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BULLDOGS WILL BATTLE WISCONSIN IN WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF SEMIFINAL FRIDAY AT AMSOIL
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The last time another NCAA team not named the University of Minnesota Duluth or the University of Wisconsin hoisted the NCAA trophy, social media was friendly banter between reporters. With a stronghold on the NCAA’s title game since 2006, the Bulldogs and Badgers are no strangers to postseason meetings, with 10 encounters over the past 13 years, including six in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. UMD and Wisconsin will hit the ice of AMSOIL Arena Friday afternoon at 4:37 p.m. in the first semifinal game of the 2012 WCHA Final Face-Off. The winner will play for the WCHA’s Final Face-Off championship Saturday at 7:07 p.m. at AMSOIL.
THE SERIES: UMD (20-13-1) is 26-26-10 against Wisconsin (31-3-2) in 62 all-time meetings. For the first time in program history, the Bulldogs were held winless by a Badger squad during the regular season, going 0-4. Two games were decided by one goal, including an overtime game in their last skate on Jan. 21, a 4-3 victory for Wisconsin. The Bulldogs are 13-10-5 all-time in Duluth against the Badgers, and 6-4-2 over the past five seasons at home. In four meetings inside AMSOIL, UMD is winless against Wisconsin, owning a record of 0-3-1. The Bulldogs first-ever game in AMSOIL was against the Badgers last season on Jan. 21, a 4-1 loss for UMD.
UMD last bounced Wisconsin on Nov. 27, 2010, a 3-1 win at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisc. UMD is 0-6-1 in a seven skate skid against UW since then.
The scores from the last Badger-Bulldog series on Jan. 20-21 in Madison did not reflect the parity of the series. UMD came up empty on Jan. 20, held scoreless in a 2-0 loss to UW, but outshot the Badgers heavily 36-23. In the following game on Jan. 2, the Bulldogs took Wisconsin into overtime before the Badgers were able to escape with a 4-3 win. Three different players -- including two freshmen -- scored goals in that skate for UMD: Junior blueliner Jessica Wong, rookie forward Zoe Hickel and rookie defenseman Tea Villila.
In the Oct. 21-22 series at AMSOIL, UMD suffered a 4-3 late game setback on Oct. 21 when UW scored a short-handed breakaway goal with just 1:14 remaining in the contest. Despite two goals from rookie winger Jenna McParland, two assists from senior center Haley Irwin and 39 saves from senior goaltender Jennifer Harss, UMD could not find the twine. Wisconsin outshot the Bulldogs 43-37 in the game, but the Bulldogs outshot the Badgers badly in the final period of play 15-6.
On Oct. 22, the Bulldogs struggled to put the puck in the net, outshooting Wisconsin 49-31 and 37-18 in the first two periods. The Badgers scored two open net goals on the evening, including a botched pass back to the point by UMD on a delayed penalty call at 18:16 of the second period that put UW up 5-1. Both Irwin and Wong had two assists in the skate.
Twice this season UMD has outshot Wisconsin and lost -- Jan. 20 (36-23, 2-0 loss and Oct. 22 (49-31, 6-3 loss).
UMD and UW’s Jan. 21 overtime game was the 20th overtime in history between the two NCAA title titans. With 62 games played between them, the Bulldogs and Badgers have gone to extra time in a third of those skates. UMD has played more overtimes with Wisconsin than any other school in the NCAA.
The Bulldogs and Badgers have played in nine postseason games, including five in the WCHA playoff semifinals. UMD is 2-3 in those encounters, with two games having gone to overtime. The last time the two programs met in a WCHA semifinal playoff scenario was on March 7, 2009 a 3-1 win for the Badgers at Ridder Arena.
Last March the two teams met in the NCAA quarterfinal in Madison on March 12, 2011, a 2-1 win for Wisconsin. Prior to last March, the two programs had met twice in the NCAA Frozen Four championship game (2008 and 2007), with each earning a title from each other (UMD in 2008, Wisconsin in 2007). The two also met in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals back in 2009, a controversial game that ended in 5-1 in favor of the Badgers.
UMD is 3-12-4 all-time against Wisconsin when it has been ranked No. 1 in the country.
UMD VS WISCONSIN 2011-12 BY THE NUMBERS:
--UMD put a season-high 49 shots on goal against the Badgers on Oct. 22, a 6-3 loss.
--Jennifer Harss made a season-high 39 saves against Wisconsin in UMD’s 4-3 loss on Oct. 21.
--Wisconsin’s six goals on Oct. 22 was the most any team scored against the Bulldogs all season. Two of those goals were scored on an empty net, including one by UMD on it’s own goal. In fact, UW was the first team to score six goals on the Bulldogs since Ohio State scored six back on Feb. 13, 2010.
--UMD allowed a season-high 43 shots against the Badgers on Oct. 21.
