Gophers Set to Face No. 9 Harvard for Holiday Weekend
Provided by the University of Minnesota
MINNESOTA HOSTS HARVARD FOR THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND
The University of Minnesota hosts the Harvard Crimson Friday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. The weekend marks the third time the two teams have met during the Thanksgiving weekend. The first time dates back to the 2004-05 season when Minnesota played in the Harvard Tournament and defeated the Crimson, 5-3. Two years ago, Harvard visited Ridder Arena, Nov. 28-29, and Minnesota won both games, 3-1 and 3-2.
FOLLOWING THE GOPHERS
Both games will be available by video broadcast on gophersports.com with Dan Hamann providing the play by play from Ridder Arena. Both games will also feature a live in-game blog.
Fans who go shopping on Black Friday can also use it to their advantage for the Gopher women’s hockey game. On Friday, fans can bring in their shopping receipts from the day and get free admission to the Nov. 26 game.
The two rosters are full of some of the best Minnesota players for the previous years. The Ms. Hockey award goes to the top senior girl’s hockey player in the state. This weekend the series highlights the last four winners in Harvard’s Katharine Chute (2007 winner), Sarah Erickson (2008), Becky Kortum (2009) and Bethany Brausen (2010). Along with the winners, it also features Ms. Hockey finalists in Harvard’s Margaret Chute, Kelsey Romatoski and Gina McDonald, while Terra Rasmussen, Anne Schleper and Kelly Seeler were also finalists. To top it off, Minnesota’s Alyssa Grogan and Harvard’s Laura Bellamy were the Senior Goaltender of the Year.
ON THE DOCKET
Minnesota heads north to Bemidji State University, Dec. 3-4. Playing in the newly constructed Bemidji Regional Event Center, it will be the first time the Gophers and Beavers face each other this year. The series starts are set for 2 p.m. both days. The Golden Gophers will close out the semester hosting Ohio State, Dec. 10-11.
SKATE WITH THE GOPHERS
The annual Skate with the Gophers is slated for Sunday, Dec. 12 from noon-2 p.m. For more information, contact the Gopher marketing department or purchase tickets online at gophersports.com
RATY NAMED WCHA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF WEEK
Minnesota goaltender Noora Räty has been named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's Defensive Player of the Week after a stellar performance against Minnesota State University, Mankato last weekend. She allowed just two goals to help the Golden Gophers to a conference road series sweep over MSU. Räty recorded her fifth shutout of the 2010-11 season last Friday (Nov. 19) when she stopped all 27 Minnesota State shots on goal in a 1-0 victory and also held the Mavericks scoreless on all four power-play chances. She was named the game's No. 2 star. Then last Saturday (Nov. 20), Räty again got the starting duties between the pipes, this time backstopping Minnesota to a 6-2 triumph over host MSU with 27 saves. She again blanked her opponents on the power-play, this time going 3-for-3. In the two victories combined, Räty stopped 54 of 56 shots on goal (.964 save percentage), posted a shutout streak of 101:16.
GOPHERS SIGN FOUR MINNESOTANS
University of Minnesota women’s hockey head coach Brad Frost has announced four Minnesota natives have signed National Letters of Intent. Forward Stephanie Anderson (North St. Paul), forward Rachael Bona (Coon Rapids), forward Meghan Lorence (Mounds View) and defenseman Rachel Ramsey (Chanhassen) have all signed and will join the Golden Gopher program next fall.
ABOUT THE CRIMSON
No. 9 Harvard enters the series with a 4-2-2 overall record and is playing in its first non-conference competition of the season. Tying Yale (3-3) and defeating Brown (4-2), the Crimson fell to No. 2 Cornell, 3-0 on Nov. 6. After a 4-1 loss to Quinnipiac, Harvard tied Princeton, 2-2 and won both games against ranked Dartmouth last weekend. The Crimson are coached by coaching veteran Katey Stone, who was also the United States’ Four Nations Cup coach. Leading Harvard’s scoring charge is Minnesota native Katharine Chute and Kate Buesser, who each have six points. Sophomore Laura Bellamy has seen a majority of action in net, holding a 3-2-1 record.
