|Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-4-1, 8-3-1-0 WCHA) vs.
Bemidji State University Beavers (5-9-2, 3-6-1-1 WCHA)
Friday, December 1 at 6:07 p.m.
Saturday, December 2 at 4:07 p.m
Halfway through the WCHA portion of their schedule, the Gopher Women's Hockey team returns to Ridder Arena for its final four games of 2017. They will begin their second pass through the gauntlet of conference opponents with a series against the Bemidji State University Beavers. The action begins this Friday, December 1, at 6:07 p.m., and continues Saturday, December 2, at 4:07 p.m.
TRAFFIC ALERT x 2 – GWH fans are encouraged to allow extra travel time in coming to Ridder Arena on Friday, and to watch for additional vehicular and pedstrian traffic following Saturday's game as well, due to other sporting events on campus. The Gopher Men's Hockey team is hosting their Border Battle against Wisconsin at Mariucci Arena, and the Gopher Volleyball team is hosting 1st- and 2nd-round NCAA Tournament matches at Maturi Pavilion.
Last time against Bemidji State – Minnesota recorded its first series sweep of the 2017-2018 season when they defeated the Beavers 3-1 and 4-3 (OT) at the Sanford Center in mid-October. Grace Zumwinkle, Cara Piazza, and Taylor Wente scored for the Gophers in the opener, while Sydney Baldwin lit the lamp in overtime in the second game after earlier goals by Nicole Schammel, Patti Marshall, and Caitlin Reilly in a back-and-forth contest. Baldwin led all scorers, dishing out 3 assists to go with her goal, and Reilly also recorded a pair of helpers. Sidney Peters made 47 combined saves in the series. Mak Langei tallied a goal and an assist for the Beavers. In net for BSU, Erin Deters stopped 24 shots in the opener, and Lauren Bench made 22 saves in the rematch.
Analyzing the Beavers – Bemidji State's 5-9-2 record through 14 games has been punctuated by some streaky play, losing 7 games in a row before winning the next four, though they are 0-2-1 in their latest three contests. Their 3-6-1-1 record in WCHA play has them 5th in the conference standings.
Two players on opposite ends of their collegiate careers lead the Beavers in scoring, posting 11 points apiece. Senior Emma Terres (#17) has 5 goals and 6 assists, while freshman Clair DeGeorge (#26) has 3 goals and 8 assists. Sophomore Haley Mack (#19) is third in the scoring list with 9 points on 4 goals and 5 assists.
Between the pipes, senior Erin Deters (#30) has seen a majority of the action; she is 3-6-2 in 11 appearances (10 starts), with 3 shutouts, a 2.25 goals-against average, and a .920 save percentage. Freshman Lauren Bench (#35) is 1-3-0 (with one no-decision) in 5 starts, posting a 3.45 GAA and .885 save percentage. The Beavers' third goaltender, freshman Kerigan Dowhy (#33), won her only start and also made a relief appearance, stopping 35 of 37 shots in 73 minutes of action.
Last action for Bemidji State – BSU was idle this past weekend, but played a mid-week non-conference game against St. Cloud State on November 22, falling 4-0; Laura Kluge led the Huskies with a goal and two assists, and Emma Polusny earned a 26-save shutout. Prior to that, the Beavers hosted Ohio State two weekends ago, earning a 3-3 tie and winning the shootout (1-0 in 6 rounds), but dropping the rematch 5-4; Sylvia Marolt scored twice for Bemidji State, while Mak Langei added a goal and 2 assists.
Gophers earn another road sweep – Minnesota won another pair of road games, defeating Lindenwood 3-1 in their opener, then taking advantage of another overtime power play to get a 4-3 victory to complete the series sweep. The Lions took the initial lead Saturday on Hannah Alt's goal early in the second period, but Alex Woken lit the lamp twice to put the Gophers ahead at the intermission, and Olivia Knowles added an insurance goal early in the third stanza. Sophie Skarzynski assisted on all three tallies, and Sidney Peters made 20 saves. In the rematch, Sydney Baldwin and Cara Piazza put Minnesota up 2-0 after 20 minutes, but Lindenwood's Taylor Girard and Cierra Paisley knotted the score midway through the 2nd period. Knowles put the Gophers back up 3-2 just 1:44 later, but Girard was awared a penalty shot in the third period and converted to tie the score again, 3-3. However, a body-checking penalty on the Lions with 8.9 seconds remaining in regulation put Minnesota on the power play, and Knowles scored her 3rd goal of the weekend 50 seconds into overtime for the win. Skarzynski dished out another three assists, giving her a 6-point series; Woken recorded a pair of assists as well, and Alex Gulstene made 15 saves. LU goaltender Jolene deBruyn made a combined 85 saves in the series.
Skarzynski named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week – Following her 6-point performance on 6 assists in the series against Lindenwood, Gopher junior Sophie Skarzynski was named as the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week, powered by GoodWood Hockey. Skarzynski also posted a +3 rating and had 7 shots on goal in the series. For the season, she improved to 18 points – tied for the team lead – on 5 goals and 13 assists. The award is the first of her collegiate career, and the fifth weekly award earned by a Gopher this season. Congratulations, Sophie!!
Silent Auction – December 8 & 9 during Minnesota Duluth series
In addition to the Brunch with the Coaches, the Power Play Club's annual Silent Auction will be taking place during the Gophers' series against Minnesota Duluth on December 8 and 9. Come check out all the fabulous items up for bid along the south end of Ridder Arena, on the concourse behind sections 1 & 16. Bidding starts when the doors open for each game and runs through the 2nd intermission. Most items will be available only one day, with different items on Friday & Saturday, though a select few items will be up for bid both days. Winning bidders can pay for and pick up their items during the 3rd period and postgame each day.
Club Room closed during UMD series – Due to the Silent Auction, the Club Room will not be open before and during the Gopher games against Minnesota Duluth. We encourage PPC members to browse and bid on auction items throughout the weekend. The Club Room will reopen when play resumes in January.
International quick hits...
Morin, Skarupa added to USA training roster – USA Hockey announced Monday that Minnesota native & UMD alumna Sidney Morin and Boston College alumna Haley Skarupa will be joining the U.S. Women's National Team pre-Olympic training roster. The pair will join the 24 players already named to the centralized team, and the final 23-player Olympic roster will be announced on Monday, January 1.
USA and Canada play Sunday in St. Paul, next Tuesday in Winnipeg – USA and Canadian national teams will square off against each other twice in the next seven days, playing this Sunday, December 3 at the Xcel Energy Center here in St. Paul, followed by a rematch Tuesday, December 5, at Bell MTS Place (formerly the MTS Centre) in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Sunday's game starts at 3 p.m., and you can still purchase adult tickets for a $3 discount and youth tickets for half-price by going to xcelenergycenter.com/women and using the password Friends. Additionally, arrive at the Gate 1 entrance of the arena at 1:30 p.m. to attend a free Pre-Game Chalk Talk featuring some USA Women's Hockey alumni and hosted by KARE-11's Dave Schwartz (game ticket is required). The game will also be televised on NBC Sports Network.
Tickets for Tuesday night's game in Winnipeg are also still on sale by going to Ticketmaster.ca, though only limited upper-deck seats remain. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. NHL Network will carry television coverage of this game.
Around the WCHA
Recent action – Last Friday featured a couple of upsets; Northeastern's Tori Sullivan scored a goal and an assist and goaltender Aerin Frankel made 39 saves to defeat Wisconsin, 3-2, while four different players scored for Minnesota Duluth in a 4-1 victory over Colgate. Meanwhile, Boston University topped Minnesota State 5-2 behind a hat trick from Victoria Bach. Game pairings switched around on Saturday; Wisconsin knocked off BU by a 4-2 score, Denisa Křížová recorded a hat trick for Northeastern in their 6-1 win over Minnesota State, and UMD claimed the Windjammer Classic championship with a 2-1 win over Vermont on Emma Yanko's late goal. In the other two-game series being played, Tatum Skaggs netted a hat trick as Ohio State defeated Robert Morris in their opener, 7-3, but the Colonials' Brittany Howard scored twice in the rematch, including the overtime power-play gamewinner, to split the series with a 3-2 victory.
Upcoming games – The three other series involving WCHA teams also feature Friday evening and Saturday afternoon games. In conference action, St. Cloud State heads east to Columbus to face Ohio State, and Wisconsin hosts Minnesota Duluth. Meanwhile, Minnesota State hosts an exhibition series against the Minnesota Whitecaps.