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Series Preview: Minnesota at Minnesota-Duluth

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The #2 and #4 teams face off for the second time in the season this weekend.

Will the Gophers be celebrating in Duluth this weekend?
gophersports.com

College hockey is back, and this weekend finds two powerhouses in the WCHA facing off against each other once again. In October, the Gophers walked away with two wins at home versus the Bulldogs in a hard-fought series. This weekend, anything can happen. Both teams will be bringing their A game as they look for their first win after the semester break. What’s to be expected this weekend?

Offense Offense Offense

These are two teams that know how to find the back of the net. In a fun statistical happenstance, Gophers players Dani Cameranesi (18G 13A) and Sarah Potomak (13G 18A) both have 31 points on the season so far. Potomak had several goals in Minnesota’s last series against Minnesota-Duluth, so she is definitely a player to watch. Another player who had multiple goals in that series? Minnesota-Duluth’s Lara Stalder. Stalder had two goals in one period in her last game against the Gophers. She now has 27 points (9G 18A) on the season. Her teammate and captain, Ashleigh Brykaliuk, has 24 points (12G 12A). The duo of Brykaliuk and Stalder is lightning, and a good match for the Gophers.

All About that Goaltending

The other noteworthy topic when two offense heavy teams meet? Goaltending, and neither team is lacking in that department. In the net for the Gophers is junior Sidney Peters, and for the Bulldogs, sophomore Maddie Rooney. The two goaltenders have very similar and impressive statistics: they’ve each started over 20 games thus far in the season; Rooney has a 1.64 GAA and .940 SV%, while Peters has a 1.68 GAA and a .907 SV%. Rooney had a career performance in the last series against the Gophers, and Peters has been a rock all season. It’s a good thing both teams are well equipped offensively, because it’s hard to get a puck past either goaltender.

Home Ice Advantage?

Minnesota-Duluth has fairly similar records at home and on the road this season, but the Gophers do not. Minnesota is a perfect 10-0-0 at home this season, but their away record shows a bit more vulnerability at 5-3-2. Could this be the difference maker when these two evenly matched teams face off this weekend? It’s very possible.

Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth play Friday at 3:07PM CST (televised in parts of the upper Midwest on Fox Sports North) and on Saturday at 3:07PM CST.