hockey icon   Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-4-1, 6-3-1-0 WCHA) vs
Mercyhurst University Lakers (2-6-2, 2-1-1 CHA)
Friday, November 10 at 3:00 p.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. CT
Saturday, November 11 at 2:00 p.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. CT
Mercyhurst Ice Center, Erie, PA

 

After a third-successful road trip culminating in a series sweep, the Gopher Women's Hockey team remains on the road, flying out to Erie, Pennsylvania, for a non-conference match-up against the Mercyhurst University Lakers.  The two teams will play a matinee series at the Merchyhurst Ice Center, starting on Friday afternoon, Nov. 10, at 3:00 p.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. CT, and continuing Saturday afternoon, Nov. 11 at 2:00 p.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. CT.

Last time against Mercyhurst –  The Gophers and Lakers have not faced each other since the semifinals of the 2009 NCAA Frozen Four.  After an opening power-play tally by Gigi Marvin, the Lakers scored the next 5 goals, including two by Meghan Agosta.  Trailing 5-1 entering the third period, Minnesota's specialty teams cut into the deficit; Jen Schoullis scored on a power play, Marvin recorded her 2nd goal of the game during 4-on-4 action, and Monique Lamoureux scored on a 6-on-3 power play with the extra attacker.  However, the Gophers ran out of time before they could find the equalizer; Lakers goaltender Hillary Pattenden made 33 saves, and Mercyhurst defeated Minnesota, 5-4.

<Mercyhurst University logo

Analyzing the Lakers – After winning numerous consecutive College Hockey America regular-season championships, Mercyhurst finished the 2016-2017 season third in the conference with an 11-8-1 record and 15-17-2 overall.  They were upset by Lindenwood, 3-2, in the single-game conference quarterfinals.  They've started this season with a 2-6-2 overall mark, going 2-1-1 in four conference games but 0-5-1 so far against non-conference competition.

Junior forward Vilma Tanskanen (#14), a transfer from North Dakota, leads the Lakers with 5 goals, and also has an assist.  Freshman Alexa Vasko (#10) also has 6 points, all coming on assists.  Senior Brooke Hartwick (#27), last season's team leader in all three scoring categories (16G, 18A, 34 pts) has 2 goals and 3 assists so far this year, while freshman Summer-Rae Dobson (#7) has also recorded 5 points on 3 goals and 2 assists.

Between the pipes, junior Sarah McDonnell (#30) has reemerged as the primary goaltender; after starting 28 games her freshman season, she only had 14 starts as a sophomore, but she has gotten the nod for 6 of Mercyhurst's 10 contests this year.  For her career, she has a 24-17-8 record with 6 shutouts (1-3-2 this year), a .907 save percentage, and 2.10 goals-against average.  Redshirt freshman Kennedy Blair (#29), another transfer from North Dakota, is 1-3-0 in the Lakers' other four games, yielding 11 goals on 92 shots for an .880 save percentage and 3.28 GAA.

Recent action for Mercyhurst  – Facing in-state conference rival Penn State on the road, the Lakers came away with a 3-1 win and a 1-1 tie. Vilma Tanskanen and Summer-Rae Dobson put Mercyhurst ahead 2-0 in the opening game; Penn State's Brooke Madsen scored on the power play to cut the lead to 2-1, but Tanskanen tacked on the insurance goal for the victory.  The Nittany Lions took a 1-0 second-period lead in Saturday's rematch on a goal by Christi Vetter, but Lakers junior Molly Blasen netted her first goal of the season with 5:08 remaining in regulation to knot the score.  Sarah McDonnell made a combined 41 saves in the two games.

University of Minnesota logo

Gophers remain perfect on road, sweeping Minnesota State – Minnesota lit the lamp 11 times, and 15 different players found the score sheet as they defeated Minnesota State 6-1 and 5-2 in Mankato.  After a scoreless first period on Friday night, the Gophers erupted for four goals in period two as Grace Zumwinkle, Cara Piazza, Sydney Baldwin (PP) and Nicole Schammel (PP) all found the back of the net.  Sierra Smith extended the lead to 5-0 with her first collegiate goal 5 1/2 minutes into the third period.  MSU's Corbin Boyd broke up the shutout bid with 2:15 to play, but Kippen Keller responded just 11 seconds later, and Sydney Peters made 23 saves for the win.  In the rematch, Piazza opened the scoring at 4:45 of the first period, but a power-play goal by Lindsay Coleman six minutes later drew the Mavericks even at 1-1.  However, Taylor Wente lit the lamp with 18 seconds left in the stanza and Lindsay Agnew tallied in the second period to put the Gophers ahead 3-1.  MSU closed within one when a loose puck deflected into the Gopher net, but Schammel and Sophie Skarzynski added insurance goals to complete the sweep.  Alex Gulstene stopped 19 shots.  Zumwinkle had a 5-point weekend, dishing out 4 assists to go with her goal, while Piazza recorded two assists to accompany her two goals.

