The No. 2-ranked Gophers women’s hockey team opens the WCHA playoffs against Ohio State at 7 p.m. Friday at Ridder Arena. It’s a best-of-three series in which No. 2 seed Minnesota (29-3-1) is the heavy favorite against the Buckeyes (10-23-1), the No. 7 seed.
The Gophers have a 38-game unbeaten streak vs. Ohio State (36-0-2) dating to February 2008. Four of those wins came this season, and in those games Minnesota outscored the Buckeyes 30-5.
Dani Cameranesi leads the Gophers in scoring with 28 goals and 33 assists for 61 points, which puts her fourth nationally. Also in the top 10 in scoring are teammates Hannah Brandt (24-30—54), Sarah Potomak (12-37—49) and Kelly Pannek (21-24—45).
Minnesota is averaging 4.9 goals per game, second in the nation, and its power play is humming at 47.2 percent — 15 percent clear of any other team.
In goal, Amanda Leveille of the Gophers has a 1.34 goals-against average, the fifth-best in Division I.
Jenny Potter, a former Gopher and UMD hockey player, is the first-year coach at OSU. A trio of her players, including sophomore defenseman Dani Sadek of Lakeville, lead the Buckeyes in points with 20 apiece. Goalie Alex LaMere has a 3.11 goals-against average.
• Cameranesi and Brandt are two of the 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier, presented annually to the top player in women’s hockey. North Dakota goalie Shelby Amsley-Benzie, of Warroad, Minn., is another finalist. The top three will be announced Thursday and the winner on March 19.