Jan. 26, 2012
Minnesota begins a three-week road stretch with a pair of games at Minnesota State on Friday and Saturday. Friday's game will start at 7 p.m. at All Seasons Arena, while Saturday's game will start at 3 p.m.
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.
Minnesota State will provide a free online video stream at http://www3.mnsu.edu/athletics/.
Home Sweet Home
The Gophers are 14-0-2 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. 3 in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls, slipping one spot from its No. 2 ranking last week. Minnesota State is not ranked in either poll.
The Gophers are fourth in the nation in scoring margin, winning by an average of 2.69 goals. Minnesota has outscored its opponents 106-36 in 26 games this season, including a 70-30 margin against WCHA opponents.
On the Penalty Kill
Minnesota is sixth in the nation and first in the WCHA on the penalty kill. The Gophers are 88-100 (88.0 percent) this season.
The Gophers are averaging 9.3 penalty minutes per game, the lowest in the WCHA.
Minnesota has the fewest number of goals allowed in WCHA play, with just 30 goals allowed in 20 WCHA games and 36 goals allowed overall. The next closest team is Wisconsin, with 39 goals allowed, 33 of those coming in WCHA games. Minnesota ranks first in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 1.38 goals per game.
Bozek Leads the Way
Junior defenseman Megan Bozek is tied for first nationally and leads the WCHA in scoring by defensemen with 26 points on the season. She leads the nation in goals by a defenseman with 10. Bozek has 73 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.
Between the Pipes
Junior goalie Noora Räty has started 24 of 25 games for the Gophers this season. She has 516 saves on the season, with 35 goals allowed. Räty is second the WCHA in goals against average at 1.43, and ranks fourth nationally in that category.
Against UMD on Jan. 14, Räty recorded her 21st career shutout to tie the school record. 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. Kessel is fifth in the league with 1.88 points per game, and Schoullis is sixth with 1.72 points per game. Kessel has 21 goals and 28 assists for 49 points, while Schoullis has 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points.
Kessel Nears Milestone
Sophomore forward Amanda Kessel is just one point away from joining the 100-point club. She currently has 99 career points, with 40 goals and 59 assists in 62 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.
About Minnesota State
The Mavericks are 7-19-0 on the season, and 3-17-0 in WCHA games. Lauren Smith and Lauren Barnes are leading the team in points, each 16 points. Kari Lundbreg leads the team in goals with seven. Eric Means is the Mavericks' coach, in his third season leading the team.
The Series: Minnesota State
Minnesota is 55-3-3 all-time against Minnesota State. The Gophers have won the last 21 consecutive meetings between the two teams, with the last Minnesota State wins coming on Jan. 19 and 20, 2007 in Mankato.
Earlier this season, the Gophers won two games against the Mavericks at Ridder Arena. Minnesota won the first game 3-0 and earned a 7-0 victory in the second game.
Fans in the Stands
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 1,274 this season, up 47 percent from the attendance average of 864 at this point last season. This season, the Gophers have had five home games with crowds of 1,500 and over. Minnesota did not draw any crowds of 1,500-plus last season.
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