After beginning the season with a home sweep over #10 Mercyhurst last weekend, the Gophers take their first road trip of the year this weekend. It will be a top-5 match up to open the WCHA season as the #3 ranked Gophers will face the #4 UMD Bulldogs. It will be a matchup of US Olympian teammates as Minnesota’s Kelly Pannek will try and get a puck or two past UMD’s Maddie Rooney.
The Gophers had five players record three points a week ago against Mercyhurst. Grace Zumwinkle scored two goals to lead Minnesota and added an assist. Patti Marshall, Kelly Pannek, Sarah Potomak all added a goal and an assist and Nicole Schammel recorded three assists. The Gophers got one win from each of their goalies. Alex Gulstene made 21 saves in a 4-2 win Friday and Sydney Scobee recorded 17 saves in a shutout 5-0 win on Saturday. While Gopher head coach did not tip his hand as to what he will do in net against the Bulldogs this week, the guess would be that each of the Gopher goaltenders will get one game against the Bulldogs.
Either Minnesota goalie will need to deal with a freshman class for the Bulldogs that made their presence known last weekend. UMD was #9 going into the weekend against #4 Boston College and completely outplayed the Eagles in a sweep. Freshman defense Kailee Skinner recorded three points on the weekend and freshman Lizi Norton added a pair.
The major task for Minnesota will be getting pucks past Rooney in net. The preseason WCHA Player of the Year shut down a potent BC offense giving up just three goals on the weekend in a pair of wins. Rooney is still riding high after shutting down the Canadian Olympic team and anchoring the USA to a shootout win in the Gold Medal Game. Rooney was 3-3 against the Gophers in her breakout 2016-17 season, but Minnesota won the biggest game when Sydney Peters outdueled Rooney in leading Minnesota to a 1-0 win in the NCAA Quarterfinal.
This weekend’s series should be a good test for both teams to see where they stand with the best of the best early in the season.
HOW TO WATCH:
#3 Minnesota Golden Gophers @ #4 UMD Bulldogs
Where: Amsoil Arena, Duluth, MInnesota
When: 7:07 Friday/ 3:07 Saturday
TV: FOX9+ Saturday Only
Video Stream: FloHockey ($)
Audio: FREE Stream