NO. 6 UMD WILL TAKE AIM AT NO. 1 WISCONSIN THIS WEEKEND TO OPEN AMSOIL ARENA
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Between them, they have won all five NCAA titles in the past five years, and eight of the possible 10 over the past decade. Regular postseason foes, the No. 6 University of Minnesota Duluth and the No. 1 University of Wisconsin will usher in a new era of Bulldog women’s hockey this weekend at AMSOIL Arena, the first game and series for UMD in its brand new digs. With a ceremonial puck drop Friday night featuring Bulldog legends Jenny Potter, Caroline Ouellette and Maria Rooth, both games, which will feature special edition black jerseys that will be auctioned off Friday and Saturday, are slated to start at 7:07 p.m.
UMD NOTES VS WISCONSIN
THE SERIES: The No. 6 Bulldogs (12-6-2, 10-6-2) lead the all-time series with the Badgers 26-20-9, and split their earlier series against Wisconsin in Madison Nov. 26-27.
Back in November, UMD split with then No. 1 Wisconsin in Madison with a 3-2 overtime loss on Nov. 26 and a 3-1 decision on Nov. 28.
UMD squandered a 2-0 lead against the Badgers in the Friday afternoon contest (Nov. 26), allowing the game-tying goal with a mere 25 seconds left in regulation to send the two squads into their 18th overtime contest. The early overtime exit overshadowed the solid play from senior goaltender Kim Martin, who made 35 saves, as well as goals from sophomore Pernilla Winberg and rookie forward Brienna Gillanders, who netted the fourth goal -- her fourth power-play tally at that -- of her young career.
Sunday, Nov. 28 was nothing short of a decisive win for UMD, who held the nation’s leading scoring team to a mere goal, while netting three of its own. Defenseman Jocleyne Larocque, Jessica Wong, and Katie Wilson all racked up goals Sunday, while Martin was again dashing in between the pipes with 25 saves.
UMD and Wisconsin have played 18 overtime games in the past decade, and the Bulldogs are 5-4-9 in those games. The nine ties UMD shares with the Badgers is the most it owns with any other program in all of the NCAA. In 55 all-time meetings, UMD has played only one NCAA team more -- Minnesota. The Bulldogs have played the Gophers 56 times prior to this weekend. Despite the 18 overtimes, the two teams have only gone into a shootout seven times.
LAST TIME OUT: UMD managed to earn just one point over the weekend against Minnesota, earning a 2-2 tie Friday night before dropping the shootout, only to be held scoreless on Saturday 3-0. The loss snapped a seven-game unbeaten streak the Bulldogs had against Minnesota, dating back to Feb. 5, 2010. UMD battled from behind to a 2-2 tie against the Gophers Friday night at Ridder Arena, then surrendered the extra WCHA point in the league-mandated shootout. The Bulldogs are now 0-1-2 in overtime games this season, and 0-2 in league shootouts. Jennifer Harss picked up the tie for UMD -- Harss is now 5-2-1 against Minnesota, and 5-0-1 in her last six skates against the Gophers.
Saturday’s 3-0 setback was the second shutout the Bulldogs have suffered so far this season, and the second game in a row UMD found themselves outshot in a contest. The Bulldogs were a lowly 0-of-8 on the power-play -- UMD has been unable to score a goal with an extra skater in three of its last four games, now having gone just 2-of-29 on the power-play over those four outings.
NOTES FROM THE MINNESOTA SERIES: The Bulldogs are now 23-27-6 all-time against Minnesota, and and 4-1-1 in their last six outings against the Gophers.
--UMD was outshot 82-62 in the series, the first series the Bulldogs have not outshot their opponent this year. Friday also marked the first game all season UMD had been outshot.
--Minnesota’s 3-0 shutout win on Saturday was the first clean-sheet by an opposing team against UMD on the road since the Gophers -- again with Nora Raty -- did it on Oct. 17, 2009 (a 4-0 win for Minnesota).
--With last Saturday’s loss, UMD owns six WCHA losses for a third consecutive season. In fact, the Bulldogs have suffered six setbacks in league play in four of their last five seasons, and yet have twice still managed to win the WCHA Regular season, WCHA Playoff, and NCAA titles in both 2010 and 2008.
-The Bulldogs were 2-of-15 on the power-play; UMD has been unable to score a goal with an extra skater in three of its last four games, now having gone just 2-of-29 on the power-play over those four outings.
