Minnesota Golden Gophers vs.
Saturday, October 28 at 4:07 p.m.
After four consecutive wins on the road, the Gopher Women's Hockey team returns to Ridder Arena for the Border Battle series against Wisconsin this Saturday and Sunday, October 28 & 29.
TIME CHANGE REMINDER – While Saturday's game starts at 4:07 p.m. as originally scheduled, Sunday's game has been pushed back to a 5:07 p.m. puck drop to allow for live television coverage on Big Ten Network.
Last season against Wisconsin – The Gophers and Badgers split their four-game regular-season series last year. Minnesota took the opening game in Madison, 2-0, on a pair of goals by Kate Schipper and 37 saves from Sidney Peters; however, Wisconsin responded with an 8-2 rout the next night, as Sarah Nurse led the Badgers with a hat trick plus an assist. With one win apiece head-to-head, the teams played to a pair of ties in their February series in Minneapolis, 1-1 and 0-0, with each team winning one of the shootouts; Peters made a combined 68 saves in the two games, while UW goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens stopped 69 shots.
Analyzing the Badgers – After winning the 2016-2017 WCHA regular-season and playoff championships, Wisconsin advanced through the NCAA playoffs to the National Championship Game, but fell 3-0 to Clarkson. That said, they've picked up where they left off, opening this season with a 10-0-0 record.
Between the graduations of Sarah Nurse & Sydney McKibbon, and Annie Pankowski & Emily Clark being centralized with their national teams (Pankowski for the U.S. and Clark for Canada), the Badgers were another WCHA team to lose more than half of their scoring from the prior season. However, they've already scored 38 goals in their 10 games this year. One player back for Wisconsin is 2017 WCHA Rookie of the Year Abby Roque (#18), who had 28 points (8G, 20A) last season and already has half that – 14 points on 4 goals and 10 assists – to lead the team this year. The Badgers also added senior Claudia Kepler (#24) to their active roster after she redshirted last year due to in-conference transfer rules; Kepler has a team-high 8 goals plus 3 assists. Presley Norby (#6) has also recorded 11 points (3G, 8A) so far.
Wisconsin also had to replace the NCAA record-holder for career shutouts, goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens. They brought in another transfer, former UND Fighting Hawk Kristen Campbell. Campbell (#35), a sophomore, has played all 10 games this season for the Badgers, yielding only 9 goals on 177 shots faced for a .949 save percentage, a 0.90 goals-against average, and 3 shutouts. Fellow sophomore Nikki Cece (#29) is Campbell's primary backup; she was 4-1-0 in 5 starts as a freshman last season, stopping 78 of 86 shots.
Recent action for Wisconsin – Hosting Bemidji State in Madison, the Badgers trailed the Beavers 1-0 after the opening period on Friday night. However, Wisconsin netted 10 of the next 11 goals over the remaining 5 periods, sweeping the series with a pair of 5-1 victories. Claudia Kepler led the Badgers with 3 goals in the series, and Abby Roque and Mikaela Gardner each had a goal and two assists.
Gophers earn second road sweep, defeating UMD – Going on the road for the second-straight weekend, Minnesota came away with two more wins, defeating Minnesota Duluth 4-1 and 2-1. Caitlin Reilly and Cara Piazza opened the scoring in the first period on Friday; after UMD's cut the Gopher lead to 2-1 early in the 3rd stanza, Reilly reestablished a two-goal advantage just 28 seconds later on a breakaway, and Taylor Wente added an insurance goal with 4:27 to play. Sidney Peters made 35 saves for the win. On Saturday, the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead after a first-period power-play goal by Ashton Bell and held that lead into the third stanza, but Sophie Skarzynski knotted the score 1-1 at the 4:45 mark of the frame, and Reilly netted the gamewinner with 3:46 remaining. Alex Gulstene got the start and the victory with 26 saves. Reilly added an assist for a 4-point series, and Jackie Pieper recorded her first point as a Gopher, assisting on Skarzynski's goal.
Marshall earns weekly conference honor – Sophomore defender Patti Marshall was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, powered By GoodWood Hockey, following her performance in Duluth. Marshall dished out 3 assists, including recording helpers on both Gopher goals in Saturday's game. She also had 4 shot blocks and a league-leading +5 rating for the weekend. It's Marshall's first weekly award. Congratulations, Patti!!
International update – USA-Canada game 2 in Boston tonight;
Online shirt sales to support families of Minnesotan Olympians
Game 1: USA 5, Canada 2 – Brianna Decker scored twice, and Hilary Knight, Annie Pankowski, and Alex Carpenter also lit the lamp as the U.S. Women's National Hockey Team defeated Canada in Quebec City this past Sunday afternoon in the opening contest of their six-game fall series. Minnesota Women's Hockey alumna Megan Bozek recorded a pair of assists in the contest. Maddie Rooney made 23 saves in net for the Americans.
Meghan Agosta and Jillian Saulnier scored for the Canadians. Ann-Renée Desbiens stopped 19 shots.
USA Hockey's recap of the game can be found here. Final stats and the recap from Hockey Canada can be found here.
USA vs. Canada, Game 2 tonight in Boston – The two teams play again tonight (Wednesday, October 25) at Boston University’s Agganis Arena, with game time scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. CT. The game is officially the first contest in Team USA's “The Time Is Now Tour” presented by Toyota, and will be shown live on NHL Network in the U.S. and TSN-2 in Canada. Live stats will be available on teamusa.usahockey.com.
The MN2PC Hockey online apparel store has been created to support the families of the Minnesotans expected to be on the 2018 USA Women's Olympic Hockey Team, including the Brandts, Steckleins, and Cameranesis, as they head to PyeongChang. A variety of t-shirts (short & long-sleeved) and sweatshirts are available for purchase at mn2pchockey.itemorder.com/sale, and special items have been created to support the Brandt family. As noted on the site, screenprinted t-shirts and sweatshirts can be customized with player names and numbers, though only for players who have exhausted their NCAA eligibility. The first order window will end this coming Sunday, November 5, at 11:59 p.m., and items should be delivered 2-3 weeks after that.
Special ticket offer for USA-Canada game on Dec. 3 at the X – Haven't ordered tickets yet for the USA vs. Canada game at the Xcel Energy Center on Sunday, December 3? The Minnesota Wild and the arena have created a special discount for adult tickets (ages 13+), making them available for $25 each (normally $28). Go to www.xcelenergycenter.com/women and use the promo code Friends. Youth tickets can also be purchased on the site for $15.50 each. There is a limit of 8 tickets per order with this promotion.
Around the WCHA...
Recent action – With an odd number of teams in the WCHA this year, the schedule featured only one other series this past weekend. Ohio State went on the road to St. Cloud State and shut out the Huskies twice, winning both games 4-0. Buckeye goaltender Kassidy Sauve made 26 saves in each game, Maddy Field was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week with 2 goals and 2 assists, and Emma Maltais earned the Rookie of the Week award with 2 goals and an assist.
Upcoming games – Four afternoon games will be played in the two other series in the conference, though they will occur on Friday and Saturday. St. Cloud State heads down to Mankato to play Minnesota State, while Bemidji State hosts Minnesota Duluth. Ohio State is idle.