|| No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 10 Minnesota Duluth
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. The Golden Gophers are on an NCAA record 34 game-winning streak, which began on Feb. 18, 2012 with a 5-2 win over North Dakota. Their last loss came the night before in a 2-1 overtime loss to UND. Over this 34-game span, the Maroon & Gold have outscored their opponents 5.41 to 0.79 and recorded a total of 16 shutouts. Only six times during the streak has a Gopher opponent scored two or more goals in a game. The team has also only trailed for a combined time of 27:45, which has all come this season at the hands of North Dakota.
2. Minnesota needs just two points to clinch its seventh WCHA regular season title. The Maroon & Gold can acquire the two points with a win in regulation (worth 3 points), a shootout victory (worth 2 points) or lose two shootouts (worth 1 point each). Technically, Minnesota needs just one point to claim a share of the title with Minnesota Duluth, but the Gophers would hold the tiebreaker after sweeping the Bulldogs earlier this season. The Gophers last claimed a share of the WCHA title in 2009-10 when they were co-champs. The last time they were outright league champions was the 2008-09 season. Minesota has reached 20-plus wins in WCHA play for the sixth time in program history. The most in program history is 25, which was tallied in 2004-05.
3. The Maroon & Gold are 34-24-16 all-time against UMD. Earlier this season, the Gophers swept the Bulldogs (4-1, 4-0) in Duluth for the first time since the 2008-09 season. They now gear their heads to sweeping the season series, which has never happened in program history. The two schools have won a combined nine National Championships with UMD claiming five (2001, 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2010) and the Gophers having four (2000, 2004, 2005 and 2012).
4. Rachael Bona, Rachel Ramsey and Kelly Terry have been catalysts over the second half of this season for the Gophers' offense. Ramsey and Terry have each tallied seven points in the six games played since returning from the Holiday Break. Ramsey (3g-4a) accumulated a total of 11 points in the first half of the season (20 games), two of which were goals. During these six games, Terry (2g-5a) and Bona (4g-0a) have given the Gophers another dynamic duo to be feared when Amanda Kessel and Hannah Brandt are off the ice.
5. Senior Noora Räty looks to claim sole possession of the NCAA career wins record with her 101st victory this weekend. The Finnish native, who has been in net 32-of-34 games during the streak, is currently tied at 100 with former Mercyhurst goaltender Hillary Pattenden, who garnered the record last season. Räty is also eyeing the NCAA career shutouts record of 39 set by former Badger Jessie Vetter. She is four shutouts from breaking the record. Other NCAA marks that are possibilities for Räty to acquire are goals-against average (season and career) and save percentage (season and career).
SCOUTING MINNESOTA DULUTH
Minnesota Duluth enters the weekend 13-8-3 overall, 12-7-1 WCHA and tied for second in the league with Wisconsin. The Bulldogs have been hot of late having a 10-game unbeaten streak (8-0-2) and winning their last six games. They swept Ohio State last weekend, and their two ties came against nationally-ranked Boston University. Their last loss came on Nov. 24, 2012 to North Dakota.
UMD is led offensively by sophomores Zoe Hickel (10g-10a) and Jenna McParland (8g-12a). The two have received help from defenseman-turned-forward Jessica Wong (6g-13a), who played up top the last six games.
Freshman Kayla Black has been in goal for the Bulldogs most of the year and is 12-8-3 on the year. She has a .926 save percentage and 1.97 goals-against average.