Feb. 2, 2012
Minnesota continues on a three-week road stretch with a pair of games at St. Cloud State this weekend. Friday’s game starts at 7 p.m. with a 2 p.m. start on Saturday. The games will be held at the National Hockey Center.
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.
St. Cloud State will offer a video webccast on a pay-per-view basis. Click here to access the video feed.
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 8-4 on the road this season, splitting at Wisconsin, Bemidji State, North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth, while earning series sweeps at Harvard and Minnesota State.
Minnesota is listed at No. 2 in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls, after being ranked No. 3 in both polls last week. St. Cloud State is not ranked in either poll.
The Gophers are listed at No. 2 in the PairWise Rankings and No. 3 in the RPI.
Staying Out of the Box
Minnesota averages the fewest penalty minutes per game among WCHA teams, with just 8.9. That number is down significantly compared to last season when the Gophers averaged 12.47 penalty minutes per game.
Minnesota has the fewest number of goals allowed in WCHA play, with just 34 goals allowed in 22 WCHA games and 40 goals allowed overall. The next closest team is Wisconsin, with 41 goals allowed, 35 of those coming in WCHA games.
Minnesota ranks first in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 1.43 goals per game.
Kessel Reaches Milestone
Sophomore forward Amanda Kessel tallied one assist in last Friday’s 6-3 win over Minnesota State, giving her membership in the 100-point club. She currently has 100 career points, with 40 goals and 60 assists in 64 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.
Kessel is the fifth current member of the team to reach the 100-point milestone as Emily West, Sarah Erickson, Jen Schoullis and Anne Schleper have also passed the 100-point mark. Kessel is the only non-senior on the current team to get to 100 career points.
Tops in the Nation
Junior goalie Noora Räty has started 27 of 28 games for the Gophers this season. Räty ranks first in the nation in goals against average with a 1.48. She has 552 saves on the season, with 40 goals allowed. Räty ranks seventh nationally and third in the WCHA in save percentage with a 93.4
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.
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.
Both Amanda Kessel and Jen Schoullis rank among the top six scorers in the WCHA. Kessel is fifth in the league with 1.79 points per game, and Schoullis is sixth with 1.70 points per game. Kessel has 21 goals and 29 assists for 50 points, while Schoullis has 17 goals and 29 assists for 46 points. Both Kessel and Schoullis rank among the top 10 in the WCHA in goals scored and are in the top five in the league in assists.
About St. Cloud State
The Huskies are 5-21-2 on the season, and 4-18-0 in WCHA games. Senior forward Brittany Toor is SCSU’s leading scorer with 14 points this season. Sophomore Molli Mott and junior Abby Ness each have 12 points for the Huskies.
Junior Tayler VanDenakker and freshman Julie Friend have been splitting time in goal this season, with VanDenakker playing in 17 games and Friend playing 16 games.
Jeff Giesen is the Huskies’ coach, in his sixth season leading the team.
The Series: St. Cloud State
Minnesota is 45-2-1 against the Huskies and has won the last 10 meetings between the teams. Earlier this season, the Gophers won two games against the Huskies at Ridder Arena. Minnesota won the first game 6-0 and earned an 8-0 victory in the second game.
Minnesota is on the road again next week, traveling to Columbus for games against Ohio State. The teams will face off at 7 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday at the OSU Ice Arena.
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