The Gophers play at Alaska Anchorage, but most eyes in the WCHA will be looking at another matchup: Wisconsin, rated No. 2 in the national polls, at No.9 UMD.
The odd thing is, the lower rated Bulldogs lead the WCHA while the Badgers are tied for fourth. P.S. The Gophers still play both these teams.
Here is a slightly edited news release from UMD:
Minnesota Duluth, which was swept by Bemidji State last weekend, will put its five-game WCHA winning streak on the line Friday and Saturday when the Bulldogs play host to the
University of Wisconsin. Faceoff for both ends of the weekend series is
set for 7:07 p.m. at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center
(5,294 seating capacity; 190’ x 85’).
The defending WCHA playoff champion Bulldogs are 16-9-1
in all games,12-5-1 in the conference. Wisconsin, 6-1-3 in its last 10 games, is 14-6-4 overall, and
tied for fourth place with Colorado College in the WCHA.
UMD is seventh in the latest PairWise rankings, Wisconsin is tied for third.
This weekend’s series can be accessed on the internet at: www.fan1490.com.
The Badgers hold a 86-56-13 lead in the all-time series which began on Jan. 6, 1968 in Madison, Wis. and have posted a 35-33-8 all-time record at the DECC. UMD was 1-2-1 one year ago against Wisconsin with the lone win -- a 1-0 shutout by junior goaltender Alex Stalock -- coming on Jan. 31 in Duluth.
The Bulldogs were swept for the first time in 2009-10, dropping both ends of a home-and home series with then No. 14 Bemidji State (a 4-1 road setback on Friday and a 5-4 overtime loss the following evening at the DECC.)
Sophomore center Jack Connolly’s power play goal late in the third period was all the offense UMD could muster in the opener.
UMD got goals from four different players -- junior defenseman Chad Huttel, senior
left winger Jordan Fulton, sophomore center Travis Oleksuk and freshman
right winger Mike Seidel (a highlight-reel shot from his knees) -- and
outshot the Beavers 35-24 on Saturday, only to have the visitors score
with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
Wisconsin skated off with three of a possible four points in a WCHA home
set with Denver, following up a 3-3 tie Friday with a
4-3 triumph one night later.
This series features the WCHA’s two most potent two offensive clubs (Wisconsin is averaging a league-best
4.00 overall goals a game while UMD is next at 3.46) and the top eight individual league scorers in UMD’s Jack Connolly (No. 1), Justin Fontaine (No. 2), Mike Connolly (No. 3) and Rob Bordson (No. 5) and Wisconsin’s Blake Geoffrion (No. 4), Brendan Smith (No. 5) and Derek Stepan (No. 5).
The Bulldogs have cashed in on 24.2 percent of its power play attempts -- the third best average in the NCAA. They’ve also scored at least one man advantage goal in 22 of their 26 games this season.
Junior left right winger Justin Fontaine of UMD continues to lead the nation in power play goals with 12 and is tied
for third in overall goals (16).
This will be the only two times UMD and Wisconsin will
butt heads during the 2009-10 regular season ... UMD has used a 9-2-0
league run to vault into sole possession of first place in the WCHA
The Bulldogs are 15-1-1 (with the lone loss coming to Bemidji State this past Saturday) when they’ve scored
three or more times this winter and are just 1-8-1 when they’ve failed
to do so.
UMD has outscored the opposition 57-37 at home this winter while rolling up a 10-5-0 record.