2017 Four Nations Cup tournament
Tuesday through Sunday, November 7-12
Preliminary games at Florida Hospital Center Ice, Wesley Chapel, FL
Sunday's medal games at AMALIE Arena, Tampa, FL

The 2017 edition of the annual Four Nations Cup international women's ice hockey tournament begins today (Tuesday, November 7) and runs through Sunday (Nov. 12).  This year's tournament is hosted by USA Hockey in the Tampa, Florida, area, starting with three days of round-robin play at Florida Hospital Center Ice arena in the suburb of Wesley Chapel.  The top two teams will meet again for the gold medal on Sunday, November 12, while the bottom two teams will play for 3rd place; those games will take place at AMALIE Arena in Tampa.

Eleven (11) with Gopher ties at the tournament – We remind Gopher fans that there are 11 past, present, and future Gophers participating with their national teams in the tournament.  The U.S. National Team features current Gopher Kelly Pannek and six alumni: Megan Bozek, Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Amanda Kessel, Gigi Marvin, and Lee Stecklein.  The Potomak sisters – Sarah and Amy – are current members of the Canadian National Team, while Mira Jalosuo and Noora Räty are playing on the Finnish National Team.  We send best wishes to all eleven!

Recent Four Nations Cup history – The Americans are two-time defending Cup tournament champions, winning in 2015 and 2016.  However, when the tournament was last held in the U.S. in 2013, Finland earned an upset victory over the Americans in round-robin play, eliminating Team USA from title contention; Canada defeated Finland in the championship game and the U.S. topped Sweden in the 3rd-place game.

In last year's tournament in Finland, Team USA fell to Canada, 3-2, in their opening game, but shutout Sweden 6-0 and Finland 4-0 to advance to a rematch with the Canadians for the title.  Canada had reached the championship game with a 3-0 win over Finland and a 3-1 victory against Sweden.  In the gold-medal game, the Americans erased a 1-0 deficit early on, then later scored three-straight third-period goals to turn a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 lead, eventually winning 5-3; Hilary Knight (USA) and Marie-Philip Poulin (CAN) each lit the lamp twice, while Brianna Decker (USA) led all scorers with 3 points on a goal and two assists.  Meanwhile, Finland defeated Sweden 2-1 in preliminary-round play, then repeated it in the third-place game behind 19 saves from Noora Räty. 

Game schedule

Tuesday, November 7 at Florida Hospital Center Ice

  • Canada vs. Sweden – 3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT
  • USA vs. Finland – 7:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. CT

Wednesday, November 8 at Florida Hospital Center Ice

  • Finland vs. Sweden – 3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT
  • USA vs. Canada – 7:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. CT

Friday, November 10 at Florida Hospital Center Ice

  • Canada vs. Finland – 3:00 p.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. CT
  • USA vs. Sweden – 6:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. CT

Sunday, November 12 at AMALIE Arena

  • 3rd Place Game – Noon ET / 11:00 a.m. CT
  • Championship Game – 3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT

Tournament coverage – Subscription web service HockeyTV.com will be streaming all eight games of the tournament.  A one-month subscription plan is $29.99 per month (with automatic renewal until cancelled).

We encourage you to follow @USAHockey and @HC_Women on Twitter for Team USA and Canada live score updates. We'll also be sharing game recaps on our Twitter and Facebook accounts to keep you up-to-date will all the game results.

Pre-tournament game recaps – Per a game report from Team Finland, they were defeated by Team USA in a pre-tournament exibition 5-0 last Wednesday night (Nov. 2).  The unofficial game report indicates that Megan Bozek recorded a goal and an assist, Amanda Kessel also lit the lamp, and Dani Cameranesi and Kelly Pannek each had an assist for the Americans.  In another exhibition on Sunday evening (Nov. 5), Susanna Tapani gave Finland an early 1-0 lead over Canada, but the Canadians responded with goals from five different players for a 5-1 win.

WCHA logo

Around the WCHA

Recent action – The other two weekend series in the WCHA also featured sweeps.  Katerina Mrázová scored in overtime to give Minnesota Duluth a 3-2 victory over St. Cloud State on Friday; the Bulldogs knocked off the Huskies 4-2 victory on Saturday, and Ashton Bell had two goals and an assist in the series for UMD.  Alexis Mauermann had a 3-goal, one-assist weekend and Kristen Campbell stopped a combined 35 of 36 shots as Wisconsin swept Ohio State, 7-0 and 3-1; despite the goals against, Kassidy Sauve still made 82 saves for the Buckeyes.  Action continued last night as Minnesota Duluth faced Bemidji State in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Women's Face-off Classic in Cambridge, and the Beavers came out on the winning end, 3-2; Emma Terres assisted on the game's opening goal and scored twice in the second period, including the gamewinner that broke a 2-2 deadlock.

Upcoming games – Wisconsin also plays in a non-conference road series featuring Friday and Saturday afternoon games; they head to Ithica, NY to face Cornell.  Two WCHA conference series will both have Friday evening and Saturday afternoon games; Minnesota State heads to Columbus to play Ohio State, while St. Cloud State hosts Bemidji State.  Minnesota Duluth is idle.