Red-Hot Gophers, Buckeyes Set for Clash in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS — The No. 3/3 women’s hockey team the Golden Gophers (22-3-2) look to continue their perfection on home ice, while the No. 1/1 Ohio State Buckeyes travel to Ridder Arena. Friday puck delivery is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., Saturday puck delivery at 2:00 p.m. Both games are streamed on B1G+.

last time out
Minnesota extended its winning streak to 12 games with a road series sweep over No. 6 Minnesota Duluth last weekend. On Friday, Murphy Abbey released their fifth multi-goal game of the season and Skylar’s cousin stopped 31 shots in a 3-1 opening win. On Saturday, the Gophers struggled to a 4-3 win behind two goals Peyton hemp and 24 more saves from cousin. The Maroon and Gold won the regular season series against Minnesota Duluth, extending his season series winning streak to six years via UMD.

spying on the opposition
Top-ranked Ohio State (24-2-2) has Minnesota hot on their heels for second place in the WCHA. The Buckeyes have won 10 straight games with series sweeps over Cornell, Lindenwood, Wisconsin, St. Cloud State and Minnesota State. The Buckeyes travel to the Ridder Arena this season with a 13-1-0 record. The Scarlet and Grays rank second in the nation in goals per game (4.50), first in power play percentage (0.338), and third in win percentage (0.893). The Buckeyes are led by fifth-year forward Jennifer Gardiner (16-26a), fifth-year defenseman Sophie Jaques (19-18a) and forwards Paetyn Levis (18-14a) and Emma Maltais (5-27a). . Earlier this season, the Gophers picked up four points from six in Columbus in a battle between the nation’s top two teams. Minnesota leads the all-time streak 80-23-6.

High octane attack
After adding 7 more goals this past weekend, Minnesota continues to rank first in the nation in tackling goals per game (4.96). The Gophers have 134 goals in 27 games this season, including six goals or more in 9 different games this season. Fifth year striker Grace Zumwinkle (21) and Taylor Heiss (20) are ranked first and fourth in the nation by goals, respectively.

Special teams success
Minnesota’s special teams have clicked offensively with and without the extra skater advantage. The Gophers’ power play currently ranks second in the nation while averaging 27/90 (.300) power plays this season. Minnesota has scored on the power play in 18 of 27 games this season. The Maroon and Gold also rank second in the nation with 8 shorthanded goals. Taylor Heiss is tied with 3 SHG for second place in the nation this season.

Boreen’s point tear
Fifth year forward Abigail Boreen has been lighting the lamp at breakneck speed since the beginning of December. In her last 12 games, Boreen has scored 13 goals, including at least one goal in nine. The Somerset, Wisconsin native currently ranks fourth in the nation with .72 goals per game.

Race for the WCHA
Minnesota currently sits first in the WCHA regular-season rankings with a 19-1-2 record (59 points in 22 conference games). The ‘U’ is two points ahead of Ohio State (57 points in 22 games) in the Julianne Bye Cup race. Wisconsin (50 points in 22 conference games) and Minnesota Duluth (39 points in 22 conference games) rank third and fourth as the only other WCHA teams with a conference record over .500.

Achieving milestones on the horizon
Fifth year forward Taylor Heiss continues to climb the program ranks as she currently sits 7th in program history in points with 207 (87g-120a) in 161 career games. Heise is 12 points behind Kelly Stephens in sixth place all-time. Her 120 assists ranks sixth in program history, also twice behind Stephens for the next spot in the rankings. Grace Zumwinkle entered the top 10 in program history in career points (195) on Friday with two assists. The fifth-year forward has 105 career goals, behind Krissy Wendell in fourth with one goal and Amanda Kessel in third with three goals.

behind the bench
head coach Brad Frost is back for his 16th season as bench chief of Gopher Women’s Hockey. Under Frost’s stewardship, the program has posted a 464-96-37 record with four national titles and seven conference titles. Deputy Head Coach Natalie Darwitz is back in her fourth season, backed by an assistant coach jessica scottwho has served as the program’s director of operations for the past three seasons.

Aiming for the eighth national title
Minnesota has won seven national championships (2000, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016) and is seeking a historic eighth national title crown in 2022-23.

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