|| No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 6/7 Ohio State
The University of Minnesota women's hockey team returns to Ridder Arena this weekend as they prepare for their second WCHA series of the season. The top ranked Golden Gophers (6-0-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) welcome the league leading Ohio State Buckeyes (5-1-0, 3-1-0 WCHA) for a game on Friday night at 7:07 p.m. and Saturday at 1:07 p.m.
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. The Golden Gophers bring their unblemished record back to Ridder Arena, where they face the top team in the league, Ohio State. The Maroon & Gold have a 21-game winning streak against the Buckeyes with the last loss coming Oct. 20, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio (4-1). In those 21 games, the Gophers have a goal scoring average of 5.86 while OSU is at 1.71. Minnesota is 50-8-1 all-time against Ohio State.
2. Minnesota is 6-0 for the fifth time in program history with the last time being the start of the 2009-10 season. In those six wins, the Gophers have outscored their opponents 40-1, which is the largest goal differential for the first six games in Minnesota history. Only one other time have the Maroon & Gold scored more goals to start a season, which was in 1998-99 (41). The Gophers also hold a 14-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.
3. Senior captain Megan Bozek enters the weekend with 99 career points, which ranks fourth all-time in Minnesota history. If Bozek tallies one point 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 during the 2011-12 season, is taking off where she left off last year and is first in scoring for her position this season.
4. Senior goaltender Noora Räty sits at 81-career wins, which is two away from tying the Minnesota school record set by Jody Horak (2001-05). Räty already has the school records for saves, saves per game and shutouts. The Finland native is also inching towards the NCAA records for wins and shutouts. She is currently 19 wins away from tying Hillary Pattenden (Mercyhurst, 2008-11) for most wins in a career (100) and 10 shutouts away from tying Jessie Vetter (Wisconsin, 2005-09) for most shutouts (39).
5. The Gophers have an all-time home record of 227-34-19 (.845), which is the best in the nation. Their last loss was at home was a 2-1 overtime loss to North Dakota on Feb. 17, 2012, which was the team's only home loss during the 2011-12 season.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE
The No. 6/7 Buckeyes come to Ridder Arena after suffering their first loss of the season on Saturday night to WCHA foe North Dakota. Prior to that loss, OSU had gone 5-0 to start the season. This weekend Ohio State comes in ranked sixth and seventh in the two polls, which is the highest ranking in the program's 14-year history.
Senior forward Paige Semenza leads the Buckeye offense this season with 11 points (seven goals, four assists). Only one other OSU player has at least three goals, and that is fellow senior Tina Hollowell. The forward had three goals on the year with two coming on power plays. All in all, seven of Ohio State's 22 goals have been scored on special teams.
Redshirt junior Chelsea Knapp will be in goal for the Buckeyes. Knapp has played every minute this season for OSU and is posting a 1.51 goal against average.