Undefeated Gophers Open Second Half of Season Versus North Dakota
Jan. 9, 2013FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. The Golden Gophers carry their NCAA record 28-game winning streak into the second half of the season. They are currently four wins/ties away from matching the NCAA unbeaten record, which is owned by Wisconsin. The Badgers accomplished the feat twice with the last being from Dec. 4, 2010 to Oct. 14, 2011 and was snapped by the Gophers. Minnesota's last loss came at the hands of North Dakota on Feb. 17, 2012 in a 2-1 overtime loss at Ridder Arena.
2. The Maroon & Gold hold a 35-5-0 advantage over North Dakota in the all-time series. The Gophers hadn't lost a game to UND, going 24-0-0, up until the 2009-10 season. Since that season, UND has garnered five wins over the Gophers, including three wins at Ridder Arena. In the previous four meetings between Minnesota and North Dakota, the Gophers have averaged five goals per game to UND's one. UND is the only team to have held a lead over the Gophers this season. They lead 1-0 early in the second period of Oct. 28's game, but the lead lasted only 39 second before Megan Bozek tallied a power play goal.
3. Junior Amanda Kessel and freshman Hannah Brandt are one-two in the nation in scoring with 54 and 48 points through the first 20 games. With the offensive explosion they had in the first half of the season, both players are in contention of breaking NCAA scoring records. Kessel (25g-29a--54pts) is on pace to challenge former Gopher Natalie Darawitz's NCAA single season points record of 114. Brandt (19g-29a--48 pts) has a chance to surpass former Harvard grad Julie Chu's record point total from her freshman season (93). The Gopher newcomer also is in contention to break Chu's freshman assist record of 51.
4. The most important thing to watch this weekend may be the special teams matchups between Minnesota and North Dakota. UND has accrued the most penalty minutes in the country with averaging 15.2 per game, which favors the nation's top power play team in the Maroon & Gold. The Gophers have capitalized on 35.9% (33-of-92) special teams opportunities, which if continued will set an NCAA record. North Dakota's penalty kill, who is 84.5% (87-of-103) on the year, will have a tough time stopping Minnesota's top power play line, which has accumulated 24 of the team's 33 power play goals. On the other side of things, Minnesota's penalty kill is also top in the country with allowing only four special team goals all season. They will be challenged by Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, who are one-two in the nation in power play goals with nine and seven.
5. Over the midseason break, a total of nine Gophers played with their respective countries. Bozek, Brandt, Kessel, Milica McMillen and Lee Stecklein participated in the U.S. Women's National Team Winter Camp from Dec. 26-31, which consisted of three intrasquad scrimmages. Former Gophers Sarah Erickson, Gigi Marvin and Anne Schleper were also in attendance. The other four current Gophers were in Germany for the 2013 Meco Cup. Mira Jalosuo and Noora Räty suited up with the Finnish National Team and received third place in the tournament. Meanwhile, Sarah Davis and Kelly Terry played with the Canadian U-22/Development Team. The Canadians, who went 4-0 in the tournament, won the Meco Cup by defeating Russia in the championship game, 8-3.
SCOUTING NORTH DAKOTA
North Dakota enters this weekend with an 11-7-0 overall record and 8-6-0 in WCHA play. UND got a jump start to the second half of the 2012-13 season by sweeping Lindenwood this past weekend (7-3, 8-4). With the two wins, they have now gone 9-3 since being swept by the Gophers at the end of October. Two of their losses came at the hands of Wisconsin, while the third was a loss to Clarkson.
UND is led by the Lamoureux twins - Jocelyne and Monique. Jocelyne leads in the team in goals and points (18g-15a-33 pts), while Monique heads up the squad in assists (12g-19a-31 pts). Junior Michelle Karvinen is also a player to highlight at she is second on the team in points (4g-15a-19 pts), was the 2012 WCHA Rookie of the Year and, most importantly, did not play in the last series against Minnesota.
North Dakota's team strength is their power play, which they have scored over one-third of their season total goals on (22-of-62).