One month into the season, the Gophers women’s hockey team sits undefeated at 8-0, pushed a bit with one overtime victory and showing its power by outscoring opponents by a combined 40-9. The schedule, however, stiffens for the second-ranked Gophers, first with a trip to No. 9 Ohio State for games at 5 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday, then with a home series against No. 1 Wisconsin on Nov. 2 and 3.
“We’ve certainly liked what we’ve had through the first month of the season,’’ Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “… After these two weekends, we’ll know a little more of where we’re at.’’
The Gophers (4-0 WCHA) have rolled so far with a dominant top line of Taylor Heise centering Grace Zumwinkle and Alex Wolken. The trio has combined for 17 goals and 23 assists.
“They all bring something a little different to the table,’’ Frost said. “Heise has really taken another step in her game. Grace Zumwinkle is playing with a little more grit, getting to the net a little bit more. And Alex Wolken, a senior who’s having a career year, brings a lot of speed and tenacity on the puck. The three of them complement each other very well.’’
Goalie Sydney Scobee has started seven games, boasting a 1.09 goals-against average, .949 save percentage and two shutouts. She’ll face an Ohio State team that relies on the line of Emma Maltais, Liz Schepers and Tatum Skaggs, which has combined for 12 goals and 18 assists.
Ohio State coach Nadine Muzerall, a former standout player and assistant coach for the Gophers, led her team to the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four, where the Buckeyes (4-2-2, 2-2-2 WCHA) fell 1-0 in the semifinals to eventual champion Clarkson. Frost is impressed with the job his former assistant has done.
“The progression of their team and program has been pretty drastic,’’ he said. “They’ve done some really good things. She’s brought some stability to that program, and her kids play really, really hard for her. … We know we’re going to be up against it this weekend, but we’re looking forward to it.’’