Nov. 23, 2012
|| No. 1 Minnesota vs. New Hampshire
FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
1. The Gophers carry a 13-game road winning streak into New Hampshire, which is two away from tying the NCAA record set by Mercyhurst (Nov. 2, 2002 – Oct. 18, 2003). Minnesota’s last road loss was on Jan. 13, 2012 to Minnesota Duluth, and the streak began the following night in a 3-0 win over the Bulldogs. During that 13-game span, the Gophers have recorded six shutouts while also having a goal differential of +4.23 (5.23-1.00 goals per game).
2. Minnesota is 8-5-3 all-time against New Hampshire. Their last meeting was last season when the Gophers garnered a two-game sweep of the Wildcats (11-0, 6-1). In each of those games, junior Amanda Kessel tallied a hat trick. Prior to their games last season, the two had not met since Oct. 7, 2006 at Ridder Arena, which turned out to be a 6-5 overtime win for UNH. The wildcats are a member of the Hockey East Conference, which the Gophers are 24-9-6 against in program history. The last regular season non-conference loss for Minnesota was Dec. 4, 2009 against Harvard, which puts their current non-conference winning streak at 15.
3. The Maroon & Gold’s special teams this year have been the backbone to their success. They have capitalized on an astonishing 40.3% (27-67) power-play opportunities while killing 95.1% of their opponents chances. Altogether, Minnesota has the most efficient combined special teams in the nation. Senior Megan Bozek not only leads the Gophers in power-play scoring, but she also heads up all of the NCAA with averaging 1.14 points a game on special teams.
4. Junior Amanda Kessel and freshman Hannah Brandt have made a lot of noise thus far in the NCAA as they are tied for first in the nation in scoring with 38 points each. Both are on pace to challenge former Gopher Natalie Darwitz’s NCAA record for most points tallied in a season (114). Brandt is also on track to break the all-time freshmen scoring record set by former Harvard grad Julie Chu (93).
5. Earlier this week, the WCHA tagged Bozek and Brandt with league honors. Bozek was named Co-Defensive Player of the Week by posting five points (two goals, three assists) in the Minnesota State series. It is the third time in her career that she has received a conference accolade. Brandt, who also recorded five points (three goals, two assists), was named Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this year. Altogether, Minnesota has received 10 weekly honors, which is one behind their total from last season. The Gophers season record for weekly accolades is 15, which has been done three times (2002-03, 2003-04 and 2008-09).
SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire enters the weekend with an overall record of 6-7-1 and on a four-game unbeaten streak, which includes a win over nationally ranked Boston University. Along with defeating Boston U, the Wildcats have defeated another Top 10-ranked opponent in Boston College. On the contrary, Unh has been swept by Wisconsin and St. Lawrence, who the Gophers swept earlier this season.
The Wildcats are fairly balanced on offense as they have five players with eight or more points. Senior forward Kristina Lavoie heads up that group with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) and is tied with junior Jessica Hitchcock for most shots on the team. Hitchcock is also tied for the team lead in goals with freshman defenseman Alexis Crosby at five.
UNH struggled early to find a reliable goaltender with four different players making a start this season, but in three of the last four games, sophomore Jenn Gilligan has assumed the position and garnered three wins for the Wildcats. She has a goals against average of 1.67 and a save percentage of .938. Freshman Vilma Vaattovaara could see time in goal as well since she has made the most start this season with eight.