to eighth after being swept by Harvard.

“There is a bunch-up of the top three teams (in the WCHA) with Ohio State coming in fourth,” Minnesota coach Laura Halldorson said. “Right now, (Ohio State) has shown to be a very good team.”

Ohio State (10-5-1, 6-5-1) jumped into the rankings as the Buckeyes rounded out the top 10.

“We’re pleased with what we are doing and just going one game at a time right now,” Ohio State coach Jackie Barto said. “We’re coming off of the bye weekend and we’re very healthy – the whole team is contributing.”

East meets west

Three WCHA teams went to the East Coast for nonconference action last weekend.

No. 2 Wisconsin (16-1-1, 12-1-1) dominated Robert Morris in a two-game series.

The Badgers outscored the Colonials 15-0 – winning the opener 10-0 and the finale 5-0.

Two Wisconsin goalies, senior Christine Dufour and sophomore Jessie Vetter, earned shutouts over the weekend.

Things didn’t go so well for the Bulldogs (9-6-1, 9-4-1),however, as they were swept by Harvard.

After winning 3-1 on Friday, the Crimson followed with a 4-0 shutout over Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday.

North Dakota (3-11-2, 0-9-1) faced off against Niagara in two very close games.

The Sioux were able to fight off the Purple Eagles on Friday, winning 4-2, but the finale ended with two zeroes on the scoreboard, as neither team could produce a goal.

Bauer breaks record

Saturday’s 5-0 win over Robert Morris gave Wisconsin senior forward Sara Bauer several reasons to celebrate.

Bauer’s goal in the first period made her the Badgers all-time scoring leader.

The goal, which was Bauer’s 178th point, broke the former record held by Meghan Hunter (2000-2004).

“To see her become the all-time leading scorer is a great tribute to who she is and the way she’s been able to play,” Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson said. “This is another feather in her cap in regards to her four years here.”

Bauer added an assist to bring her career points total to 179.

She not only leads the Badgers in points this season, but is the top point-getter in the country.

“It’s a great thing to be a part of this program and be someone who contributed,” Bauer said. “I don’t think you ever want to be satisfied with what you’ve done, but we’ve done a lot of good things here.”

Bauer’s 33 points put her five points ahead of Harvard’s Julie Chu and Mercyhurst’s Meghan Agosta, while Wisconsin junior forward Jinelle Zaugg is in fourth place with 27 points.

Gophers tied with Duluth

After extending its winning streak to eight games this weekend, Minnesota moved into a tie for second place in the conference with Minnesota-Duluth.

But the Bulldogs have two more losses than the Gophers and were swept by Minnesota earlier this season.

“We’ll see them again right after the break,” Halldorson said. “That is going to be a big series, and I think the second half of the season is going to be very exciting.”