|| No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
Jan. 23, 2013
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Minnesota holds a 33-26-8 advantage in the Border Battle with their last loss being a 3-2 defeat on Oct. 14, 2011 in Madison. Playing the Badgers on the road has been difficult for the Gophers in recent years going 2-6-2 in the last 10 meetings at UW. The Badgers are the only team this season to hold the Maroon & Gold's offense scoreless through the first two periods of a game (Dec. 2), but that 49 minute, 14 second span was snapped on a power-play goal by Mira Jalosuo. Minnesota has not swept Wisconsin on the road since 2003 (Oct. 25 and 26).
2. Senior Noora Räty is just two wins away from tying the NCAA career victories record of 100, but the Finnish native faces a nemesis that has challenged her over her career. Räty is 6-5-2 all-time against Wisconsin but has had recent success against the Badgers with going 5-1-1 the last two seasons. In her 13 appearances versus UW, she has allowed an average of 2.69 goals per game. In this season's earlier series, she allowed just one goal and garnered a shutout. Räty is also knocking on the career shutout record, which is held by former Badger Jessie Vetter with 39, as she trails by four.
3. The Golden Gophers currently have an NCAA record 32-game winning streak, but they now look to hold the NCAA unbeaten streak, which they have tied Wisconsin for with 32. Minnesota's streak began on Feb. 18, 2012 with a 5-2 win over North Dakota in the final regular season game of the year. The Badgers have achieved the record twice going 28-0-4 from Nov. 25 to Oct. 14, 2007, and then going 30-0-2 from Dec. 4, 2010 to Oct. 14, 2011. Their second effort of 32 games unbeaten was snapped last season on Oct. 15, 2011 by the Gophers. History doesn't favor Minnesota in escaping this weekend unbeaten since they have not left Wisconsin without a blemish on their record since 2004 (Dec. 4 - W, 2-0; Dec. 5 -T, 3-3).
4. Senior Megan Bozek enters this weekend just eight points away from tying Minnesota's career record of points by a defenseman. The record is currently held by Winny Brodt with 134 points. Currently, Bozek is second in the nation in scoring by a defenseman with 37 points (12g-25a). She trails only Monique Lamoureux (38 points), who rotates between forward and defenseman. The Buffalo Grove, Ill. native heads up the Gophers power-play unit, which is top in the nation at 33.9% (38-of-112), with 21 special-team points (7g-14a).
5. Another record is on the horizon for Minnesota as they look to garner their NCAA record tying 14th road win of the season. The Gophers enter the weekend with 12 roads victories so far this season. The 2005 Gopher squad shares the NCAA record of 14 wins with four other teams: Minnesota Duluth (2008), New Hampshire (2008), Mercyhurst (2011) and Wisconsin (2011). The Maroon & Gold currently own the NCAA record for most road consecutive road victories with 19. Their last loss on the road was at 4-2 defeat on Jan. 13, 2012 to Minnesota Duluth.
The No. 8-ranked Badgers enter this weekend with a 15-7-2 record. Since being swept by the Gophers in early December, Wisconsin has gone 5-1-0, including sweeps over North Dakota and Ohio State. Last weekend, UW split with North Dakota on the road.
Senior forward Briana Decker is the catalyst in Wisconsin's success. The 2012 Patty Kazmaier Award winner leads the team with 37 points (21g-16a). Junior Madison Packer has also been an offensive threat for UW with having 22 points (12g-10a).
Defensively, junior goaltender Alex Rigsby plays a huge role at keeping Wisconsin in games. Rigsby, who was the 2011-12 WCHA Goaltending Champion, has a goal against average of 1.54 and a save percentage of .940. Both Decker and Rigsby have played with the US Women's National Team.