Gophers to Welcome Bulldogs to Ridder

 No. 6 Minnesota (14-5-1) vs. Minnesota Duluth (9-10-0)
 Game 1 Friday, Dec. 8 | 7:07 p.m.
 Game 2 Saturday, Dec. 9 | 4:07 p.m.
 Location Ridder Arena | Minneapolis, Minn.
 Tickets MyGopherSports.com
 Travel Local Weather | Parking | Preferred Hotels
 Game 1 Game Day Live | BTN Plus Video | Free Audio | Live Stats
 Game 2 Game Day Live | BTN Plus Video | Free Audio | Live Stats
 Official Sites Minnesota | Minnesota Duluth
 Social Media @GopherWHockey | Facebook | Instagram

Dec. 5, 2017

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

MINNEAPOLIS -- The No. 6 Golden Gopher women's hockey team wraps up action in the 2017 calendar year by hosting Minnesota Duluth at Ridder Arena this week. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. CT Friday and 4:07 p.m. CT Saturday.

Holiday Celebration and Goldy's Kids Club
On Friday, the first 500 fans will receive a Gopher Women's Hockey holiday themed knit beanie. Saturday's game is Minnesota's Salute to Service Day; discounted tickets are available at the box office for military and first responders. Next week is also Goldy's Kids Club Weekend at Ridder Arena. Activities for Goldy's Kids Club members will be available on the concourse.

About the Series: Minnesota vs. Minnesota Duluth
Minnesota is 54-27-7 all-time against Minnesota Duluth, most recently sweeping the Bulldogs in Duluth, Minn., in October 2017, with 4-1 and 2-1 wins. Caitlin Reilly (3g-1a), Patti Marshall (3a), and Sophie Skarzynski (1g-1a) led the Gophers with multiple points against the Bulldogs, and Sidney Peters and Alex Gulstene each picked up a win on net.

Scouting the Bulldogs
Minnesota Duluth (9-10-0, 5-7-0 WCHA) enters this weekend's series after being swept on the road at Wisconsin last weekend. Since the Gophers and Bulldogs last met in mid-October, UMD has gone 7-4-0. The Bulldogs are 4-2-0 in their last six games as the Badgers snapped the team's four-game winning streak last week.

Freshman forward Naomi Rogge (10g-6a), freshman forward Ashton Bell (7g-5a) and sophomore defense Jalyn Elmes (4g-7a) lead the Bulldogs in scoring through 19 games this season. Four of Bell's seven goals have come on the power play while Rogge and Elmes each have two game-winners.

Defensively, senior Jessica Convery has seen the majority of time in net for the Bulldogs, posting a 9-8-0 record with a .921 save percentage and a 2.13 goals against average. Sophomore Catherine Johnson has played two games with a .837 save percentage and a 4.00 goals against average. Minnesota Duluth is averaging 2.05 goals per game while allowing 2.32 goals per game.

Last Time Out: Gophers Split with Beavers
Minnesota (14-5-1, 9-4-1-0 WCHA) split a series with Bemidji State last week. The Gophers won 3-2 in overtime in game one before dropping a 4-2 decision in game two. Grace Zumwinkle (2g-1a), Caitlin Reilly (1g-1a), Emily Brown (1g-1a), and Cara Piazza (2a) recorded multiple points against the Beavers.

Road Warriors
Minnesota is perfect in road games this season at 10-0-0 with first half sweeps at Bemidji State, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State, Mercyhurst, and Lindenwood.

Career-High Scoring
Sophie Skarzynski (5g-14a), Sydney Baldwin (4g-15a), Caitlin Reilly (7g-10a), Nicole Schammel (9g-6a), Cara Piazza (6g-9a), Alex Woken (7g-8a), and Kippin Keller (2g-8a) have all surpassed their point totals from last season while Patti Marshall (1g-12a) and Lindsay Agnew (2g-3a) have tied their offensive output from a year ago.

Notable Notes
• Minnesota is 12-0-0 this season when leading at the second intermission.
Cara Piazza has five points (1g-4a) during her current season-best four-game point streak.
Alex Woken and Caitlin Reilly lead the Gophers with six multi-point games each this year.
Cara Piazza and Alex Woken both have three game-winning goals on the season, good for fourth in the NCAA.

Offensive Defensemen
Sydney Baldwin (4g-15a) and Patti Marshall (1g-12a) are among the WCHA's top-scoring defensemen. Baldwin leads the WCHA and is sixth in the nation with 0.95 points per game while Marshall is fourth in the league and 21st in the NCAA at 0.65 points per game.

Immediate Impact
All five of Minnesota's freshmen are seeing significant ice time this season with all four skaters picking up their first collegiate goals and goaltender Alex Gulstene playing in eight games (6-1-1). Grace Zumwinkle (9g-11a) leads the team in scoring while Olivia Knowles (5g-6a), Taylor Wente (6g-5a), and Emily Brown (2g-5a) have all registered points on the year.

WCHA's Best Special Teams
Minnesota leads the WCHA and ranks fourth in the NCAA on the power play, converting on 25.0 percent of attempts at 16-for-64. The Gophers also lead the league and rank sixth in the nation at 89.1 percent (49-for-55) on the penalty kill. Grace Zumwinkle is tied for third in the NCAA lead with five power-play goals this season.

Scoring Milestone
Sydney Baldwin recorded her 50th career point with an assist against Merrimack (Sept. 29). She is tied for second on the team with 19 points (4g-15a) on the season, and her career total stands at 68 career points with 16 goals and 52 assists.