Minnesota holds the lead in the all-time series, set at 8-5-1 since November of 1997. Prior to the loss and tie last year against the Crimson, Minnesota had won the previous five games.
THE LAST TIME
Minnesota traveled to Harvard, Dec. 4-5, last year and was defeated 1-0 and tied 0-0 in Cambridge, Mass. After two scoreless periods, Liza Ryabkina broke the tie and scored just 33 seconds into the third period. Although Minnesota called a timeout and pulled Gopher goalie Noora Räty in the closing minutes, Harvard held on for the win. In the second game, Räty had 39 saves as the Gophers and Crimson skated to a 0-0 tie. Räty was later named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for stopping 59 shots on goal during the series.
LEADING THE CHARGE
Minnesota has relied on its freshmen class to put up points on the board. The rookies haven’t disappointed as three lead the Gopher scoring charge. Kelly Terry has scored 14 points, while Amanda Kessel follows with 12 and Sarah Davis has 11. Two of the veterans follow with 10 points in Sarah Erickson and Anne Schleper.
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
During the first month of the season, Minnesota played four opponents ranked in the top 10. Minnesota is currently 3-5-0 against ranked opponents this season. The Gophers started the regular season with a two-game series against then-No. 7 Clarkson, sweeping the Golden Knights. The Gophers then hosted then-No. 10 North Dakota and were swept by the Sioux and No. 3 Minnesota Duluth. Minnesota recently split against No. 1 Wisconsin.
GOPHERS IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
The Harvard series marks the third non-conference opponent Minnesota has faced this season. The Gophers are 3-0-0 outside of WCHA play this season. Minnesota opened the season by sweeping Clarkson (Oct. 2-3) and earned a 1-0 win over Wayne State (Oct. 9). The Harvard series also marks the last non-conference foe of the year. For the remainder of the season, Minnesota will play conference opponents through February.
WORKING THROUGH IT
Minnesota has had its fair share of injuries so far this season. Emily West missed the seven games (and the MSU series), Noora Ray missed the North Dakota series due to an injury, while Alyssa Grogan has missed the past month. Sarah Erickson also sat out the Oct. 30 Minnesota Duluth game, while Amanda Kessel missed the second Wisconsin game (11/6) and the MSU series, all due to injuries . However, the Gophers have had some players step up in their presence. Becky Korwun has scored five goals already this season, surpassing her freshman goal production. Kelly Terry and Sarah Davis have also made an immediate impact already in their rookie year, tallying 12 and eight.
LAST SERIES RECAP
After a week hiatus, Minnesota bounced back with a series sweep over Minnesota State University, Mankato last weekend. In Friday’s game, Sarah Erickson scored the contest’s lone goal at 8:22 in the second period. Erickson capitalized on a wraparound attempt for her fourth goal of the weekend. Noora Räty collected her fifth shutout of the season when she stopped all 27 MSU shots on goal. On Saturday, the Gophers scored once in the first, three times in the second and twice in the third for the 6-2 final. Becky Kortum and Erickson each netted two goals, while Sarah Davis and Kelly Terry also scored for the final. Räty held the Mavericks scoreless on the weekend until the 1:16 mark of the third period on Saturday. Freshman defenseman Baylee Gillanders established a career-high three assists in the win. .
AROUND THE HORN
While Minnesota will be playing non-conference action, two other teams will be in WCHA match-ups. Minnesota Duluth faces Wisconsin, Friday and Sunday afternoon in Madison, Wis. It will be the first meeting between the two teams this year. Bemidji State travels to Ohio State, Friday and Saturday nights. Minnesota State is also in action this weekend as it travels to Detroit to face Wayne State. St. Cloud State and North Dakota are idle this weekend.
With a sweep over Minnesota State, the Golden Gophers earned some much needed points in the WCHA standings. The Golden Gophers enter the weekend tied for fourth overall with MSU (15 points). North Dakota currently leads the league in points with 23 in 12 games played. Both Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth will look to move up as both teams have 21 points. Wisconsin has only played in eight conference games so far this season. Following Minnesota and MSU is Bemidji State with 14 points, while Ohio State has 11. St. Cloud State has yet to earn a point in conference play.