Gophers to Host Huskies in WCHA First Round
Feb. 27, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – No. 1 Minnesota (32-1-1, 26-1-1-0 WCHA) hosts St. Cloud State (4-25-5, 3-21-4-2 WCHA) in a best-of-three series for the first round of the WCHA postseason this weekend. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. CT Friday, 4:07 p.m. CT Saturday and, if necessary, 4:07 p.m. CT Sunday at Ridder Arena. Live video, audio and stats will be available at GopherSports.com.
Minnesota will honor two Golden Gopher 2014 Olympic silver medalists prior to Friday’s game as Anne Schleper and Lee Stecklein will be in attendance for the game. The Gophers will also recognize their five 2014 WCHA Scholar-Athletes during Friday’s game: Rachael Bona, Hannah Brandt, Bethany Brausen, Rachel Ramsey and Kelly Terry.
ABOUT THE SERIES: GOPHERS VS. HUSKIES
Minnesota is 60-3-2 all-time against St. Cloud State, dating back to Nov. 15, 1997. The Gophers have won the last 18 meetings between the two teams. Minnesota swept St. Cloud State twice during the regular season, winning 4-1 and 4-3 in early November and picking up 3-0 and 3-1 victories at Ridder Arena in late January.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: ST. CLOUD STATE HUSKIES
St. Cloud State (4-25-5, 3-21-4-2 WCHA) enters this weekend’s series after hosting Bemidji State in the final weekend of the regular season. St. Cloud and Bemidji skated to a 1-1 overtime tie last Friday with BSU taking the shootout 1-0 over the Huskies. On Saturday, the Beavers shut out SCSU, 3-0, in the regular season finale. Senior Julia Gilbert scored the Huskies’ lone goal of the series.
Seniors Molli Mott and Gilbert lead the Huskies in scoring. Mott has 22 points (13g-9a) in 34 games, while Gilbert has 20 points (8g-12a) in 34 games.
Junior Julie Friend has played 23 games in net with a 2.54 goals against average, a .931 save percentage and a 3-16-4 mark. Sophomore Katie Fitzgerald has 12 appearances with a 3.24 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. They combine for a .920 save percentage and a 2.91 goals against average.
WEEKEND REWIND: GOPHERS SWEEP BULLDOGS TO CONCLUDE REGULAR SEASON
Minnesota swept Minnesota Duluth in its regular-season finale last weekend, earning back-to-back 6-0 shutout victories over the Bulldogs. Maryanne Menefee (4g-1a) and Hannah Brandt (5a) led the Gophers with five points each in the series. Rachel Ramsey (1g-3a) also added four points, and Amanda Leveille combined for 26 saves in two shutouts.
Menefee scored her first hat trick as a Gopher and Sarah Davis scored two goals to lead Minnesota to a 6-0 win over visiting Minnesota Duluth Friday night. Meghan Lorence had three points on one goal and two assists, and Brandt recorded two assists as the line of Menefee, Brandt and Lorence combined for nine points in the Gophers' 11th-straight win.
The Gophers closed out the regular-season with their third-straight shutout with another 6-0 win over UMD Saturday night. Minnesota scored four power-play goals (4-for-9) and shut down UMD on five opportunities with the man advantage. Ramsey and Brandt led Minnesota with three points each, and Leveille made 10 saves in her 13th shutout of the season.
MINNESOTA IN THE WCHA POSTSEASON
The Gophers are 33-10-0 (.767) all-time in the WCHA postseason, including five WCHA postseason titles (2002, 2004, 2005, 2012 and 2013).
WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Single-game tickets for the 2014 WCHA Final Face-off, the women's WCHA playoff championship which will be held at Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn., March 7-8, are on sale now. Two semifinal games will be played at 4:07 pm CT and 7:07 pm CT on Friday, March 7. The semifinal winners will then play at 7:07 pm CT on Saturday, March 8 in the championship game. The winner of the WCHA Final Face-off receives the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey Tournament. Tickets for all Sanford Center events may be purchased at the Sanford Center ticket office, any Ticketmaster retail location, Lueken's Village Foods, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
GOPHERS ON THE POWER PLAY
Half of Minnesota’s 12 goals against UMD came on the power play last weekend as the Gophers were 2-for-5 in Friday’s 6-0 win and 4-for-9 in Saturday’s 6-0 win. Minnesota’s power play leads the nation at 30.9 percent (42/136) led by Dani Cameranesi, who is tied for the national lead with eight power-play goals.