Twenty Years of Gopher Women's Hockey
The Gophers enter this weekend's series with Minnesota Duluth with an all-time program record of 611-125-50. The 2017-18 season marks the 21st season in Gopher women's hockey history, and Minnesota secured the program's 599th and 600th all-time wins on the road at Bemidji State earlier this season.

Up Next: Gophers Kick Off 2018 with Whitecaps, Huskies
Minnesota resumes play following the holiday break by hosting the Minnesota Whitecaps in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 5. The Gophers then host St. Cloud State (Jan. 9) and Vermont (Jan. 12-13) in non-conference action in early January.

Gophers Tabbed as League Favorite
Minnesota has been named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's preseason favorite heading into the 2017-18 season. The Gophers collected four first-place votes and 34 points in the annual preseason poll of the league's seven head coaches.

The Gophers edged back-to-back defending WCHA champion Wisconsin by one point in the league's preseason poll as the Badgers posted 33 points with three first-place votes. Minnesota Duluth and Ohio State tied for third in the poll with 23 points each while Bemidji State (14 points), St. Cloud State (11 points), and Minnesota State (9 points) rounded out the poll.

Frost Enters Second Decade
Head coach Brad Frost is back for his 11th season at the helm of the program with a career record of 319-53-27 in his first 10 seasons. Last season, the Gophers celebrated Frost's 300th career coaching victory with a road sweep at Ohio State in October 2016.

Duo Serving as Captains
Seniors Sydney Baldwin and Cara Piazza are serving as the Gophers' co-captains this year. The duo was part of back-to-back national championship teams their freshmen and sophomore years at the University of Minnesota, and they have helped the program advance to three-straight NCAA Frozen Fours.

Baldwin, a health services management and human resources development major, the Minnetonka, Minn., native is a two-time WCHA All-Academic Team and Academic All-Big Ten team honoree along with earning WCHA Scholar Athlete accolades this past season. Piazza is a two-time WCHA Scholar Athlete, WCHA All-Academic Team, and Academic All-Big Ten Team honoree who is studying mechanical engineering. The Darien, Ill., product is the first Illinois native to captain the team since Megan Bozek in 2012-13.

Zumwinkle Leads Incoming Class
WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year Grace Zumwinkle (Excelsior, Minn.) leads Minnesota's talented freshmen class, which also includes defenseman Emily Brown (Blaine, Minn.), goaltender Alex Gulstene (Vancouver, B.C.), defenseman Olivia Knowles (Campbell River, B.C.), and forward Taylor Wente (Maple Grove, Minn.). Junior forward Jackie Pieper (Edina, Minn.), who spent three years at Merrimack College, rounds out Minnesota's newcomers.

Who's Back?
Minnesota returns 16 players from last year's team, which advanced to the program's sixth-straight NCAA Frozen Four. Co-captains Sydney Baldwin and Cara Piazza and fellow seniors Sidney Peters and Caitlin Reilly lead this year's team.

Pannek and Potomak Centralized with National Teams
In addition to losing six seniors to graduation last spring, the 2017-18 Gophers are without the services of senior Kelly Pannek and junior Sarah Potomak, who are currently centralized with the U.S. Women's National Team and Canadian National Women's Team, respectively, in preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

In total, 10 current and former Gophers are Olympic hopefuls. Seven players with Golden Gopher ties are among the 23 players named to the 2017-18 U.S. Women's National Team in Pannek, Megan Bozek ('13), Hannah Brandt ('16), Dani Cameranesi ('17), Amanda Kessel ('16), Gigi Marvin ('09), Lee Stecklein ('17). Sarah Potomak is centralized with Canada's National Women's Team; 2017-18 signee Amy Potomak began the season centralized with Canada but was released from the team in November. Noora Raty ('13) and Mira Jalosuo ('13) are expected to represent Finland in the 2018 Olympic Games as well.

Season Recap: A Look Back at 2016-17
Minnesota's 2016-17 season came to a close in the semifinal round of the 2017 NCAA Women's Frozen Four. The Gophers posted an overall record of 26-8-5 while going 19-4-5 in WCHA play. Minnesota finished as WCHA regular season runner-up for the second-straight year and tied for third at the WCHA Final Face-Off. Under the leadership of senior captains Lee Stecklein, Dani Cameranesi, and Kate Schipper, Minnesota produced two of the nation's top-10 scorers, multiple All-Americans for the sixth-straight year, a program-record 17 WCHA All-Academic Team honorees, and the NCAA's second-ranked power-play.

Gophers in the NCAA Tournament
Minnesota made its 10th-straight and 15th overall appearance in the NCAA postseason last year. The Gophers saw their streak of NCAA title game appearances come to an end at five but made the program's sixth-straight and 13th overall appearance at the Frozen Four. Since 2011-12, the Gophers are 15-2-0 in NCAA games. Minnesota owns an all-time record of 24-10-1 in NCAA tournament games since 2000-01 as well.

WCHA Final Faceoff, NCAA Frozen Four Return to Ridder Arena
Minnesota will once again serve as host of the WCHA Final Faceoff in 2017-18, marking the 11th time the league's postseason tournament has been held at Ridder Arena. The NCAA Women's Frozen Four also returns to Ridder Arena this season, marking the fourth time the national championship will be played on the Gophers' home ice. Ridder Arena hosted the NCAA Women's Frozen Four in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

Quest for Eighth National Title in 2017-18
Despite falling short of a third-straight national title in 2017, Minnesota has still won four of the last six national championships and has seven national titles overall (2000, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016). The program looks for a historic eighth title national crown in 2017-18.

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