--The last time the Bulldogs played a rank team this season was No. 1 Wisconsin back on Jan. 21
--Haley Irwin leads UMD in points against UW this season with four assists in four skates. Both Audrey Cournoyer and Jenna McParland have netted two goals, while Pernilla Winberg has recorded three points, a goal and two assists in four games.
BADGER BAITERS: Senior center Haley Irwin -- the only remaining Bulldog that played in the 2008 WCHA Final Face-Off championship and NCAA title tilt against Wisconsin at the DECC -- is UMD’s highest scoring current Bulldog with 19 points in 20 games.
Irwin has scored five goals and added 14 assists in her career against the Badgers, including two goals and three assists in postseason play.
Junior blueliner Jessica Wong has compiled 12 career points at the expense of the Badgers (3g, 9a) over 12 games, while junior winger Pernilla Winberg has put up 10 points (2g, 10a) in 13 skates against UW.
LAST WEEK: Fourth-seeded UMD swept fifth-seed Ohio State at AMSOIL Arena last weekend, the first back-to-back wins for the Bulldogs against the Buckeyes since Feb. 11-12, 2011. UMD defeated OSU 4-3 last Friday night, spreading out the scoring with a goal in the first and third periods and two in the second. Sophomore winger Jamie Kenyon scored two of UMD’s goals, including a short handed tally at 5:52 of the first period and a power-play goal at 10:51 of the second stanza. The Bulldogs were outshot 37-23, but Jennifer Harss turned away 34 shots to secure the win.
The Bulldogs needed overtime Saturday night to overcome the Buckeyes 3-2. Senior center Haley Irwin, who also scored a goal Friday night, tallied two goals Saturday in the first period. Irwin’s first goal came at 2:06 of the first period and her second at 19:43. Rookie forward Shara Jasper scored the game-winner, her fourth goal of the season. Harss had 27 saves and UMD barely outshot OSU 30-29.
NOTES FROM THE OHIO STATE SERIES: Shannon Miller and the Bulldogs are 48-7-4 all-time against the Buckeyes.
--With the sweep, UMD has now won a season-long four consecutive games, and eight of the last 10.
--The Bulldogs have never lost a first round WCHA playoff series since the league went to the best-of-three format in 2006. UMD is 19-2 overall in the first round of the WCHA playoffs, and 14-1 in the best-of-three series format.
--UMD’s win last Saturday gave the Bulldogs their 20th win of the season. Miller has now had 13-consecutive 20 or more win seasons at UMD. Minnesota is the only other WCHA team to have accomplished this feat.
--Haley Irwin netted three goals in the OSU series, the most goals Irwin has compiled in a series this season. Irwin is also currently on a four-game scoring streak that includes five goals and three assists in her past four skates. Her four-game goal-scoring spree is also a season-high. The OSU series was the first back-to-back games Irwin did not record an assist. UMD is 14-0-0 in games where Irwin finds the net.
--Jenna McParland’s third period game-winner last Friday night was the 20th goal of the season for the freshman. McParland has now scored the seventh most goals by a rookie in UMD program history. McParland, who like Irwin is on a four game scoring-streak (1g, 3a), has registered a point in seven of UMD’s last eight games. The Bulldogs are 17-2 when the rookie winger gets on the score sheet and are undefeated when McParland picks up a helper in a game, helping UMD to 9-0-0 record.
BULLDOG WCHA PLAYOFF HISTORY: UMD is a solid 19-2 in opening league playoff history, and has failed to advance only once in program history.
Yet the Bulldogs have more recently struggled in the WCHA semifinals as of late, winning just twice over the past six seasons. Both UMD wins led to tournament titles in 2010 (March 6, 2010, 7-3 over Bemidji State at Ridder Arena) and in 2008 (March 8, 2008, a 9-0 blowout against St. Cloud at the DECC).
In 12 league playoff semifinal contests, the Bulldogs are 5-7. Overall, UMD is 29-8 all-time in WCHA playoff contests and has five times clinched the WCHA Plaoff championship (2010, 2008, 2003, 2001, 2000). The Bulldogs are 14-1 overall in WCHA playoff skates played in Duluth and 2-0 in semifinal and final WCHA playoff games played at home.
COUNROYER JOINS THE 100 POINT CLUB: Welcome to the club, Audrey Cournoyer. The junior forward from Montreal, Quebec had an assist on Haley Irwin’s goal to open the the second period last Friday, adding Cournoyer as the 15th member to the Bulldog 100-point club. With 45 goals and 55 assists in 109 career games, Cournoyer becomes the first UMD player to reach the mark this year.
Blueliner Jessica Wong is sitting at 99 career points with 41 goals and 58 points, and would become only the second defenseman to reach 100 points. Junior winger Pernilla Winberg has 96 career points, with 35 goals and 61 assists in 105 skates.
