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Division I Women

It’s Playoff Time

Get up to speed with Dustin Nelson’s women’s WCHA postseason primer

Get up to speed with Dustin Nelson's women's WCHA  postseason primer

The WCHA playoffs start this weekend, featuring three teams that rank in the top four nationally. It’s yet another year where a WCHA team could grab a national championship, but with more parity in the conference this year, there’s also the chance for a significant upset.

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No. 6 – St. Cloud State University Huskies

St. Cloud State's Janine Alder (Photo by Brett Groehler)

St. Cloud State’s Janine Alder (Photo by Brett Groehler)

The future is bright for St. Cloud, but the future may not be right now. It wasn’t a group of seniors leading the charge offensively, but sophomores Julia Tylke and Hannah Potrykus, as well as freshman Kayla. They rank as the team’s top three point producers.

In net, they have 21-year-old Swiss freshman Janine Alder, who has a .929 save percentage and has weathered a lot of shots this season. Her numbers are good, but even though she doesn’t have the gaudy marks of, say, Desbiens or Sauve, she’s kept the Huskies in games that probably shouldn’t have been as close as they were.

Take, for instance, Wisconsin’s Fill the Bowl game where the 2-0 loss doesn’t look so bad, but keeping the game that close meant Alder had to stop 59 Badger shots. Meanwhile, St. Cloud took just 12 shots.

While it was an extreme case, that game is kind of a microcosm of how they’ve fared against top competition. The Huskies averaged just 1.74 goals per game (even fewer in-conference). They scored the third fewest goals and allowed the second most.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Julia Tylke, So., F — The sophomore leads the team in scoring and is leading a group of underclassmen that could help St. Cloud rise in the conference in years to come. If they steal a game against Duluth during the playoffs it may be because of Alder. However, they’ll need the few players doing damage in the offensive zone to do the work as well.

Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He has contributed to Sports Illustrated, Men's Jounal, Thrillist, Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and other publications. You can find Dustin on Twitter at @dlukenelson.

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