The big question in the WCHA is if Bemidji State and North Dakota are plucky enough to knock off the conference powers. In the case of Bemidji State, I think not. There is just too much of a gap in talent levels and that’s illustrated in the results of their season series. Of course that was similarly illustrated in the Beavers’ season series versus their last opponent, and here we are.
North Dakota though… My beef with Wisconsin has always been that they struggle to score sometimes and because of that they leave themselves open to being the victims of timely shooting and good goaltending. Enter: Patty Kazmaier Award nominee North Dakota goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie. I think Wisconsin can be had, especially in a single elimination tournament.
Players to Watch:
Hannah Brandt, Minnesota (C) – Another Kazmaier Award nominee, Brandt might not be leading the Gophers in playoff points, but she led them in regular season points and she’s leading them in playoff shots. It’s silly to key in on one player on a roster as deep as Minnesota’s, but Brandt is definitely one to watch.
Dani Cameranesi, Minnesota (RW) – The Gophers’ leader in playoff points, Cameranesi is also nominated for the Kazmaier award.
Blayre Turnbull, Wisconsin (C) – Wisconsin hasn’t achieved success through high powered scoring or sniped goals, they’ve steadily dominated possession and a large part of that is their talented crop of centers, headed by Turnbull.
Shelby Amsley-Benzie, North Dakota (G) – There isn’t much to say here that wasn’t said above. As Amsley-Benzie goes, so does UND.
Stephanie Anderson, Bemidji State (C) – There’s no question Bemidji State is the odd team out here, but Anderson has dominated regardless tallying four points through three playoff games and putting up 16 shots.