Irwin netted her 200th point against Minnesota State on Feb. 18. She has now compiled 204 career points (79g, 125a) and is tied as the fifth-highest scorer in UMD history.
RECORD BOOK RUNS: The Bulldogs have a number of players who will etch their names into the single-season record book in 2011-12.
Haley Irwin -- who has altered the career record book this season -- currently has 36 assists, which is the eighth most helpers in a single season, one less than the 37 assists Irwin tallied in 2007-08.
Jessica Wong’s 30 points ties her for the sixth most points in a season from the UMD blueline. Wong -- who put up the second most points by a defenseman in program history just last season with 38 -- currently has 11 goals, tying her for the third most goals by a backliner in a single season. (She set the record last season with 15).
Jennifer Harss has 831 saves, just 13 shy of taking over the second slot for most saves in a season. Of course Harss set the record for saves in a season her rookie year, making 1,138 in 39 games.
Harss also became the third winningest goaltender in UMD history this season with 56 career triumphs.
Rookie defenseman Tea Villila has picked up 76 penalty minutes, the third most in a season in program history. Villila is in good company -- both All-American Jocelyne Larocque (100 minutes in 2008-9) and teammate Irwin (96 mintes in 2008-09) rank ahead of her.
COURNOYER CONTINUES BREAKOUT SEASON: Junior forward Audrey Cournoyer has continued to pile on the offensive numbers in the most offensive season of her career. The product of Montreal, Quebec, had a previous career-high 28 points during her freshman campaign (9-19=28) and posted a career-best 15 goals as a sophomore last year.
Cournoyer has shredded those previous highs so far this season, posting a team-high 21 goals and 26 assists for a blistering career-best of 47 points. In 34 games, Cournoyer has turned in at least a point in 23 skates, and has 15 times put up two or more points. In fact, Cournoyer has registered three or more points on six occassions and is averaging 1.38 points per game.
With a team-best plus/minus rating of +29, Cournoyer also has shattered her previous career-high of +19 set during her rookie campaign in 2009-10.
AMBROZ STREAKS ON: Senior forward Kacy Ambroz continues to build to her ironwoman legacy. Already owning a UMD record 140 consecutive games played, the New Prague, Minn. product has played in 146 career games, the fifth most of any Bulldog in program history.
BULLDOG NOTES: The Bulldogs were spurned by the weekly USCHO.com poll for a third straight week and knocked out of the USA TODAY/USA Hockey Magazine poll, marking the first time in program history that the Bulldogs have been pushed out of both meaningless postseason polls... UMD is more importantly No. 11 in the current PairWise rankings...UMD is averaging 3.47 goals a game on 32.3 shots...That goals per game average is the second lowest goals per game average in a season in program history...The Bulldogs scored just 128 goals in 39 games during the 2006-07 season for a 3.20 goals per game average...UMD scored a program-low 120 goals in 2005-06...The Bulldogs have scored more first period goals in league play than any other team (42)...35 of the 76 goals scored against UMD have come in the second period.
IRWN GAINS KAZMAIER NOMINATION: Just two days removed from stamping her name into the UMD’s record books, Haley Irwin was named one of 30 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award nominees by the USA Hockey Foundation last week.
Irwin is one of five players who was a top-10 finalist in 2011, despite having played just 24 games last season. Irwin currently leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 52 points, 16 goals and 36 assists in 32 games this season. She has 15 times recorded two or more points, including a career-high of seven on Dec. 3, and has scored a point in 24 of 32 games this season.
With 204 career points (79 goals, 125 assists), Irwin is now tied as the fifth-highest scorer in Bulldog history. With 79 assists, Irwin is one shy of cracking UMD’s top-ten career assist mark and her 79 goals is the eighth most in Bulldog history.
The Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award is annually bestowed upon the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey, and although UMD has had five players reach top-3 finalist status and another nine reach the top-10, the Bulldog program remains the only NCAA Division I program to have won mulitple NCAA titles without having an award winner.
SENIOR SALUTE: Five Bulldogs -- three of whom are Olympians -- round of the UMD senior class of 2011-12. Between forward Haley Irwin’s four seasons in five years and the shortened careers of goaltender Jennifer Harss and defenseman Mariia Posa, along with forward Kacy Ambroz and goaltender Lana Steck, the group has won two NCAA titles (2010, 2008), two WCHA Playoff titles (2010, 2008) and two WCHA regular season titles (2010, 2008). UMD has made three NCAA Frozen Four appearances during this year’s senior class tenure (2010, 2009, 2008) and four-consecutive NCAA playoff showings (2011, 2010, 2009, 2008). Over the past five seasons, UMD has gone 133-43-11, including a program-best 34-4-1 during Irwin’s freshman season of 2007-08, and 31-8-2 during Steck and Ambroz’s sophomore and Harss and Posa’s rookie campaigns in 2009-2010.
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