The fourth-ranked Gophers women’s hockey team will conclude its regular season against No. 1 Wisconsin this weekend at Ridder Arena. Both games in the Saturday-Sunday series will start at 3 p.m.
“We’re very excited,” Gophers defenseman and captain Lee Stecklein said. “It doesn’t take much to get excited for Wisconsin.”
The Badgers (27-2-2, 22-2-2-2 WCHA) clinched their second consecutive and sixth overall conference regular-season title with an 8-0 rout of Minnesota Duluth last Sunday.
The Gophers (23-5-3, 19-4-3-2) are the two-time defending NCAA champions. Minnesota split a series in Madison, Wis., in early December, winning the opener 2-0, then losing 8-2.
“Wisconsin brings out the best in us, we bring out the best in them,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said.
Wisconsin is on a 14-game unbeaten streak since that loss to the Gophers.
Minnesota will honor its six seniors — Dani Cameranesi, Kelsey Cline, Paige Haley, Kate Schipper, Stecklein and Megan Wolfe — before Sunday’s game. In their four seasons, the Gophers are 132-14-9, an 88.1 winning percentage.
While a title is not at stake in this series, NCAA seeding is. Wisconsin is No. 1 in the PairWise rankings, a statistical comparison which mimics how the NCAA selection committee seeds its postseason field and picks at-large teams. The Gophers are No. 3 in PairWise behind Minnesota Duluth.