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Mark Bedics | | September 28, 2017

Returning talent, new faces highlights 2017-18 preview by the numbers

  The defending champion Golden Knights open their season this weekend with a series at No. 8 Northeastern.

After seeing only three regular season games played last weekend, the regular season starts in earnest for the majority of the remaining teams in NCAA women’s hockey. How will the 2017-18 roll out? Let’s look at the numbers.

1 — Defending NCAA champions, Clarkson is ranked first in both national polls and opens its season at Northeastern Friday night.

RANKINGS: | USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine

1 — Number of times Merrimack and Minnesota will have played each other after Friday night. This weekend's two-game set on Friday and Sunday will mark the programs' first-ever head-to-head meeting.

4 — The RPI Engineers bring back four of their top five scorers from a season ago, including senior Shayna Tomlinson (six goals, 11 assists), who had 17 points.

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6 — Current or incoming WCHA student-athletes centralized with national teams in preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games: Wisconsin’s Annie Pankowski, Minnesota’s Kelly Pannek and Minnesota Duluth’s Maddie Rooney (U.S. Women’s National Team); and the Badgers’ Emily Clark, and the Gophers’ Sarah and Amy Potomak (Canada’s National Women’s Team).

9 — The number of shutouts in 2016-17 posted by Syracuse’s Abbey Miller and St. Lawrence’s Grace Harrison, the most of any returning netminders.

10 — Freshmen on Minnesota Duluth's roster, the second-biggest rookie class in program history. Only the inaugural freshman class of 1999-00 had more freshmen in its lineup, with 15.

16 — Clarkson returns 16 letterwinners from last year’s team, which went 32-4-5 and won the program’s second national title in four years.

16 — Number of September regular season games in Wisconsin history, in which the Badgers are a spectacular 15-0-1.

56 — The amount of points scored last year by St. Lawrence senior Kennedy Marchment, the most of any returning player.

81.8 — Rensselaer returns 81.8 percent (81 of 99) of its goal-scoring for a season ago.

874 — Combined coaching wins that will be behind the benches this weekend in Madison, when No. 2 Wisconsin hosts Mercyhurst. The Lakers' Michael Sisti ranks second in NCAA Division I women's hockey history with 444 victories during his 19 years at Mercyhurst. Badgers bench boss Mark Johnson ranks third with 430 wins in his 15 years with Wisconsin.

1,135 — Saves in 2016-17 by second-team All-American Kassidy Sauve, the Ohio State single-season record and just three shy of the WCHA standard. After ranking among NCAA leaders for save percentage (fifth - .942), minutes (sixth - 2098:20), shutouts (tied for seventh - six) and goals-against average (16th - 2.00), the redshirt-junior is the coaches' choice as preseason WCHA Player of the Year.