Jan. 18, 2012
Minnesota returns home to face Bemidji State on Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. at Ridder Arena. Friday's match can be watched live via Gopher All-Access, while Saturday's game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.
Gophersports.com will carry a free radio broadcast and live blog for both games this weekend. Dan Hamann is the Gophers' play-by-play announcer, in his fourth season with the Gophers. Alyssa Grogan will provide color commentary.
The Gophers are 13-0-1 at home in Ridder Arena this season, including a perfect 12-0-0 mark through the first half of the season. Minnesota is 6-4 on the road this season, splitting at Wisconsin, Bemidji State, North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth, while earning a series sweep at Harvard.
Minnesota is listed at No. 2 in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls, slipping one spot from its No. 1 ranking last week. Bemidji State moved out of the top 10 this week, and is currently the top team receiving votes in the polls.
The Gophers are fourth in the nation in scoring margin, winning by an average of 2.88 goals. Minnesota has outscored its opponents 100-31 in 24 games this season, including a 64-25 margin against WCHA opponents.
Minnesota is third in the nation and first in the WCHA on the penalty kill. The Gophers are 83-93 (89.2 percent) this season.
The Gophers are averaging 9.5 penalty minutes per game. This weekend's opponent, Bemidji State is the only WCHA team averaging fewer penalty minutes per game (9.4).
Minnesota has the fewest number of goals allowed in WCHA play, with just 25 goals allowed in 18 WCHA games and 31 goals allowed overall. The next closest team is Wisconsin, with 36 goals allowed, 30 of those coming in WCHA games.
Minnesota ranks first in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 1.29 goals per game.
Junior defenseman Megan Bozek is tied for first nationally and leads the WCHA in scoring by defensemen with 25 points on the season. She leads the nation in goals by a defenseman with 10. She has surpassed her season totals for goals from her freshman and sophomore seasons, as she scored six goals in each of her first two seasons with the Gophers. Bozek has 72 career points to rank seventh on the Minnesota all-time scoring list for defensemen. She is tied with Anya Miller (2004-08) for fifth in Gopher history in goals by a defenseman with 22.
Junior goalie Noora Räty has started 23 of 24 games for the Gophers this season. She has 468 saves on the season, with 31 goals allowed. Räty leads the WCHA in goals against average at 1.31, and ranks second nationally in that category.
Last Saturday against UMD, Räty recorded her 21st career shutout to tie the school record for career shutouts. She is currently tied with Erica Killewald, who had 21 career shutouts from 1998-2001, and needs just one more shutout to claim sole possession of first place in the Gopher record books.
Both Amanda Kessel and Jen Schoullis rank among the top six scorers in the WCHA. Fourth in points per game at 2.04, and fourth in points scored with 48 (21-27-48). Schoullis ranks sixth in points per game (1.78) and points scored with 41 (15-26-41).
Sophomore forward Sarah Davis had a goal and an assist in last Friday's game at UMD, pushing her to the 50-point milestone. Davis reached the milestone in 59 career games. She currently has 16 goals and 34 assists in her career. Davis is one of nine current Gophers with 50 or more career points.
Sophomore forward Amanda Kessel is nearing the 100-point milestone. She currently has 98 career points, with 40 goals and 58 assists in 59 career games. Only three other players in Gopher women's hockey history have reached 100 career points in their sophomore season: Nadine Muzerall, Krissy Wendell, and Natalie Darwitz.
Freshman defenseman Rachel Ramsey ranks fourth in the WCHA in points per game by a freshman. Among defensemen, she ranks second in the conference in freshman scoring. She's averaging 0.54 points per game this season.
Freshman forwards Rachael Bona and Meghan Lorence are tied for 14th in the WCHA in freshman scoring, they both average 0.33 points per game this season.
The Bemidji State Beavers are 14-9-2 overall and 8-9-1 in WCHA games this season. Last weekend, BSU hosted Ohio State and split the series, losing 4-2 on Friday before winning 4-2 on Saturday.
Junior forward Sadie Lundquist is the Beavers' leading scorer with 27 points (9-18-27), followed by Emily Erickson with 25 points (13-12-25). Senior Zuzana Tomcikova is the top goalie with a goals against average of 2.30 and a .931 save percentage
Minnesota is 46-4-5 all-time against Bemidji State. Earlier this season, the teams split a series in Bemidji on Oct. 28-29. The Gophers won 4-1 the first night, but BSU came back to win the second game 2-1. Minnesota has fared better when playing Bemidji State at home, winning the last 11 games against BSU in Ridder Arena.
The Gophers had a weekend attendance of 5,220 against Wisconsin Jan. 6-7, with 2,554 fans at Ridder for Friday's game and 2,666 fans in attendance on Saturday. Both figures rank among the top 10 all-time attendance numbers for Ridder Arena.
The Gophers have an average home attendance of 1,226 this season, up nearly 44 percent from the attendance average of 855 at this point last season.
Peters Picks Up WCHA Accolades
Sidney Peters is this week's WCHA Co-Defensive Player of the Week after her 68-save effort against Wisconsin.
Five Minutes with Cara Piazza
Catch up with Gophers junior forward Cara Piazza as the Gophers prepare to host Bemidji State in the WCHA First Round.
Gophers to Begin Postseason with Beavers
No. 2 seed Minnesota hosts No. 7 seed Bemidji State in the WCHA First Round this Friday through Sunday at Ridder Arena.