The Gopher Women's hockey team will face a familiar foe in a familiar situation this weekend when the #2 ranked Gophers travel to Madison to play the #1 ranked Badgers. The Gophers were the #1 raked team in the nation until this past weekend when they won and tied Minnesota Duluth. (Technically they lost in a shootout Saturday, but for NCAA purposes its a tie). The Badgers swept Ohio State at home to take over the #1 spot.
The Gophers and Badgers are familiar foes, and unlike in football, the Gophers have recently dominated. The Gophers have an 11 game winning streak on the line against Wisconsin this weekend. In five of those 11 games, it was #1 vs #2. The last fifteen times these two teams have played, one team or the other has been ranked #1 in the nation. The most recent game was a come from behind 5-3 victory for the Gophers in the NCAA Semifinal Game last March.
The Badgers are off to a 6-0 start this season. They swept UMD in Duluth a week before the Gophers won and tied the Bulldogs. Fourteeen different players have scored for the Badgers this season, and goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens was the most decent Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after two shutouts over the Buckeyes last weekend.
The Gophers are being led this season by the usual suspects. Hannah Brandt scored two goals last week to give her a team leading six goals on the year. She also leads the team with eight points. Sophomore Dani Cameranesi has picked up where she left off last season with three goals and three assists on the season.
The key to the series will be Gopher goalie Amanda Leveille. She shut UMD out Friday night before giving up three goals on Saturday. If she does not have a good weekend, the Gophers winning streak against Wisconsin may come to a close, and that would be a shame. The Gopher senior class is 12-1-1 versus the Badgers, and the rest of the team has never lost to Wisconsin. That's a streak that we all wish could continue forever.
The games will be at 7:07 Friday night and 3:07 Saturday afternoon at LaBahn Arena in Madison. The games will be streamed on BTN Plus ($$) or a free audio stream will be available here for Friday and here for Saturday.