|| No. 1 Minnesota vs. Bemidji State
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. The Golden Gophers enter the weekend with an NCAA record winning/unbeaten streak of 38 consecutive games. The team tries to accomplish another feat this weekend by going a perfect 16-0-0 at Ridder Arena for the first time in program history. Minnesota went 15-0-1 during the 2004-05 season, but they have never won every home game for a single season. They are also closing in on the NCAA record for most home wins in a season (20). Including this weekend, the Gophers are guaranteed four home games with the potential of adding more if they qualify for the WCHA Final Face-Off, host an NCAA Quarterfinal, and advance to the NCAA Frozen Four. This season Minnesota has outscored their opponents 6.07 to 0.93 and garnered seven shutouts.
2. The Maroon & Gold are 48-4-6 all-time against Bemidji State. Earlier this season, the Gophers swept BSU up in Bemidji for the first time since the 2008-09 season. They garnered a 5-1 win in the first contest and then shutout the Beavers out, 5-0, for the sweep. Minnesota is 4-2-2 in the last eight meetings with the Beavers.
3. Senior Megan Bozek, who was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday, enters this weekend just two points away from breaking former Gopher Winny Brodt's school record of career points scored by a defenseman (134). She also has a chance of breaking Brodt's records for career assists by a defenseman (93) and point total for a single season (50). Bozek currently has 91 career assists and 44 points (15g-29a) this season, which is a single season career high. The Buffalo Grove, Ill. native ranks second in the nation in scoring by a defenseman, just five points behind North Dakota's Monique Lamoureux.
4. The Gopher seniors have been one of the most productive classes in program history as they have accumulated a 116-24-9 record during their four years. They are just seven wins away from passing the Class of 2006 (122 wins) as the winningest class in Minnesota history. These six seniors - Megan Bozek, Sam Downey, Katie Frischmann, Mira Jalosuo, Becky Kortum and Noora Raty - have claimed two WCHA regular season titles, two Frozen Four appearances, and one national championship. But they aren't done as another WCHA Tournament Championship, Frozen Four appearance, and National Championship are still insight. Bozek and Räty have been huge catalysts in the team's success as each have broken numerous school and national records and played their way into being considered two of the best players to ever wear the Maroon & Gold.
5. Junior Amanda Kessel continues her tremendous season by leading the nation in scoring with 89 points (40g-49a) and chasing down the NCAA single season scoring record (114 points -Natalie Darwitz, Minnesota). Currently, the winger is on pace to tally 122 points, assuming the Gophers play their way into the National Championship game. Another milestone insight is the 100-point mark, which only three players have achieved in a single season. Kessel would join the ranks of Darwitz (114), Jennifer Botterill from Harvard (112) and Krissy Wendell from Minnesota (104) as the only players to score 100 points in a season.
SCOUTING BEMIDJI STATE
The Beavers enter the weekend 6-20-2 overall and 5-18-1 in the WCHA. Last weekend, BSU was swept by North Dakota in Grand Forks, including a 4-3 overtime loss. Since the Holiday Break, Bemidji State has garnered three conference wins.
Natasha Kostenko heads up the Beavers' offense, which is one of the lowest scoring in the nation (1.64 goals per game). Kostenko leads the team in goals with 10 and is second in points with 15. Abby Ryplanski and Jessica Havel have split time in goal for BSU, but Ryplanski has received the nod in most of the recent games. Both goalies have a goals against average over 3.0 and a save percentage under .900.
The Beavers' special teams have been a struggle since their power play and penalty kill rank worst in the nation. They have only notched 11 power-play goals on 115 chances this season, while allowing 24 goals on penalty kill opportunities.