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Gophers set to take on Wisconsin in battle of top-ranked teams

The No. 1 Golden Gopher women’s hockey team is back on the road this week, traveling to Madison for the Border Battle. Top-ranked Minnesota faces No. 2 Wisconsin at 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday at LaBahn Arena.

Last time out:
Gophers sweep Huskies

Minnesota (8-1-0, 8-1-0 WCHA) earned a three-game sweep over St. Cloud State last week, winning 2-1-, 4-1 and 4-0. Taylor Heise, Abbey Murphy and Emily Oden led the Gophers in scoring against the Huskies, while Lauren Bench played seven of nine periods in net and combined for 43 saves on 44 shots faced in the three games. Makayla Pahl also saw action in two periods, making 14 saves on 15 shots. 11 different skaters had at least one point against St. Cloud State.

About the
Border Battle series

Friday’s game marks the 107th all-time meeting between the Gophers and Badgers. Minnesota has a record of 53-41-12 in the all-time Border Battle series, which dates back to February 1998. Last season, the Gophers were 1-2-1 against Wisconsin.

Back on top

Along with leading the WCHA regular-season standings with 24 points and an 8-1-0 record, the Gophers enter this week’s series holding the No. 1 national ranking. Minnesota last came in at No. 1 in the Jan. 13, 2020 poll.

Freshmen firsts

Freshmen Abbey Murphy, Anne Cherkowski, Audrey Wethington, Josey Dunne and Maggie Nicholson have already recorded their first collegiate points while Addie Burton and Tella Jungels have also made their college debuts and round out Minnesota’s rookie class.

Notable notes

• Through nine games this season, 15 different Gophers have at least one point while 12 different skaters have scored goals.

• After recording a career-high four-point series against St. Cloud State (Jan. 9-10), Emily Oden leads the Gophers in scoring with nine points.

• Grace Zumwinkle has an NCAA-best seven goals and three game-winning goals on the year.

• Taylor Heise scored her first collegiate hat trick and had a career-high four-goal series against St. Cloud State last week.

• Abbey Murphy had career-highs for series goals (2), assists (3), and points (5) against the Huskies.

Scoring milestones

Senior Grace Zumwinkle is Minnesota’s active career scoring leader with 132 career points (74g-58a) in 122 career games; her 74 career goals rank 12th among all-time Gophers.

Junior Emily Oden (17g-40a) recorded her 50th career point against Minnesota Duluth (Nov. 27) while junior Taylor Heise (36g-50a) earned her 50th career assist against St. Cloud State (Jan. 9). Senior Emily Brown (14g-47a) is nearing 50 career assists as well.

24th Season

The 2020-21 season marks the 24th season of Gopher women’s hockey. Nine games in to the season, Minnesota has an all-time record of 688-144-56.

Home, Sweet Home

The 2020-21 season marks the 19th season of Ridder Arena serving as the home of Gopher women’s hockey. Minnesota’s season-opening win over Ohio State marked a historic 300th win for the Maroon & Gold at Ridder Arena. After two wins over St. Cloud State at home to start the New Year, the Gophers have an all-time record of 303-50-22 in home games at Ridder Arena, dating back to the 2002-03 season.

Aye, Aye Captains

Seniors Emily Brown and Grace Zumwinkle are serving as team captains while fellow seniors Olivia Knowles and Taylor Wente are assistant captains for the Gophers.

Who’s New?

Eight newcomers joined the Gophers for the 2020-21 season. Goaltender Lauren Bench (Eagan, Minn./Burnsville High School) has transferred to Minnesota as a graduate student after completing her undergraduate degree at Bemidji State while freshmen forward Addie Burton (Orono, Minn./Blake School), forward Anne Cherkowski (Coldstream, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence), defense Josey Dunne (O’Fallon, Mo./Chicago Mission), forward Tella Jungels (Edina, Minn./Edina High School), forward Abbey Murphy (Evergreen Park, Ill./Chicago Mission), defense Maggie Nicholson (Minnetonka, Minn./Minnetonka High School), and forward Audrey Wethington (Edina, Minn./Blake School) complete the newest class of Gophers.

Who’s Back?

Head coach Brad Frost is in his 14th season at the helm of the program with a .818 winning percentage in his first 13 seasons. The Gophers returned 15 players from last year’s team, including eight of Minnesota’s top-10 scorers. Senior Grace Zumwinkle (25g-20a), junior Taylor Heise (18g-25a), and redshirt junior Amy Potomak (18g-18a) are Minnesota’s top returning scorers from a year ago while the Maroon & Gold also returned five of the team’s top six defense from last season led by seniors Emily Brown and Olivia Knowles.

Gophers in the Pros

Four University of Minnesota alumnae are competing in the NWHL this season as Amanda Leveille, Meghan Lorence, Chelsey Brodt-Rosenthal, and Winny Brodt-Brown have signed with the Minnesota Whitecaps for 2020-21. Meanwhile, 10 Gopher women’s hockey alums are on regional rosters for the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA) this season: Sarah Potomak (Calgary); Amanda Kessel and Gigi Marvin (New Hampshire); Sydney Scobee, Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Kelly Pannek, Lee Stecklein, Nicole Schammel, and Noora Raty (Minnesota). In addition, Patti Marshall (Brynas IF in Sweden), Alex Woken (Mad Dogs Mannheim in Germany), Katie Robinson (TPS Naisten Liiga in Finland), and Megan Bozek and Noora Raty (Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays) are playing professional hockey in Europe this season.

2019-20 Season in Review

Minnesota wrapped up the 23rd season of Gopher women’s hockey as NCAA Tournament qualifiers and WCHA regular-season runners-up along with tying for third at the WCHA Final Faceoff in 2019-20. The Gophers posted a record of 27-6-3 before the season was cut short prior to the NCAA quarterfinal round when the NCAA announced it was ceasing competitions and championships because of COVID-19 public health concerns on March 12, 2020. The Maroon & Gold said goodbye to six graduating seniors in head coach Brad Frost’s 13th season at the helm of the program.

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