Border Battle to Feature Top-Two Match-Up
Feb. 12, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – No. 1 Minnesota (28-1-1, 22-1-1-0 WCHA) travels to No. 2 Wisconsin (23-3-2, 19-3-2-1 WCHA) this weekend. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. CT Friday and Saturday nights. Friday’s game is at LaBahn Arena, and Saturday’s "Fill the Bowl" game is at the Kohl Center. Live video, audio, stats and blog for both games will be available at GopherSports.com.
ABOUT THE SERIES: GOPHERS VS. BADGERS
The Gophers are 37-26-8 all-time against the Badgers. The most recent series saw Minnesota sweep Wisconsin at home, 2-1 and 2-0 (Oct. 11-12, 2013). The Gophers have won the last eight meetings between the two teams.
The first meeting this season was a 2-1 Gopher win on Oct. 11. Amanda Leveille made 34 saves, and Milica McMillen broke a 1-1 tie when she scored the game-winner on the power play midway through the third period. The following night, the Gophers earned the series sweep with a 2-0 win behind two goals from Kelly Terry and 31 saves from Leveille in her first shutout of the season.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: WISCONSIN BADGERS
Wisconsin (23-3-2, 19-3-2-1 WCHA) enters this weekend’s series on a seven-game winning streak. Most recently, the Badgers swept Ohio State on the road last weekend, picking up 3-0 and 3-2 victories. UW’s last loss was a 4-1 decision against North Dakota in Madison on Jan. 11.
Senior Brittany Ammerman leads the Badgers with 37 points (20g-17a), and junior Blayre Turnbull has also hit the 30-point mark with 13 goals and 17 assists. Wisconsin averages 3.32 goals per game. Ammerman’s 0.71 goals per game is the best in the WCHA and ranks sixth in the nation.
The Badgers own two of the nation’s top goaltenders in senior Alex Rigsby and freshman Ann-Renée Desbiens. Rigsby is 13-2-2 and leads the nation with a 0.96 goals against average and a .958 save percentage. Desbiens is 10-1-0 overall and ranks second to Rigsby with a 1.07 goals against average and a .956 save percentage. Wisconsin’s defense leads the nation, allowing 1.00 goals per game in 28 games.
WEEKEND REWIND: GOPHERS EXTEND UNBEATEN STREAK TO 16 GAMES
Minnesota swept Bemidji State at home last weekend, earning a 10-0 shutout win before picking up a 5-3 victory in the series finale. Hannah Brandt (4g-1a), Rachael Bona (3g-2a), Sarah Davis (2g-3a) and Milica McMillen (5a) led the Gophers with five points each against the Beavers.
Minnesota erupted for six second-period goals en route to a 10-0 win over Bemidji State last Friday night. The line of Rachael Bona (2g-2a), Sarah Davis (2g-2a) and Kate Schipper (1g-3a) combined for five goals, and Amanda Leveille earned her 10th shutout of the season with 21 saves as the Gophers outshot the Beavers, 40-21.
The Gophers improved to 28-1-1 on the season with a 5-3 win and series sweep over Bemidji State at Ridder Arena last Saturday. Minnesota took a 4-0 lead before Bemidji State stormed back with three quick goals in the second period to come within one at 4-3. However, the Gophers added one more goal by Brandt and held on for the 5-3 victory. Brandt (2g-1a) and McMillen (3a) each had three points, and Leveille made 18 saves.
WCHA FIRST ROUND TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Minnesota has clinched a top-four finish in the WCHA regular season standings, so the Gophers will host a first-round playoff series at Ridder Arena Feb. 28 through March 2. Tickets are now on sale for the best-of-three series. The WCHA Final Face-off is set for March 7-8 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn.
SEVEN GOPHERS COMPETING IN WINTER OLYMPICS
The Minnesota women's hockey program has 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 are making their Olympic debut. Minnesota’s volunteer assistant coach Andy Kent is also in Sochi with Team Finland as the team’s goaltending coach.
GOPHERS ON THE POWER PLAY
Minnesota’s power play leads the nation at 29.9 percent (35/117) led by Dani Cameranesi, who is tied for second in the nation with seven power-play goals this season.
THREE GOPHERS REACH 40-POINT MARK
Three Gophers have hit the 40-point mark this season. Hannah Brandt (18g-31a) leads the Gophers with 49 points, followed by Rachael Bona (19g-28a) with 47 points and Sarah Davis (16g-25a) with 41 points. Fourteen Gophers are in double-digits for scoring, including 10 players with at least 20 points. In addition, Brandt (5g-8a) is on a team-best eight-game point streak.
During Minnesota’s six-goal second period against Bemidji State (Feb. 7), the Gophers scored five goals in a 4:12 span for the fastest five goals on record in Gopher women's hockey program history. The previous record was five goals scored in 6:23 in 2000.
ROAD WINNING STREAK ON THE LINE
Minnesota will put its NCAA-record 42-game road winning streak on the line in Madison, Wis., this weekend. The streak dates back to a 3-0 win at Minnesota Duluth on Jan. 14, 2012. Including neutral games, Minnesota has 45-consecutive victories when playing away from Ridder Arena spanning over the last two years.
ROOKIE SCORING LEADERS
Gopher freshmen have combined for 69 points (26g-43a) this season led by Dani Cameranesi (15g-11a) and Kate Schipper (5g-17a). Minnesota’s freshman class ranks second in the nation with 2.30 points per game.
GOPHERS RANK AMONG WCHA, NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
Hannah Brandt (18g-31a) ranks second in the nation with 1.63 points per game and 1.03 assists per game. Rachael Bona (19g-28a) is close behind, ranking third with 1.57 points per game and fourth with 0.93 assists per game. The duo also ranks in the nation’s top 10 in goals per game with Bona in eighth (0.63 goals per game) and Brandt tied for 10th (0.60 goals per game).
Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille ranks third in the nation with a 1.15 goals against average and fourth with a .948 save percentage. She is third among WCHA goaltenders in both categories. Leveille also is tied for the national lead with 10 shutouts on the season.
The Gophers lead the nation with a +3.67 scoring margin, led by the NCAA’s top offense averaging 4.80 goals per game. Minnesota’s defense is second in the nation, allowing 1.13 goals per game in 30 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 42-straight USCHO.com polls and 45-straight USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
ON THE HORIZON
The No. 1 Gophers return to Ridder Arena to host Minnesota Duluth for their final regular season series next weekend. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. CT Friday, Feb. 21 and 4:07 p.m. CT Saturday, Feb. 22. Friday is Fan Appreciation Night, and Saturday is the Gophers' Senior Night.