--UMD has won just one game in its last last four overall skates, going 1-2-1 over that time. After reeling off six-straight victories between Oct. 16-Oct. 30, the Bulldogs are 5-5-2 for a .500 overall record.
--All four Bulldog players who had scoring streaks intact prior to the Minnesota series were held scoreless in both games, with the exception of sophomore forward Pernilla Winberg, who had an assist in last Friday’s skate.
Junior Haley Irwin, who was held scoreless in only her second and third games on the year, was also held scoreless in the first back-to-back games of the season. Irwin had an eight-game scoring streak prior to last Friday’s contest, and had run up 24 points (9g, 15a) in those eight outings.
While the Gophers snapped Irwin’s streak, however, they also helped Laura Fridfinnson break her career-tying long six game scoreless streak. Fridfinnson, the 11th highest scoring player in UMD history, picked up an assist in last Friday night’s draw. The converted defenseman has two assists in her last 15 games.
--Rookie Brienna Gillanders, who currently ranks No. 3 in the nation with six power-play tallies, is the eighth UMD freshman to have ever scored six power-play goals. WIth 11 total points and all six of her scores coming with the extra skater, Gillanders joins present teammates Winberg (seven) and Fridfinnson (eight) who are the only currently rostered players who notched six or more power-play goals as rookies.
--Saturday’s start in net on the ice of Ridder Arena was senior goaltender Kim Martin’s first since Oct. 27, 2007.
RANK AND FILE: The Bulldogs are ranked No. 6 in this week’s USCHO.com’s poll, while the Badgers are sitting at No. 1. In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine’s Division I Women’s Hockey Poll, UMD is ranked No. 1, while Wisconsin is No. 1. In the all important PairWise ranking, the Bulldogs are currently sitting at No. 7, while the Badgers are again at No. 1.
AMSOIL ARENA’S AWAKENING: After 12 years of playing in the most successful arena in women’s NCAA hockey, the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC)the Bulldogs will start 2011 in the confines of the new, $80 million AMSOIL Arena Friday night against the Badgers.
AMSOIL has an ice surface of 85’ x 200’ compared to the DECC’s ice of 85’ x 190’. With state-of-the-art men’s and women’s locker rooms, weight room, hydrotherapy room, plyometrics area, video room, classroom and coaching offices, AMSOIL Arena also boasts a 15’ x 20’ scoreboard with video display.
UMD played its first game in the DECC back on Oct. 15, 1999, an exhibition skate against the Finnish National Team that favored the Fins 4-1.
SPECIAL EVENTS SURROUNDING THIS WEEKEND’S SERIES: In honor of UMD’s first game in AMSOIL Arena, there will be some special one-time events happening Friday night.
Prior to Friday’s game, there will be a red carpet ceremony honoring three outstanding Bulldog alumni, including Jenny Potter, Caroline Ouellette and Maria Rooth, who will do a ceremonial first puck drop to open AMSOIL.
UMD is hosting a special alumni reunion this weekend for all of the program’s first 12 seasons, so prior to Friday’s game and throughout it, there will be a special suite for all alumni to gather.
The Bulldogs will also play in a special edition black game jersey both nights. The jerseys will be auctioned during both Friday and Saturday’s games, and the auction will end at the start of the third period on Saturday. The jerseys will be hand delivered by the players themselves after the game.
BADGER BAITERS: No two players have had more success against Wisconsin offensively than senior forward Elin Holmlov and junior Haley Irwin. In four seasons, Holmlov has racked up four goals and nine assists for 13 points, while Irwin has picked up 13 points (5g, 8a) in 14 skates against the Badgers.
Senior and current defenseman convert Laura Fridfinnson has compiled 11 career points against Wisconsin, with six goals and five assists, while sophomore forward Pernilla Winberg has picked up seven points in six games (2g, 5a). Jessica Wong, another blueliner convert, has recorded three goals and three assists for six points in five contests against the Badgers.
POLL POSITION: Despite the fact that UMD has won two titles in the past three years, only Wisconsin has owned the No. 1 ranking at the time the two teams have played during the regular season over the past three and a half years.
