Defending Conference Champion Minnesota Ups WCHA Lead to Seven Points
MADISON, Wis. – The defending Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season champion Minnesota Golden Gophers extended their lead in the 2009-10 race to seven points over the Jan. 8-9 weekend by winning twice over visiting Ohio State, 5-2 and 6-0. Minnesota improved to 7-0-1 over their last eight league contests.
In the two other WCHA series contested this weekend, Wisconsin came back from a 3-1 loss to host North Dakota on Friday to post a 2-0 shutout win on Saturday while host Bemidji State followed up a 2-2 overtime tie with Minnesota State, Mankato on Friday with a 2-0 shutout victory on Saturday. Both Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State were idle.
As a result of weekend play and through 16 league games for each of the eight member teams, Minnesota (17-3-2, 13-2-1-1 WCHA) continues out front with 28 points, followed by Minnesota Duluth (13-7-2, 9-5-2-1 WCHA) and Wisconsin (13-6-3, 10-5-1 WCHA) tied for second place with 21 points apiece. Bemidji State (7-11-4, 6-6-4-3 WCHA) is just two points back of the Bulldogs and Badgers in fourth place with 19 points, Ohio State (9-9-4, 6-8-2 WCHA) is fifth with 14 points, St. Cloud State (8-10-4, 5-9-2-1 WCHA) is sixth with 13, Minnesota State (4-11-5, 2-9-5-3 WCHA) is seventh with 12, and North Dakota (5-12-3, 4-11-1 WCHA) is eighth with nine points.
At Ridder Arena in Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon, the host Golden Gophers received 10 points from the line of left winger Emily West (1g, 2a), center Sarah Erickson (4a) and right winger Brittany Francis (1g, 2a) while goaltender Alyssa Grogan stopped all 26 shots on goal in a 6-0 WCHA victory over Ohio State before 1,358. Minnesota had points from nine players in the game with West netting her league-best seventh game-winner of the season and defenseman Anne Schleper also contributed a pair of goals. Neither team was able to score on the power-play, as UM was 0-of-4 and the Buckeyes were 0-of-5.
At Urban Plains Center in Fargo, N.D., on Saturday evening, visiting Wisconsin downed host North Dakota 2-0 before 741 to gain a weekend WCHA series split, as goaltender Becca Ruegsegger stopped all 26 shots on goal and center Brooke Ammerman netted the game-winner at 6:07 of the first period. Also scoring for the Badgers was left winger Jasmine Giles, who had an empty-netter at 19:24 of the third period. For the Sioux, goaltender Jorid Dagfinrud had 37 saves.
And at John Glas Fieldhouse in Bemidji on Saturday, Beavers’ goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova came up with a 37-save shutout and left winger Erin Johnson scored the game-winner at 3:17 of period one as BSU won their WCHA meeting with Minnesota State before 176. Also scoring for Bemidji State were right winger Annie Bauerfeld on a power-play at 3:50 of the first period and defenseman Kierstin Visser on a power-play at 19:29 of the second period.
This Week in the WCHA
Results of Tuesday, January 5: Team USA 9 at Wisconsin 0 (x).
Results of Friday, January 8: Ohio State 2 at Minnesota 5 (WCHA); Minnesota State 2 at Bemidji State 2 ot (WCHA); Wisconsin 1 at North Dakota 3 (@ Urban Plains Center, Fargo, ND) (WCHA).
Results of Saturday, January 9: Minnesota State 0 at Bemidji State 3 (WCHA); Ohio State 0 at Minnesota 6 (WCHA); Wisconsin 2 at North Dakota 0 (@ Urban Plains Center, Fargo, ND) (WCHA).