No. 1 Gophers to Open 2014 with Buckeyes
Jan. 7, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS - This weekend, No. 1 Minnesota (19-1-0, 13-1-0 WCHA) hosts Ohio State (7-11-2, 2-10-2-0 WCHA) in its first series of 2014. The Gophers face off against the Buckeyes at 7:07 p.m. CT Friday and 6:07 p.m. CT Saturday.
Saturday's game will air live on the Big Ten Network, and Friday's game will be streamed live at GopherSports.com. Live audio and stats will be available at GopherSports.com as well.
Friday's 7:07 p.m. game is Rock Ridder Night where all general admission tickets are $1, and Saturday's 6:07 p.m. game will feature a Teddy Bear Toss.
ABOUT THE SERIES: GOPHERS VS. BUCKEYES
Minnesota owns a 57-8-1 all-time mark against Ohio State. The last series between the two teams was a Gopher sweep in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 7-8, 2013. Minnesota skated to 9-2 and 5-1 victories over the Buckeyes. The Gophers have won the last 28 meetings. The first-ever match-up was a 3-0 Minnesota win at OSU on Nov. 12, 1999.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Ohio State (7-11-2, 2-10-2-0 WCHA) enters this weekend's series on a two-game winning streak after sweeping Penn State at home last weekend. The Buckeyes enter the series with the Gophers looking for their third conference win of the season, having topped St. Cloud State 4-2 (Oct. 12) and North Dakota 2-1 (Oct. 19) earlier this season. OSU is 4-2-0 in its last six games with the two losses coming against Minnesota (Dec. 7-8).
Ohio State finished the 2012-13 season with an overall mark of 19-15-3 while tying for fourth in the WCHA at 12-13-3-3. The Gophers defeated the Buckeyes 5-0 in the semifinal round of the WCHA Final Face-off to end OSU's season. This season, Ohio State returned 18 letterwinners from last season and added five newcomers.
Junior defenseman Sara Schmitt leads OSU with 17 points (5g-12a) in 19 games. She is one of five Buckeyes with double-digit points this year as junior defenseman Kari Schmitt (6g-10a), junior forward Danielle Gagne (6g-9a), senior forward Ally Tarr (3g-12a) and junior forward Taylor Kuehl (5g-5a) round out OSU's top five scoring leaders. Senior netminders Chelsea Knapp (10GP) and Lisa Steffes (11GP) have split time in goal, including one game each in the series with Minnesota. Knapp is 2-6-1 with a .877 save percentage and a 3.75 goals against average, while Steffes is 5-5-1 with a .942 save percentage and a 1.63 goals against average. Steffes has played the last three games.
HOCKEY CITY CLASSIC TICKETS NOW ON SALE
Individual tickets for the 2014 Hockey City Classic on Friday, Jan. 17 are now on sale to the general public. Tickets for the outdoor college hockey doubleheader at TCF Bank Stadium start at $15 and are valid for both games. Fans may purchase tickets at www.mygophersports.com or by calling 612-624-8080.
The Hockey City Classic will kick off with the Gopher women's hockey team taking on Minnesota State at 4:30 p.m. CT followed by the Gopher men's hockey program hosting Ohio State at 8 p.m. The outdoor college hockey doubleheader will be part of a Winter Festival, which will include youth, high school and adult hockey events, private ice rentals, a public skate and much more.
WEEKEND REWIND: GOPHERS END FIRST HALF AT 19-1-0
In its last series, Minnesota concluded its first half with a road sweep at Ohio State Dec. 7-8, 2013, topping the Buckeyes 9-2 and 5-1 to wrap up 2013 at 19-1-0 overall - the team's second-best start in program history.
Rachael Bona (3g-3a), Milica McMillen (2g-3a) and Sarah Davis (2g-3a) led the Gophers against the Buckeyes. Twelve Gophers had at least one point in the series with 11 players recording multiple points. Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille combined for 36 saves in the two games, improving to 22-1-0 for her career.
In Saturday's 9-2 win, Bona recorded her first career hat trick. Eight Gophers had multiple points in the win led by Bona, who added an assist to her hat trick for four points. Maryanne Menefee and Dani Cameranesi each scored two goals, and Sarah Davis had three assists.
McMillen led the way with a career-high four points in Minnesota's 5-1 win over Ohio State. Her four points included two goals and two assists. Davis added two goals, including a short-handed tally, and fellow senior Baylee Gillanders capped the scoring with her third goal of the season.
SEVEN GOPHERS TO COMPETE IN WINTER OLYMPICS
The Minnesota women's hockey program will have seven Golden Gophers representing their home countries in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, this February. Team Finland's roster includes former Gophers Mira Jalosuo and Noora Räty, while Team USA includes Minnesota alumni Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin and Anne Schleper along with current student-athletes Amanda Kessel and Lee Stecklein. Among the seven Olympians, Räty and Marvin are the only two veterans; the remaining five athletes will make their Olympic debut this February.