The Bulldogs are 2-3-2 since the 2007-08 season when the Badgers are ranked No. 1 in the regular season. Over that time, UMD was 1-0-1 at the DECC and 1-2-1 at the Kohl Center. In all, the two powerhouses have met seven times in the past four years when Wisconsin owned the top spot.
SOMETHING HAS GOT TO GIVE: While Wisconsin enters this weekend’s series with the second highest scoring offense in the nation averaging a blistering 5.50 goals a game, the Bulldogs own the NCAA’s third stingiest defense, giving up just an average of 1.60 goals a game.
The Badgers have scored 132 goals in 24 games compared to 70 tallies in 20 games for the Bulldogs, but Wisconsin has allowed 42 goals against to UMD’s 32. The Bulldogs also have the benefit of senior netminder Kim Martin, who currently ranks No. 3 in the NCAA with a .943 saves percentage and fifth in the nation with a 1.46 goals against average.
Both UMD and Wisconsin have scored more goals in the second period, with the Bulldogs having net 28 of their 70 in that stanza, while the Badgers have netted 45 of their 132. Allowing a league-low 32 goals, UMD has been scored on twice as often in the second period than either the first or third, giving up 16 tallies, while Wisconsin has allowed 21 of its 42 goals in the second stanza as well.
A LOT ON THE LINE: Both UMD, who won national titles in 2008 and 2010 and Wisconsin, which won national crowns in 2006, 2007 and 2009, are in contention to win another WCHA trophy, but with 10 straight wins, the Badgers currently own the edge in that battle. Wisconsin is 16-2-0 in WCHA play and has earned 49 points, 13 points ahead of second place Minnesota and 16 better than UMD with 10 league games with 30 points up for grabs for both teams remaining down the stretch in the league race.
UMD has won the WCHA regular season title four times (2010, 2008, 2002 and 2001), while Wisconsin has nabbed the league’s regular season trophy twice, in 2005-06, 2006-07.
LAROCQUE’S CLIMB TO THE TOP: Senior blueliner Jocelyne Larocque is now tied as the all-time scoring defenseman in UMD’s 12 year history.
The native of Ste. Anne, Manitoba is currently sitting at 91 career points (16g, 75 assists), tying Krista McArthur’s UMD record of 91 points (24g, 67a) set between 2002-06 over 115 skates. Larocque -- who missed 22 games last season centralized with Team Canada -- has skated in just 113 career games prior to this weekend. Already holding the most career assists by a defenseman at UMD, Larocque is also in the No. 8 slot among all Bulldog players in career assists with her 75 helpers.
Currently with 15 points (5g, 10a) in 18 skates this season, Larocque could make a push to become the only defenseman in UMD history to reach 100 career points.
MARTIN’S WCHA MARK: While senior goaltender Kim Martin is sitting at 62 career wins -- just two shy of tying the UMD record of 65 currently held by Riitta Schaublin -- she is also climbing the all-time ranks of the WCHA.
Martin currently sits No. 10 in the league for games played with 93 and No. 12 in minutes played (5124:06). The Stockholm, Sweden native’s 62 wins ranks her fifth all-time among WCHA goaltenders (Schaublin is sitting at fourth with 65). Ranked ninth in saves with 2153, she also owns 14 career shutouts -- the seventh most by any goaltender in league history, and just three clean-sheets behind Schaublin’s 17 shutouts, which ranks her fourth all-time.
BULLDOG NOTES: Kim Martin isn’t the only UMD player moving up the WCHA all-time lists...Senior forward Elin Holmlov, currently has 89 career assists, ranking her 13th all-time among former WCHA greats. Senior blueliner Jocelyne Larocque, who is tied for the top-spot already as UMD’s all-time leading scorer from the backline with 91 points, ranks seventh among the WCHA’s all-time scoring defensemen...Junior forward Haley Irwin leads the Bulldogs with a plus/minus rating of +27, followed by Holmlov at +25 and Larocque with +24...UMD was 8-2-0 at the DECC in the first half of the season, and have not played a game in Duluth since Dec. 11...The Bulldogs are just .500 -- 4-4-2 away from home...UMD is a mere 1-of-5 during shootout attempts, while Bulldog opponents have now gone 3-2 against the Maroon and Gold...Rookie Brienna Gillanders leads UMD with a 23.1 shot percentage, having scored 6 power-play tallies on 26 shots...Irwin has the most shots so far this season, with 145, having netted 17 goals in 18 skates.
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