icehockey-women-d3 flag | January 31, 2014

Preview: Minnesota looks for payback

Only once in the past 76 games has a team faced off against top-ranked Minnesota and come away with the win. For the first time since No. 3 North Dakota snapped Minnesota’s NCAA-record 62-game winning streak, the two squads face off again this weekend.

Since that 3-2 loss on Nov. 17, the Golden Gophers have run off a span of 11 wins in 12 games and held onto their top ranking. On the other hand, North Dakota suffered through a bit of a rough patch after that game -- finishing with two overtime ties and a loss -- but has since rebounded to go 9-2-1.

Whoever scores first in these games will have a big advantage. This season, Minnesota is 20-0-0 when scoring the first goal. The Gophers are also 16-0-0 when leading after the first period and 20-0-0 when leading after the second period. North Dakota has a 14-1-2 record when scoring the first goal of the game. On the flip side, UND is 2-4-0 when the opponent scores first.

In the meeting, North Dakota had a 3-0 lead after the first and held on despite giving up a pair of goals in the second period.

UND’s freshmen have accounted for 63 points (21 goals, 42 assists) this season. The class leads the nation in freshman points (63), assists (42), shots on goal (310) and is fifth in the nation in power-play points (14).

Susanna Tapani leads the UND class with seven goals and 12 assists. With 19 points through 20 games, her 0.95 points-per-game average is fourth best among the nation’s freshmen.

Slap shots

Plattsburgh State’s Sydney Aveson was named Eastern College Athletic Conference West Goalie of the Week for the sixth time this season after making 46 combined saves in a pair of shutouts against Utica. … Middlebury’s Annabelle Jones has a 1.59 goals-against average and owns seven career shutouts. … Norwich is playing its first home game of 2014, and first since Dec. 8. … Only twice this year has Wisconsin-River Falls been held to one goal or fewer. … Wisconsin-Superior has won its past four games by a combined 13-0 score. … Adrian is on a 10-game winning streak. … After having four consecutive games against ranked opponents (1-2-1), Wisconsin-Stevens Point now plays three games in a row against unranked teams.

Minnesota and Wisconsin both have clinched home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs after recording league sweeps last weekend. Meanwhile, North Dakota needs just one more point to guarantee that it will finish in the top four and host a first-round league playoff series. …  Robert Morris won its 20th game last weekend, surpassing the previous program-best mark of 19 set by the 2011-12 team. … Clarkson sophomore Erin Ambrose recorded six assists last weekend and leads all defenseman in the nation with 1.38 points per game, and sits second in the nation with 26 assists. … With its 2-0 win Friday, Harvard topped the 600-win plateau. … Cornell has not lost to Yale since Jan. 23, 2009, and its past six games against Yale have been by a combined 38-4. … Quinnipiac’s Kelly Babstock is fifth in the country in points (37) with 15 goals and 22 assists through 26 games. … Mercyhurst is tied for fourth in scoring offense by averaging 3.48 goals per game.

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