No. 1 Gophers Set for Top-3 Battle
Jan. 30, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – Coming off a sweep of St. Cloud State, No. 1 Minnesota (24-1-1, 18-1-1-0 WCHA) travels to Grand Forks, N.D., for its second series of the season against No. 3/4 North Dakota (16-5-3, 13-4-3-2 WCHA) this weekend. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. CT Friday and Saturday nights at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Live blog, audio and stats will be available at GopherSports.com.
ABOUT THE SERIES: GOPHERS VS. UND
The Gophers are 40-6-0 all-time against North Dakota, dating back to the first meeting, a 6-2 Minnesota win, on Nov. 29, 2003. The teams split a series in Minneapolis earlier this year as the Gophers picked up a 6-1 win before falling 3-2.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: NORTH DAKOTA
No. 3/4 North Dakota (16-5-3, 13-4-3-2 WCHA, 44 points) wraps up a three-week homestand by hosting the Gophers this weekend. UND is 3-0-1 in its last four games, sweeping St. Cloud State before recording a win and a tie against Bemidji State last weekend.
North Dakota needs one point in the WCHA standings to secure home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs. UND is currently third in the league standings with 44 points behind Minnesota (55 points) and Wisconsin (54 points).
Junior Josefine Jakobsen leads UND with 26 points (11g-15a), followed by senior Michelle Karvinen with 21 points (13g-8a). Sophomore Meghan Dufault (8g-11a) and freshman Susanna Tapani (7g-12a) each have 19 points. Rookie defenseman Gracen Hirschy leads UND’s blue line, which ranks eighth in the nation in scoring among defensemen, with 14 points (6g-8a).
Sophomore Shelby Amsley-Benzie and freshman Lexie Shaw have both seen time in goal for UND. Amsley-Benzie is 10-3-2 with a 1.98 goals against average and a .903 save percentage, while Shaw is 6-2-1 with a 1.48 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.
North Dakota currently is without Karvinen (Finland), Tapani (Finland) and sophomore Tanja Eisenschmid (Germany), who have left to meet up with their respective countries to compete in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
WEEKEND REWIND: GOPHERS SWEEP HUSKIES
The Gophers skated to a pair of victories over visiting St. Cloud State last weekend. Minnesota topped SCSU, 3-0, last Friday as sophomore Amanda Leveille recorded her third-straight shutout and junior winger Meghan Lorence scored two goals. In addition to Lorence's two-goal effort, freshman Kate Schipper recorded two assists and senior Sarah Davis scored her 14th goal of the season.
The second game of the series saw Minnesota earn a 3-1 win over the Huskies to complete the sweep and extend its NCAA-best unbeaten streak to 12 games. Rachael Bona led the Gophers with a goal and an assist and Rachel Ramsey added two assists as Minnesota outshot the Huskies, 47-18, on the night.
SEVEN GOPHERS TO COMPETE IN WINTER OLYMPICS
The Minnesota women's hockey program will have seven Golden Gophers representing their home countries in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Team Finland's roster includes former Gophers Mira Jalosuo and Noora Räty, while Team USA includes Minnesota alumni Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin and Anne Schleper along with current student-athletes Amanda Kessel and Lee Stecklein. Among the seven Olympians, Räty and Marvin are the only two veterans; the remaining five athletes will make their Olympic debut this February. Minnesota’s volunteer assistant coach Andy Kent will also be traveling to Sochi with Team Finland as the team’s goaltending coach.
GOPHERS ON THE POWER PLAY
TWO GOPHERS REACH 40-POINT MARK
Two Gophers have hit the 40-point mark this season. Hannah Brandt (14g-27a) leads the Gophers with 41 points, followed by Rachael Bona (15g-25a) with 40 points. Thirteen Gophers are in double-digits for scoring, including eight players with at least 20 points. In addition, Meghan Lorence (5g) and Hannah Brandt (1g-4a) each have five points during their current team-best four-game point streaks.
