No. 1 Gophers Set to Go for Three
March 18, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – No. 1 Minnesota (37-1-1) is poised to defend the program’s back-to-back national titles when the Gophers head to the 2014 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four in Hamden, Conn., this weekend. Minnesota faces Wisconsin (28-7-2) in the semifinals at 4 p.m. CT Friday at Quinnipiac's High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Mercyhurst (24-8-4) and Clarkson (29-5-5) face off in the second semifinal game, set for 7 p.m. CT Friday. The semifinal winners will meet in the 2014 national championship game at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 23.
The Gophers are the top seed in the 2014 NCAA postseason and advanced to the Frozen Four with a 5-1 quarterfinal win over Boston University last weekend. Minnesota earned the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's automatic bid into the national tournament as WCHA Final Face-off champions.
Minnesota is making its third-straight and 10th overall Frozen Four appearance. The Gophers enter the 2014 Frozen Four as back-to-back national champions and are on a 25-game unbeaten streak (24-0-1).
THE QUEST FOR BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK TITLES
Minnesota looks to become just the second NCAA women’s hockey team all-time to win three-straight national championships. Minnesota Duluth won the first three NCAA national titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Both Minnesota (2004, 2005 and 2012 and 2013) and Wisconsin (2006, 2007) have won back-to-back titles. The Gophers, Badgers and Bulldogs have combined to win all 13 NCAA national crowns since the first year of NCAA women’s ice hockey in 2000-01.
GOPHERS VS. THE NCAA FIELD
Minnesota is 4-0-0 against the NCAA Frozen Four field this season as semifinal opponent Wisconsin is the only opponent the Gophers have faced in 2013-14. Minnesota is a combined 50-27-8 all-time against the three Frozen Four teams.
ABOUT THE SERIES: MINNESOTA VS. WISCONSIN
The Gophers are 39-26-8 all-time against the Badgers. The most recent series saw Minnesota sweep Wisconsin on the road in Madison, 3-2 and 4-0 (Feb. 14-15, 2014). The Gophers also swept UW in this year’s first series at home, 2-1 and 2-0 (Oct. 11-12, 2013). The Gophers have won the last 10-straight meetings between the two teams.
ABOUT THE SERIES: MINNESOTA VS. CLARKSON
Minnesota owns a 5-0-0 all-time record against Clarkson, including four shutout victories and one 3-2 overtime win in the 2010 NCAA quarterfinal round. All five meetings occurred during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. Most recently, Minnesota swept the Golden Knights on the road to open the 2010-11 season, winning 5-0 and 3-0.
ABOUT THE SERIES: MINNESOTA VS. MERCYHURST
The Gophers are 6-1-0 all-time against the Lakers. The most recent meeting was a 5-4 Gopher loss in the NCAA semifinals in Boston on March 20, 2009. Mercyhurst fell to Wisconsin 5-0 in the 2009 national championship game. The Gophers won the first six meetings with the Lakers, dating back to a 3-0 win on Jan. 6, 2001.
NCAA QUARTERFINAL REWIND: TERRY’S HAT TRICK LIFTS GOPHERS TO FROZEN FOUR
The Gophers punched their ticket to the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four with a 5-1 quarterfinal win over Boston University led by Kelly Terry’s hat trick and Amanda Leveille’s 28 saves last weekend. In a rematch of the 2013 NCAA championship game, the Gophers broke a 1-1 tie in the second period with four unanswered goals to secure Minnesota's 10th all-time NCAA Frozen Four appearance.
Along with Terry's third career hat trick as a Gopher, the senior recorded an assist for a four-point game. Minnesota also received three points from Rachel Ramsey on a goal and two assists, and Milica McMillen registered two assists. Boston University (24-13-1) was led by senior goaltender Kerrin Sperry, who made 41 saves as Minnesota outshot BU, 46-29.
AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR…
Wisconsin, Clarkson and Mercyhurst join the Gophers at the 2014 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four. The Badgers defeated Harvard, 2-1 in Madison last Saturday night with goals from Blayre Turnbull and Katy Josephs and 23 saves from Alex Rigsby. No. 3 seed Clarkson knocked off Boston College, 3-1, and Mercyhurst upset No. 2 seed Cornell by a score of 3-2 on the road to advance to its second-straight Frozen Four.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: WISCONSIN BADGERS
Wisconsin (28-7-2) enters the Frozen Four with a 3-2 record in its last five games. Most recently, the Badgers defeated Harvard, 2-1, in the NCAA quarterfinal round. UW fell to North Dakota, 2-0, in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Face-off and defeated Minnesota State two games to one in the WCHA first round best-of-three series.
Junior Brittany Ammerman leads the Badgers with 43 points (22g-21a), and junior Blayre Turnbull has also hit the 40-point mark with 18 goals and 22 assists. Wisconsin averages 3.00 goals per game, and Ammerman’s 0.59 goals per game ranks 11th in the nation.
Senior goaltender Alex Rigsby leads the Badgers’ defense. Rigsby is 17-6-2 and ranks second in the nation with a .950 save percentage. She also has the nation’s third-ranked goals against average at 1.17. Wisconsin’s defense is third in the NCAA, allowing 1.14 goals per game in 37 games.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: CLARKSON GOLDEN KNIGHTS
Clarkson (29-5-5) is making its first-ever NCAA Women’s Frozen Four appearance after defeating Boston College, 3-1, in the NCAA quarterfinals. This season, the Golden Knights won the ECAC Hockey regular season title with a 16-2-4 mark in league games. Clarkson is 15-1-3 in the 2014 calendar year but split its last two games, falling to Cornell 1-0 in the ECAC championship game before defeating Boston College in its last game.
Senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray leads the Golden Knights with 62 points (28g-34a). The Patty Kazmaier top-three finalist ranks third in the nation with 1.59 points per game. Sophomore defenseman Erin Ambrose ranks seventh in the nation with 1.35 points per game in 37 games for 50 points (14g-36a) but has missed the Golden Knights’ last two games.
Senior goaltender Erica Howe leads Clarkson in net with a .944 save percentage and a 1.03 goals against average. She has played all 39 games for the Golden Knights and leads the nation with 14 shutouts.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: MERCYHURST LAKERS
Mercyhurst (24-8-4) is making its second-straight Frozen Four appearance and has a 3-1-1 record in its last five games. Most recently, the Lakers upset Cornell, 3-2, in the NCAA quarterfinal round. Mercyhurst fell to RIT, 2-1 in overtime, in the College Hockey America championship game.
Senior forward Christine Bestland leads Mercyhurst with 54 points (22g-32a). She ranks fourth in the nation with 1.50 points per game in 36 games. Sophomore forward Emily Janiga (15g-26a) is second on the team with 41 points, while senior forward Christie Cicero (16g-19a) and sophomore forward Jenna Dingeldein (15g-20a) round out the Lakers’ top scorers with 35 points each.
Junior goaltender Amanda Makela leads the Lakers’ defense with a 22-7-4 record and six shutouts. She enters the Frozen Four with a .927 save percentage and a 1.80 goals against average. Mercyhurst ranks fifth in the nation with a +1.58 scoring margin behind the nation’s fifth-ranked offense (3.39 goals per game) and the NCAA’s ninth-best defense (1.81 goals per game).
MINNESOTA IN THE NCAA POSTSEASON
Including a quarterfinal victory over BU, the Gophers own a 16-8-1 (.660) all-time mark in the NCAA tournament with five national titles (2000, 2004, 2005, 2012 and 2013). Minnesota is 9-6-1 (.594) in the Frozen Four.
GOPHERS WIN 2014 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF
Minnesota won its sixth WCHA Final Face-off title with a 3-1 win over North Dakota in the league championship game. The Gophers scored two power-play goals in the second period and added an empty-netter in the final 90 seconds to secure the 3-1 win over UND and claim their third-straight WCHA postseason title. Minnesota defeated Minnesota Duluth, 4-1, in the semifinal round to advance to its 13th-straight WCHA title game.
Dani Cameranesi led the Gophers with four points in the WCHA Final Face-off, recording two points (1g-1a) in each game, and Rachael Bona recorded three points (1g-2a). Amanda Leveille combined for 41 saves in the two games for a .953 save percentage. Rachel Ramsey (1g-1a) was named the WCHA Final Face-off Most Valuable Player and joined Cameranesi, Leveille and Kelly Terry (1g-1a) on the all-tournament team.
Minnesota leads the nation in attendance at 77,928 fans in 39 games this season for a 1,998 average. In 19 home games, the Gophers average 2,394 fans per game. This season marks the first time in program history that Minnesota has averaged over 2,000 fans per game at Ridder Arena.
GOPHERS ON THE POWER PLAY
Minnesota’s power play leads the nation at 32.5 percent (50/154) led by Dani Cameranesi, who is tied for second in the nation with eight power-play goals.
THREE GOPHERS REACH 50-POINT MARK
Three Gophers have reached the 50-point mark this season in national points leader Hannah Brandt (22g-41a), Rachael Bona (21g-37a) and Kelly Terry (21g-29a). Sarah Davis (19g-28a) and Rachel Ramsey (12g-31a) have surpassed the 40-point mark for the first time in their careers as well. Fourteen Gophers are in double-digits for scoring, including nine players with at least 30 points.
ROOKIE SCORING LEADERS
ROAD WINNING STREAK CONTINUES
Minnesota’s NCAA-record road winning streak currently sits at 44 games. The streak dates back to a 3-0 win over Minnesota Duluth on Jan. 14, 2012. Including neutral games, Minnesota has 49-consecutive victories when playing away from Ridder Arena spanning over the last two years.
The Gophers enter the 2014 NCAA postseason on a 25-game unbeaten streak (24-0-1). Minnesota is 86-1-1 in their last 88 games, dating back to the start of the team's NCAA-record 62-game winning streak (Feb. 18, 2012 through Nov. 16, 2013). The Gophers are a combined 95-3-3 in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 calendar years.
GOPHERS RANK AMONG WCHA, NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
Patty Kazmaier Award top-three finalist Hannah Brandt (22g-41a) is the national leader with 63 points, 41 assists and 1.05 assists per game. Meanwhile, Rachael Bona (21g-37a) is second in the nation with 37 assists; she ranks third in the nation with 58 points and fifth with 1.49 points per game. Four Gophers are among the nation’s top 20 in goals per game: Brandt (13th with 0.56 goals per game), Megan Lorence (15th with 0.55) and Kelly Terry and Bona (tied for 16th with 0.54).
Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille leads the nation with a .951 save percentage and ranks second in the nation with a 1.07 goals against average and 13 shutouts. She leads the nation with a .962 winning percentage (37-1-1) as well.
The Gophers lead the nation with a +3.72 scoring margin, led by the NCAA’s top offense averaging 4.77 goals per game and the nation’s top defense allowing 1.05 goals per game in 39 games.
MINNESOTA REMAINS UNANIMOUS NO. 1
The Golden Gophers remained the unanimous No. 1 in the most recent USCHO.com and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls. 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 46-straight USCHO.com polls and 50-straight USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.