The Gophers have out-scored their opponents a combined 15-1 in the first period over their last six games.
GOPHERS ON THE POWER PLAY
Minnesota's power-play unit leads the nation at 28.9 percent (22/76) led by Dani Cameranesi's five power-play goals, which also is tied for the NCAA's best.
TWO GOPHERS SURPASS 30-POINT MARK
Two Gophers cracked the 30-point mark over the first half of the season. Rachael Bona (11g-22a) and Hannah Brandt (10g-23a) lead Minnesota with 33 points each. Sarah Davis (12g-17a) is the Gophers' third-leading scorer with 29 points in 20 games.
ROAD WINNING STREAK CONTINUES INTO 2014
Minnesota has not lost a road game since falling 4-2 to Minnesota Duluth in Duluth on Jan. 13, 2012. With their next road game not until Jan. 19, 2014, the Gophers' NCAA-record road winning streak will surpass the two-year mark. The Gophers have won 39-straight road games, dating back to a 3-0 win over the Bulldogs on Jan. 14, 2012. Including neutral games, Minnesota has 42-consecutive victories when playing away from Ridder Arena spanning over the last two years.
FROST RECORDS WIN NO. 200
Head coach Brad Frost earned his 200th career wins as Minnesota's head coach on Nov. 23, 2013 with a 5-1 win over Yale. Frost entered the 2013-14 season with a career mark of 186-36-16 in six seasons at the helm of the Gopher women's hockey program. Frost's career record currently stands at 205-37-16 (.826).
NCAA-RECORD WINNING STREAK HALTED AT 62
The Gophers' NCAA-record winning streak came to an end at 62 consecutive victories with a Nov. 17 loss to North Dakota. Minnesota's streak began and ended with North Dakota, as the historic run started with a 5-2 win over UND on Feb. 28, 2012 and the final win was a 6-1 victory over North Dakota. Losses to North Dakota bookend the streak (2-1 overtime loss on Feb. 17, 2012 and 3-2 loss on Nov. 17, 2013).
The streak began with an 8-0-0 run to conclude the 2011-12 season, followed by a perfect 41-0-0 campaign in 2012-13. Back-to-back national champions, the Gophers then started the 2013-14 season at 13-0-0 to push the streak to 62-straight wins.
Minnesota's 62-game run bested the previous NCAA Division I women's hockey winning streak (21, Harvard) and unbeaten streak (32, Wisconsin, twice), along with surpassing the NCAA Division I men's hockey winning streak (30, RPI and Cornell) and unbeaten streak (38, RPI).
ROOKIE SCORING LEADERS
Gopher freshmen combined for 43 points (17g-26a) in the first half of the season led by Dani Cameranesi (10g-7a) and Kate Schipper (2g-9a). Minnesota's freshman class ranks fourth in the nation with 2.15 points per game.
CENTURY MARK SCORING
Two Gophers have surpassed the 100-career point mark this season as Sarah Davis tallied her 100th point as a Gopher with an assist in Minnesota's 7-0 win at Minnesota State (Nov. 2), and sophomore Hannah Brandt picked up point No. 100 with an assist in a 6-1 win over North Dakota (Nov. 16).
LEVEILLE LOGS SHUTOUT MINUTES
Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille posted a stretch of 176:30 scoreless minutes in four games from Oct. 11-19, including 48:57 (Oct. 11), 60:00 (Oct. 12), 60:00 (Oct. 18) and 7:33 (Oct. 19). The stretch was the second-longest scoreless streak she has recorded in her career. Leveille began her Gopher career by playing 281:34 without allowing a goal, a streak including action in eight games from Sept. 29, 2012 to Oct. 4, 2013. Leveille has five shutouts on the season.
GOPHERS RANK AMONG WCHA, NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
Rachael Bona (11g-22a) and Hannah Brandt (10g-23a) lead the Gophers with 33 points each. The duo leads the WCHA and is tied for second in the nation with 1.65 points per game. Bona leads the team with 11 multi-point games. Brandt leads the nation with 1.15 assists per game, and Bona ranks second in the league and third in the nation with 1.10 assists per game.
Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille ranks third in the league and sixth in the nation with a 1.33 goals against average and fourth in the league and seventh in the nation with a .941 save percentage. She leads the WCHA with five shutouts.
The Gophers lead the nation with a +3.60 scoring margin, led by the NCAA's top offense averaging 4.90 goals per game. Minnesota has the nation's fifth-best defense, allowing 1.30 goals per game in 20 games.
MINNESOTA REMAINS NO. 1
The Golden Gophers remained the unanimous No. 1 in both the USCHO.com and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls this week. Minnesota has been No. 1 in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls since the final poll of the 2011-12 season (March 19-20, 2012). This stretch includes 37-straight USCHO.com polls and 40-straight USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
ON THE HORIZON
The teams conclude the home-and-home series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Minnesota State's All Seasons Arena in Mankato.