The Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s hockey team will look to make another run to try and get back to the NCAA Frozen Four next season. The Gophers will get back their top two scorers from two season ago when senior Kelly Pannek and junior Sarah Potomak return to the team from Olympic qualifying. They also will get the addition of a insanely talented freshman class including Sarah’s sister Amy Potomak who redhsirted a season ago while attempting to make the Canadian Olympic team.
The WCHA released the 2018-19 women’s hockey schedule on Tuesday. The Gophers will play the standard 24 conference games with one series at each team’s home arena, and then will have three regular non-conference series and two in-season tournaments. The Gophers will host Atlantic Hockey Tournament Champion Mercyhurst to open the regular season at Ridder Arena in September and will host Atlantic Hockey regular season champion Robert Morris in December at Ridder. Minnesota will travel to Connecticut to take on Yale in a series at the end of November. That series will match up Gopher senior Sophie Skarzynski against her sister Grace who plays for the Bulldogs.
Minnesota will play in the Windjammer Classic in Burlington, Vermont over Thanksgiving weekend. The Gophers will get a tough task in their opener against St. Lawrence before playing either Vermont or Syracuse the next day.
Of most interest to Minnesota women’s hockey fans will be the start of a new in-state tournament called the Minnesota Cup. It will function nearly exactly that the North Star Cup did on the men’s side, with the exception that it will be held in the various school’s home arenas. Minnesota will host the inaugural year of the tournament on January 5-6 and will play UMD in the first round while Minnesota State and St. Cloud State will play in the other semifinal. The third place and championship game will take place Sunday the 6th. Bemidji State will rotate into the tournament next season while another team sits out. The Tournament will be hosted by UMD in 2020, Minnesota State in 2021, St. Cloud State in 2022, and Bemidji State in 2023. All the games will be non-conference games and will not count in the WCHA standings.
The Gophers will open WCHA play at UMD the weekend of October 5-7 and they end the conference schedule in Bemidji the weekend of February 22-24. It will be the first season in recent memory that the Gophers will not square off with their conference rival the Wisconsin Badgers on the last weekend of the regular season. Minnesota will travel to Madison the weekend of October 26-28 and will host the Badgers the weekend of January 18-20. Minnesota will once again host the WCHA Final Faceoff Tournament at Ridder Arena March 9-10. The NCAA Frozen Four will be March 22-24 at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Connecticut and will be hosed by Quinnipiac.
Exact dates and game times will be released later this year. The full schedule is below: