Feb. 6, 2009

 

Courtesy of Wisconsin

The No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey team travels to Minneapolis, Minn., this weekend to play in a regular season showdown. Wisconsin and Minnesota are ranked No. 1 and No.2, respectively and both teams share the league lead. This weekend’s series is part of the Border Battle and the winner of each game brings home 10 points towards their respective school. Minnesota has the slight 160-140 advantage in the Border Battle so far this season.

Saturday’s game will broadcast on WIBA 1310 AM with Brian Posick, also on USCHO.com with Brian Schulz including a video feed. Eric Levine will also broadcast both games online at WSUM. Fans are encouraged to log onto UWBadgers.com for the game day blog to follow all the action. Links to all of this and more can be found on the Women’s Hockey Game Day page on UWBadgers.com.

With both teams playing for the league lead it will be the Badgers toughest challenge yet. Wisconsin enters the series (24-1-3, 18-1-3 WCHA) after a series sweep over Ohio State. The Badgers blanked the Buckeyes with two back-to-back 7-0 shutouts. Although the Gophers hold the slight edge over the Badgers in the all-time series 18-25-5 the Badgers haven’t lost to the Gophers at Ridder Arena since the 2004-05 season going 5-0-1 in the last six meetings. Earlier in the season the Badgers tied and beat the Gophers in two close games. The first night UW tied 1-1 and lost in the shootout before a 2-1 win to close out the series.

Last weekend against Ohio State, Jessie Vetter earned her 10th shutout of the season, making this the third season-in-a-row she’s recorded 10 shutouts. She needs just two more shutouts to tie the NCAA record, which was set last year by Christina Kessler from Harvard. Vetter had 22 saves for the weekend. Three Badgers had seven point weekends, all coming the Badgers’ top line including Erika Lawler (2g, 5a), Angie Keseley (2g, 3a) and Hilary Knight (3g, 4a).

The Golden Gophers enter the weekend following a series sweep over Minnesota State with scores of 9-1 and 7-4. Minnesota is led by freshmen twins Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux. M. Lamoureux scored four goals against MSU on Saturday and leads the team in scoring with 31 goals.

Statistically speaking both teams are similar and lead the nation in nearly every category. The Badgers hold the slight edge in special teams, scoring offense, defense and margin. The Gophers are the most penalized team in the nation, while Wisconsin leads the nation on the power play. Both teams have averaged at least five goals a game and between the two teams, have the two leading goal scorers in the nation with M. Lamoureux and Knight.

Head Coach Mark Johnson had his 200th career win Feb. 1 against Ohio State in only his seventh season. In his last three seasons his squad has tallied at least 29 victories and is currently on track to do it again for the fourth consecutive year.

Faceoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. For the third consecutive series the men's and women's hockey teams will both compete in the Border Battle in the same weekend.