|| No. 1 Minnesota vs. St. Lawrence
The University of Minnesota women's hockey team embarks on their first road trip of the 2012-13 season as they head to Canton, N.Y. for a pair of games against St. Lawrence. The Golden Gophers will take on the Skating Saints Friday night at 6 p.m. CT and then against Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. CT.
Five Things You Need to Know
1. The Golden Gophers are 6-1-1 in the all-time series against St. Lawrence. The last time Minnesota played the Saints, they dropped a 3-1 decision at Ridder Arena on Oct. 8, 2005. St. Lawrence is a part of the ECAC, and the Gophers are 53-16-4 against teams from that league, including two wins this season against league member Colgate.
2. Senior captain Megan Bozek enters the weekend with 97 career points, which ranks fourth all-time in Minnesota history. If Bozek tallies three points this weekend, she will be only the fourth defenseman in Gopher history to surpass the 100-point mark. The Buffalo Grove, Ill. native, who was second in the nation in scoring for a defenseman, is taking off where she left off last season and is first in scoring for her position.
3. Minnesota has taken advantage of its opponents on power plays by scoring on 12 of their 23 chances. Last weekend, the Gophers were 4-of-7 in the first game against St. Cloud State. Two catalysts in the special teams unit have been forwards Amanda Kessel and Hannah Brandt, who each have three power play scores. On the contrary, Minnesota is a perfect 18-for-18 on penalty kills.
4. The Gophers have begun the season 4-0 for the seventh time in Minnesota's 16-year history. Of those seven seasons, the squad as continued their undefeated record to 5-0 or greater five times. The Maroon & Gold also hold a 12-game winning streak, which dates back to last season. The streak is the longest for a Gopher squad since the 2008-09 season, which was 16 games.
5. In the prior 15 years of Minnesota women's hockey, the Maroon & Gold are 11-4 in their first road contest of the season. They lost their road opener last year, 3-2, to Wisconsin, but prior to the 2011-12 season, the Gophers hadn't lost their first road game since 2007-08, which was a 2-1 decision at St. Cloud State.
Scouting St. Lawrence
St. Lawrence opened the 2012-13 season ranked No. 7 in the USCHO.com poll and No. 8 in the USA Today/USAHM poll, but the Saints would drop their season opening series to Clarkson, both by a one-goal differential. With those two losses, SLU has now dropped out of the national rankings in each poll but is still receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll.
Last season, the Saints made a run in the ECAC Tournament and upset top-seeded Cornell to receive a NCAA Tournament berth. A large part of their end of the year success is due to the play of sophomore goaltender Carmen MacDonald. The Canadian deflected 33 shots in the championship game en route to being named the ECAC Tournament MVP. Overall, she posted a 21-7-3 record and had a save percentage of .929 in 2011-12. MacDonald also won a gold medal at the IIHF World Championships alongside Gophers Sarah Davis and Kelly Terry on the Canadian U-18 National Team.
In just two games, St. Lawrence has struggled offensively with only tallying three goals, two of which came in the final period of their second game against Clarkson. The Saints have been able to generate offensive advantages with garnering 13 power plays, but they have only converted on one. Senior Kelly Sabatine, who has one goal and one assist this season, led SLU last year with 47 points, while junioe Rylee Smith followed with 46.