Feb. 9, 2010


By Amy Farnum

HOT, HOT, HOT:  The University of Minnesota Duluth moved up three spots to a tie for No. 2 with Minnesota in the latest USCHO.com rankings after sweeping the previously top-ranked Golden Gophers last weekend.

The Bulldogs defeated the Gophers by a combined score of 6-1 as they stretched their nation-leading unbeaten streak to 11 (9-0-2) games.  Minnesota swept UMD by the exact combined score in a series in October.

The sweep of Minnesota also shrank the Gophers’ lead in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings to three points with four games remaining for both squads in regular season action.  Both squads have already clinched a home playoff spot for the first round of the WCHA playoffs.

“Our team has come a long way from the beginning of the season, and this weekend was a huge test for all of us,” said head coach Shannon Miller.  “We passed with flying colors, we played tremendous hockey as a team this weekend, and now we know we can play with anyone in the country.”

UMD, which is missing seven players due to the 2010 Winter Olympics, will host Ohio State on Feb. 12-13 as it tries to narrow the gap in the WCHA standings.

STANDING TALL: Providence regained sole possession of first place in the Hockey East standings after upending then-No. 7 Northeastern, 2-1, in league action on Feb. 6.

Freshman forward Nicole Anderson netted the game-winning goal – her second of the year – with under three minutes remaining in the contest against Northeastern, earning Hockey East Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season.  Anderson, a native of Jordan, Minn., has scored 10 goals in her rookie campaign.

Providence is preparing for a home-and-home series against No. 8 Connecticut on Feb. 12-13 – a weekend that holds major playoff implications.  The Friars have a one-point lead in the Hockey East standings over UConn and Northeastern.

BACK ON TOP: With three straight victories and UMD’s sweep of Minnesota, Mercyhurst reclaimed its position as the No. 1 team in the USCHO.com national poll this week.

The Lakers downed College Hockey America opponent in three games by a combined score of 17-3 as they improved to 10-1-1 in the league standings.

Sophomore Bailey Bram picked up Player of the Week honors as she tallied three goals and an assist after returning to the team’s active roster on Feb. 5.  Last year’s CHA Rookie of the Year, the native of Ste. Anne, Manitoba, leads the squad with 24 goals and paces the nation with 0.96 goals per game.  Bram, who ranks third in the nation with 1.72 points per game, follows teammates Jesse Scanzano (2.00 ppg) and Vicki Bendus (1.86 ppg).  The trio tops Mercyhurst’s explosive offense that leads the nation with 4.75 goals per game.

Junior Melissa Lacroix garnered the league’s Defensive Player of the Week award as she anchored a defense that killed all 19 RMU’s power-play chances.  The captain from Penetanguishene, Ontario, also scored first in two games on the weekend.  She ranks third in the nation’s defensemen with 0.82 points per game.

Mercyhurst returns to action in two weeks with a two-game series against Wayne State on Feb. 19-20.