University of Minnesota
January 15, 2013
Noora Räty made 22 saves in Saturday's game against North Dakota to earn her 96th career victory. The Finnish native is now only four wins away from tying the NCAA record for career victories (100).
Photo: U Athletics
The women’s hockey team continued its remarkable roll with a weekend sweep of North Dakota
There was reason for the Gopher women’s hockey team to be nervous about North Dakota coming to town this past weekend. After all, the last game Minnesota lost was to UND, 2-1 in overtime, on February 17 of last year. And since the 2009-10 season, UND has notched five wins over the Gophers, including three at Ridder Arena.
You had a sense that the team led by the Lamoureux twins, who left the Gophers program after one season, would give Minnesota quite a challenge, and that played out on the ice Friday and Saturday.
The Gophers responded with a pair of 6-3 victories (identical scores but vastly different games) to run their winning streak to an NCAA-record 30 games. They’re running out of records to chase, but this leaves them two games shy of Wisconsin’s record of 32 straight games without a loss, a mark that’s in reach with a pair of games this weekend at Minnesota State Mankato.
Get a load of these numbers
The 2012-2013 Gophers, the defending national champions, have put up some utterly jaw-dropping numbers this year—and even going back to last year—from home and road winning streaks to offensive production and lock-down defense. For instance:
• The consecutive victory streak now stands at 30 games, an NCAA record. By extension, the streak of wins or ties is also at 30, two short of the record held by Wisconsin.
• The Gophers have won 17 consecutive games on the road, also an NCAA record. They broke Mercyhurst’s record of 15 on December 7.
• Heading into the North Dakota series, Minnesota had outscored its opponents this year by a margin of 114-12. That means the Gophers averaged scoring nearly six goals a game while giving up .6 goals a game. In 20 games, they had never allowed more than two goals a game while shutting out their opponents 11 times. Stingy, indeed.
• Here is the most remarkable stat of all. Heading into the UND series, the Gophers had trailed just once this season. They fell behind North Dakota 1-0 early in the second period of a game on October 28, but that lead lasted only 39 second before Megan Bozek notched a power play goal. To repeat, for the first three and a half months of the season, out of 1,200 minutes (or 72,000 seconds) of game time, Minnesota was only behind for 39 seconds.
A good challenge from North Dakota
Gaudy numbers aside, Minnesota met a good match in North Dakota. After falling behind Friday evening 5-0, the visitors netted three goals in the final seven minutes of the game and became the first team to outshoot the Gophers (35-25) this year. Junior Amanda Kessel’s four goals were the difference.
Saturday’s contest was tight from start to finish, despite the final score. The game was tied at 3 in the third period until Rachel Ramsey scored on a power-play wrist shot from near the blue line with 11:00 remaining. Kessel accounted for the final score with two goals (her 30th and 31st) in the final minute—one on a nifty breakaway move and the other an empty netter.
Minnesota’s 30th consecutive win actually caused fans to stir a bit. Even though the Gophers had a number of great scoring chances in the first period, they fell behind UND 1:59 into the game. And they continued to trail for the next 27:06, until Rachael Bona knotted the game 9:05 into the second period.
In a year of impressive statistics, playing from behind for half a game was one for the books.