BONA, BRANDT NAMED PATTY KAZMAIER TOP-10 FINALISTS
Junior Rachael Bona and sophomore Hannah Brandt are among the top-10 finalists for the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, the USA Hockey Foundation announced this week. Along with Bona and Brandt, the top-10 finalists include: sophomore defenseman Erin Ambrose (Clarkson); senior forward Brittany Ammerman (Wisconsin); senior forward Kelly Babstock (Quinnipiac); senior forward Christine Bestland (Mercyhurst); sophomore forward Sarah Lefort (Boston University); sophomore goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer (Harvard); senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray (Clarkson) and junior forward Jillian Saulnier (Cornell). The top three finalists will be announced Thursday, March 6.
TWO GOPHERS REACH 50-POINT MARK
Two Gophers have hit the 50-point mark this season in Hannah Brandt (19g-36a) and Rachael Bona (20g-32a). Sarah Davis (18g-26a) and Kelly Terry (16g-27a) have surpassed the 40-point mark for the first time in their careers as well. Fourteen Gophers are in double-digits for scoring, including 10 players with at least 20 points. Among the Gophers’ 12 returning skaters, seven have already reached career-bests for points in a single season.
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.
The Gophers enter the postseason on a 20-game unbeaten streak (19-0-1). Minnesota is 81-1-1 in their last 83 games, dating back to the start of the team's NCAA-record 62-game winning streak (Feb. 18, 2012 through Nov. 16, 2013). Minnesota is a combined 90-3-3 in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 calendar years.
ROOKIE SCORING LEADERS
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). In addition, senior captain Bethany Brausen recorded her 50th career point with a goal in Minnesota’s 4-0 win at Wisconsin (Feb. 15). Junior Rachael Bona enters this weekend’s WCHA first round at 99 career points (42g-57a) as well.
LEVEILLE LOGS SHUTOUT MINUTES
Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille is on a three-game shutout streak and is riding 194:37 consecutive shutout minutes over four games, including 14:42 (Wisconsin, Feb. 14), 60:00 (Wisconsin, Feb. 15), 59:57 (UMD, Feb. 21) and 59:58 (UMD, Feb. 22). She has made 57-consecutive saves as well.
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 11 shutouts on the season.
GOPHERS RANK AMONG WCHA, NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
Hannah Brandt (19g-36a) is tied for the national lead with 55 points (19g-36a), 1.62 points per game, 36 assists and 1.06 assists per game. Meanwhile, Rachael Bona is third in the nation with 52 points (20g-32a), 32 assists and 0.94 assists per game. Bona also ranks fourth with 1.53 points per game. Four Gophers are among the nation’s top 20 in goals per game: Bona (tied for 10th with 0.59), Megan Lorence (14th with 0.57), Brandt (16th with 0.56) and Sarah Davis (tied for 17th with 0.53).
Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille ranks second in the nation with a 1.07 goals against average and third in the nation with a .951 save percentage. She leads the WCHA with a 1.03 goals against average and .953 save percentage in 28 league games. Leveille leads the nation with a .956 winning percentage (32-1-1) and 13 shutouts.
The Gophers lead the nation with a +3.74 scoring margin, led by the NCAA’s top offense averaging 4.79 goals per game and the nation’s top defense allowing 1.06 goals per game in 34 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 44-straight USCHO.com polls and 47-straight USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
MINNESOTA ADDS FOUR FRESHMEN FOR 2014-15
Head coach Brad Frost and the University of Minnesota women’s hockey program have announced the addition of four student-athletes for the 2014-15 season. Defenseman Sydney Baldwin (Minnetonka, Minn.), forward Kelly Pannek (Plymouth, Minn.), forward Cara Piazza (Darian, Ill.) and forward Nina Rodgers (Minnetonka, Minn.) have signed with the Golden Gophers and will join the team in the fall of 2014. Baldwin recently was named the 2014 Minnesota Ms. Hockey award winner; Pannek and Rodgers were among top five finalists as well.
A LOOK AT THE 2014 POSTSEASON SLATE
The postseason begins with this weekend's WCHA First Round best-of-three series. Bemidji State is hosting this year’s WCHA Final Faceoff at the Sanford Center March 7-8. The NCAA First Round is set for March 14-15, and the 2014 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four is March 21-23 in Hamden, Conn.
ON THE HORIZON