By: Max Wolpoff
The last time the Golden Gophers and Terriers faced off, it was a 5-2 win for hosts from the Twin Cities. Freshman Rebecca Leslie scored her first two collegiate goals and Erin O’Neil made 23 saves in her first collegiate start. That was October 4, 2014.
Fast-forward over two years and Minnesota is still at the top of the college hockey mountain, riding high after a second consecutive national title. BU has fallen out of the top-10 in the rankings, but remains one of the NCAA’s top teams.
After getting hit into the boards last Saturday, BU junior Rebecca Leslie was held out of practice on Wednesday. Team sources said she is still day-to-day, but “feeling better.” Should Leslie play this weekend, she sits three points shy of the century mark.
Leslie, along with Victoria Bach, was recently selected to play for Team Canada at the upcoming Nations Cup in Germany and Austria. The latest update on Leslie is that she will be a game-time decision.
Minnesota vs. Boston University: 7 p.m. Friday (9th), 3 p.m. Saturday (10th)
Site: Walter Brown Arena
Commentators: Dan Shulman and Max Wolpoff
#2 MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS — 14-2-2 (2 shootout wins), 12-2-2 (2 shootout wins) WCHA, 3.39 goals per game (5th NCAA), 1.61 goals alowed per game (4th NCAA)
Minnesota’s roster boasts the NCAA leader in goals (Dani Cameranesi – 18), assists (Kelly Pannek – 26), and points (Pannek – 34). Goaltender Sidney Peters ranks in the top-five in goals against average (4th, 1.39) and shutouts (T-3rd, 5).
After their top-three scorers, there is a drop-off in points production. Following Sarah Potomak at 27 points is Kate Schipper at 11 and Lee Stecklein at nine. 11 players have five or fewer points on the season.
In their last six games, the Golden Gophers are 3-1-2, winning both ties in the shootout. Both matchups against then-#9 North Dakota went to the skills competition after 65 minutes of action. Each time, the game ended 2-2. Minnesota followed that weekend with a sweep of Bemidji State, 4-0 and 4-1 wins.
Then came the trip to Wisconsin for a date with the #1 Badgers. In this duel of heavyweights, the Badgers finished with the aggregate win, but the Gophers took game one by a 2-0 final. Wisconsin came into that matchup with a 13-game unbeaten streak, including two ties.
Catilin Reilly and Megan Wolfe scored the lone goals for Minnesota in the 8-2 romp from Wisconsin the following day. Peters was yanked after two periods of play, finishing with 13 saves and six goals allowed. Serena D’Angelo let in two more goals, stopping nine shots in relief.
This split followed a pattern from Minnesota when challenging ranked opponents. In five games against teams ranked in the USCHO.com top-10 poll, Minnesota is 2-1-2, with one win coming in overtime against Minnesota-Duluth.
BOSTON UNIVERSITY TERRIERS — 11-6-1, 7-6-0 Hockey East, 3.72 goals per game (3rd NCAA), 2.72 goals allowed per game (21st NCAA)
BU saw their six-game winning streak end against Connecticut last weekend. The Saturday loss marked only their second loss at home. The other came against Northeastern in late October. The streak finished two games shy of the mark set in 2013-14 for best streak in program history.
The loss also marked the end of Mary Parker’s nine-game goal streak and ten-game point streak. Parker, the reigning Hockey East Player of the Month, is two goals behind Cameranesi for the national lead in goals.
Someone familiar with the Golden Gophers is Nina Rodgers. In her two seasons at Minnesota, she scored 15 points on nine goals and six assists. In her debut season with BU, she already has four goals and 12 assists for 16 points, tied for fifth on the team in points and second in helpers.
Centering these two on the first line is Victoria Bach. She enters this weekend with 107 career points, one point shy of Louise Warren for 7th on BU’s all-time leaderboard and four away from Jenn Wakefield.
Senior Maddie Elia enters the weekend with 93 career points. The Buffalo Beauts draft pick has yet to have a multi-goal game this season, but has had six multi-point contests. She led all Terriers in faceoffs with 15 wins on 18 draws in the Saturday loss to UCONN.
In goal, Victoria Hanson’s run of consecutive wins came to an end with the loss to the Huskies. Thanks to those seven games, Hanson improved her numbers to a .931 save percentage (11th NCAA) and a 2.16 goals against average (20th NCAA). Erin O’Neil, sitting at 29 career wins, has not played since November 18 against Maine, a 4-1 loss.
The defense looks unchanged from the start of the season. Alexis Crossley got shots from the blue line tipped on net for two assists against the Huskies last weekend. She enters with nine points, best among Terrier defenders. Close behind is D-partner Savannah Newton with eight assists, seven of which came as secondary assists.
Sammy Davis scored in both contests against Connecticut in the same manner: a Crossley slap-shot with her standing in front of the net. Each time, the shot glided along the ice until Davis tipped it up to the top-corner of the net. She is on a four-game point streak of her own.
All-time, the Terriers are 0-4-0 against the Golden Gophers. Minnesota has outscored BU 20-8 in those four games