Minnesota Golden Gophers vs
Friday, October 20 at 3:37 p.m.
After earning a weekend sweep in their first road series of the season, the Gopher Women's Hockey team is traveling north again, heading to AMSOIL Arena for a pair of games against the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. The teams will play a Friday-Saturday to matinee series, October 20 and 21, with both games scheduled to start at 3:37 p.m.
Last season against Minnesota Duluth – The rivalry between the Gophers and Bulldogs was in full effect in 2016-2017, with the teams squaring off six times. Each team won twice in the regular season, taking both games on their home ice; the Gophers won 4-3 and 3-2 (OT) at Ridder Arena last October, and UMD swept the series in Duluth in January, 3-2 and 5-3. There was no home-ice advantage, though, when the squads met up twice in the playoffs; the Bulldogs won their WCHA semifinal matchup at Ridder, 2-1 in double OT, but the Gophers ended UMD's season with a 1-0 NCAA Quarterfinal victory at AMSOIL Arena.
Sarah Potomak recorded a point in each of the six games against UMD, tallying 5 goals and 4 assists. Kelly Pannek added 3 goals and 5 assists. Lara Stalder led the Bulldogs against Minnesota, with 6 goals and 5 assists, while Ashleigh Brykaliuk and Katherine McGovern each recorded 2 goals and 3 assists. In net, Sidney Peters posted a .910 save percentage and 2.29 goals-against average for the Gophers, while Maddie Rooney had a .940 save percentage and 2.13 GAA for UMD.
Analyzing the Bulldogs – After five-straight seasons finishing 4th or lower in the WCHA standings (2011-12 through 2015-16), Minnesota Duluth moved back into 3rd in 2016-17 with a 19-5-4-1 conference record. They also went 3-0-1 in regular-season non-conference play. After sweeping St. Cloud State in the conference quarterfinals, they beat the Gophers in the semifinal before losing the Wisconsin, 4-1, in the title game. Their loss to Minnesota in the NCAA Quarterfinal gave them a final 25-7-5 overall record. Through six games this season, UMD is 2-4-0 (more on that momentarily).
Like the Gophers, the Bulldogs are suffering from the loss of much of their scoring from last year, as their six seniors accounted for 81 of their 110 goals. Sophomore Sydney Brodt (#14) was the top scorer last year among this year's players, recording 8 goals and 13 assists; she has 2 goals and 4 assists in early action this year. Ryleigh Houston (#28) has joined the Bulldogs as a sophomore transfer after scoring 8 goals and 18 assists with North Dakota last year. Meanwhile, Naomi Rogge (#9) has started her freshman season with 3 goals and 2 assists.
Minnesota Duluth also had to replace a key player in goal, as Maddie Rooney is training with the U.S. National Team this year. Senior transfer Jessica Convery (#30) joined the Bulldogs after 3 seasons at Mercyhurst, and appears to be UMD's primary starter; she's 2-3-0 in 5 starts as a Bulldog, and 13-17-1 in her career with a 2.16 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. Convery is backed up by sophomore Catherine Johnson (#31), who made her first career start two weekends ago, a 4-1 loss at Boston College; including two relief appearances last year, she has played a total of 87 minutes, stopping 35 of 39 shots faced.
Recent action for Minnesota Duluth – After earning a sweep at home against Penn State, then being swept on the road at Boston College, the Bulldogs went on the road again to play Ohio State. OSU goaltender Kassidy Sauve stoned UMD with 35 saves in the opener, and Maddy Field and Julianna Iafallo scored for a 2-0 Buckeye victory. The Bulldogs had a 2-1 lead in the rematch on goals by Sydney Brodt and Naomi Rogge, but Iafallo, Field, and Jacyn Reeves scored to put the Buckeyes up 4-2 en route to a 4-3 win. Rogge (UMD) and Field (OSU) each had two goals and an assist in the series. Sauve made another 31 saves in the second game, for 66 on the weekend.
Gophers earn all-time program win #600, series sweep in Bemidji – Minnesota recorded their first series sweep of the 2017-2018 season, defeating the Bemidji State Beavers 3-1 and 4-3 (OT) on the road.
Grace Zumwinkle scored her 4th power-play goal of the season 38 seconds into the second period of Friday's game, and Cara Piazza doubled the Gopher lead 2:37 into the third stanza. Abby Halluska cut the Beavers' deficit to 2-1 with a power play goal with 7:06 remaining, but Minnesota's defense held tight as Sidney Peters made 27 saves and Taylor Wente tacked on an empty-net goal late.
The Gophers and Beavers traded one-goal leads in Saturday's rematch. Bemidji State's Summer Thibodeau opened the scoring, but Nicole Schammel knotted the score, 1-1, with only 3 seconds left in the first period. Minnesota led twice on goals by Patti Marshall and Caitlin Reilly, but the Beavers erased both deficits when Mak Langei and Emma Terres each lit the lamp. The game went to overtime, where a shot from the left wall by Sydney Baldwin beat BSU goaltender Lauren Bench at 1:04 of the extra period for the Gopher win. Peters made another 20 saves for Minnesota. The victory was the 600th in Gopher Women's Hockey program history, split between head coaches Laura Halldorson (278 wins) and Brad Frost (322).
Baldwin earns conference, national honors – In addition to Saturday's overtime goal, senior Sydney Baldwin dished out 3 assists in the series against Bemidji State for a 4-point weekend. She was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week (powered by GoodWood Hockey), and also earned the #3 star in the NCAA's Women's Hockey 3 Stars of the Week. We add our congratulations to Sydney as well!!
“Gold Out” – October 28 – Gopher Women's Hockey fans are highly encouraged to wear gold apparel for the first game of the home series against Wisconsin on Saturday, October 28. Game time is set for 4:07 p.m.
GWH Alumni Day – October 29 – Join us early at Ridder Arena on Sunday, October 29, for the annual GWH Alumni Game at 11 a.m. We hope to see many of you there for this fun event. The varsity team faces Wisconsin in the second game of their series at 3:07 p.m.
Around the WCHA...
Recent action – Trailing 2-1 entering the third period on Friday, Wisconsin got goals from Presley Norby and Sophia Shafer to defeat Minnesota State, 3-2; the Badgers went on to complete the series sweep with a 3-1 victory over the Mavericks on Saturday. Alyssa Erickson scored both St. Cloud State goals on Friday and assisted on Hallie Theodosopoulos' gamewinner on Saturday as the Huskies recorded a pair of 2-1 come-from-behind wins in exhibition over the Minnesota Whitecaps.
Upcoming games – Ohio State makes its second trip to the state of Minnesota, traveling to St. Cloud State; like the Gophers and Bulldogs, they will play a pair of afternoon games on Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, Wisconsin hosts two evening games against Bemidji State, also on Friday and Saturday. Minnesota State is idle.