ROAD WINNING STREAK CONTINUES
Minnesota puts its NCAA-record 40-game road winning streak on the line this weekend. The streak dates back to a 3-0 win over the Bulldogs on Jan. 14, 2012. Including neutral games, Minnesota has 43-consecutive victories when playing away from Ridder Arena spanning over the last two years.
FROST RECORDS WIN NO. 200
Head coach Brad Frost earned his 200th career wins as Minnesota’s head coach on Nov. 23, 2013 with a 5-1 win over Yale. Frost entered the 2013-14 season with a career mark of 186-36-16 in six seasons at the helm of the Gopher women’s hockey program. Frost’s career record currently stands at 210-37-17 (.828).
NCAA-RECORD WINNING STREAK HALTED AT 62
The Gophers’ NCAA-record winning streak came to an end at 62 consecutive victories with a Nov. 17 loss to North Dakota. Minnesota’s streak began and ended with North Dakota, as the historic run started with a 5-2 win over UND on Feb. 28, 2012 and the final win was a 6-1 victory over North Dakota. Losses to North Dakota bookend the streak (2-1 overtime loss on Feb. 17, 2012 and 3-2 loss on Nov. 17, 2013).
The streak began with an 8-0-0 run to conclude the 2011-12 season, followed by a perfect 41-0-0 campaign in 2012-13. Back-to-back national champions, the Gophers then started the 2013-14 season at 13-0-0 to push the streak to 62-straight wins.
Minnesota’s 62-game run bested the previous NCAA Division I women's hockey winning streak (21, Harvard) and unbeaten streak (32, Wisconsin, twice), along with surpassing the NCAA Division I men's hockey winning streak (30, RPI and Cornell) and unbeaten streak (38, RPI).
ROOKIE SCORING LEADERS
Gopher freshmen have combined for 53 points (19g-34a) this season led by Dani Cameranesi (12g-8a) and Kate Schipper (2g-14a). Minnesota’s freshman class ranks fifth in the nation with 2.04 points per game.
CENTURY MARK SCORING
Two Gophers have surpassed the 100-career point mark this season as Sarah Davis tallied her 100th point as a Gopher with an assist in Minnesota’s 7-0 win at Minnesota State (Nov. 2), and sophomore Hannah Brandt picked up point No. 100 with an assist in a 6-1 win over North Dakota (Nov. 16).
LEVEILLE LOGS SHUTOUT MINUTES
Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille recorded 219:31 consecutive shutout minutes over five games Jan. 11-25, including three-straight shutout victories. Earlier this season, Leveille posted a stretch of 176:30 scoreless minutes in four games from Oct. 11-19. Leveille began her Gopher career by playing 281:34 without allowing a goal, a streak including action in eight games from Sept. 29, 2012 to Oct. 4, 2013. Leveille has six shutouts on the season.
GOPHERS RANK AMONG WCHA, NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
Hannah Brandt (14g-27a) is second in the nation with 41 points and 1.58 points per game. Rachael Bona (15g-25a) is third in the nation with 1.54 points per game. Brandt leads the nation with 27 assists and 1.04 assists per game, while Bona ranks third with 25 assists and 0.96 assists per game. Bona ranks 13th nationally and third among WCHA players with 0.58 goals per game.
Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille ranks fourth in the nation and third among WCHA goaltenders nationally with both a 1.13 goals against average and a .949 save percentage. She is tied for the national lead with nine shutouts.
The Gophers lead the nation with a +3.54 scoring margin, led by the NCAA’s top offense averaging 4.65 goals per game. Minnesota’s defense ranks third in the nation, allowing 1.12 goals per game in 26 games.
MINNESOTA REMAINS UNANIMOUS NO. 1
The Golden Gophers remained the unanimous No. 1 in both the USCHO.com and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls this week. Minnesota has been No. 1 in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls since the final poll of the 2011-12 season (March 19-20, 2012). This stretch includes 40-straight USCHO.com polls and 43-straight USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
ON THE HORIZON