The Gophers women's hockey team begins the season with a Friday-Saturday series vs. Colgate at Ridder Arena.

They're No. 1: The Gophers were unanimously selected as the nation's top-ranked team in both the and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. They also were unanimous No. 1 choices in both preseason polls in 2003-04 and 2004-05, when they won back-to-back NCAA titles.

Raty's back: Goaltender Noora Raty has 76 career victories and needs eight more to break Jody Horak's school record. Raty won 34 games last year to set a Gophers single-season record and led the nation with a goals-against average of 1.35.

New faces: Hannah Brandt -- the preseason choice as WCHA rookie of the year -- and Milica McMillen highlight a strong freshman class. Brandt (Hill-Murray H.S.) won a gold medal with the U.S. under-18 team at the 2011 world championships and was Minnesota's Ms. Hockey in 2012. McMillen (Breck) won gold at the 2010 U-18 worlds and tallied 278 points in six high school seasons.

The WCHA: Wisconsin is ranked No. 2 and North Dakota is No. 5 in both preseason polls; Minnesota Duluth is ranked seventh by USA Today and eighth by The Gophers get an early test with back-to-back road series at North Dakota (Oct. 27-28) and at UMD (Nov. 2-3); Wisconsin comes to Ridder Arena on Dec. 1-2.

Staying home: The Gophers could play all their postseason games at Ridder Arena. The WCHA Final Face-Off and the NCAA Frozen Four both will be held on their home ice, and the first round of league playoffs and the NCAA quarterfinals will be hosted by the highest-seeded team.