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College Women’s Hockey Preview: Minnesota Duluth at St. Cloud State

Minnesota Duluth at St. Cloud State What: WCHA series When: 7:07 p.m. Friday/3:07 p.m. Saturday Where: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center Records: UMD 6-4-2 overall, 3-4-1-1 in WCHA; St. Cloud State is 5-4-1 and 2-1-1-1 Rankings: The Bulldogs are...

Minnesota Duluth at St. Cloud State

What: WCHA series

When: 7:07 p.m. Friday/3:07 p.m. Saturday

Where: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center

Records: UMD 6-4-2 overall, 3-4-1-1 in WCHA; St. Cloud State is 5-4-1 and 2-1-1-1

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Rankings: The Bulldogs are ninth in the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls; St. Cloud State is unranked

Series: The Bulldogs lead 50-10-4 after going 2-1-1 last year

Coaches: Shannon Miller, in her 16th season at UMD, is 369-136-47; Eric Rud, in his first season at St. Cloud State, is 5-4-1

Internet: http://portal.stretchinternet.com/scsu

St. Cloud State update: After winning only four games a year ago, Rud has led the Huskies to five wins in 10 games so far. St. Cloud State hasn’t won 10 or more games since 2009-10 when it won 15 and has won five or fewer games in three of the last four seasons. Rud, an assistant for the Huskies’ men’s program from 2005-10, returned to St. Cloud after spending 2010-11 in the USHL coaching the Green Bay Gamblers and 2011-14 as an assistant at his alma mater Colorado College. Rud is assisted by Steve Macdonald, who had been an assistant coach for Miller at UMD from 2011-14. Grand Rapids native and WCHA offensive player of the week Molly Illikainen (seven goals, four assists, 11 points) leads the Huskies in scoring and helped the team post its first weekend sweep since Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2012. The junior forward whose father, Darin, played hockey for UMD and mother, Mary, played basketball for the Bulldogs, transferred this season after two years at Providence College. Her seven goals account for 28 percent of the Huskies scoring and she has a plus-8 rating.

UMD update: The Bulldogs head to St. Cloud State off a bye week in which three players - Tea Villila for Finland and Michelle Lowenhielm and Linea Hedin for Sweden - participated in the Four Nations Cup while Katerina Mrazova traveled with the Czech Republic national team to Japan. The Four Nations participants returned to practice Wednesday and Mrazova didn’t return until Thursday. Before the bye week, UMD extended its win streak to five games via a home sweep of Minnesota State-Mankato. Sophomore forward Ashleigh Brykaliuk has scored in the Bulldogs’ previous four victories, including two goals and two assists on Nov. 2 against the Mavericks to earn her WCHA offensive player of the week honors following the series. Jenna McParland, Zoe Hickel and Lowenhielm are on three-game point streaks. Hickel’s seven goals lead the Bulldogs and she is tied with Brykaliuk (six goals, five assists) for the scoring lead with 11 points. The Bulldogs, who are tied for fourth in the WCHA with North Dakota at 11 points, take a week off from league play again next week when they host Cornell at Amsoil Arena. It’s the final home series for the Bulldogs in 2014. The Bulldogs return to WCHA play Nov. 28-29 with a trip to Bemidji State, followed by a series at Ohio State.

Quote: “I’m excited to actually see us play this weekend because I felt that we picked up momentum and got into a really good team rhythm and got strong, and then obviously had a break.” - Miller

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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