UMD women return from long break to host top-ranked Wisconsin
What: A Western Collegiate Hockey Association series between Wisconsin (18-0-2 overall, 12-0-2-1 WCHA) and UMD (12-6-2, 7-5-2) When: 7:07 p.m. today and 3:07 p.m. Sunday Where: DECC (5,233) Radio: WGEE 970 AM Rankings: UMD is ranked No. 3 in the U.S.
What: A Western Collegiate Hockey Association series between Wisconsin (18-0-2 overall, 12-0-2-1 WCHA) and UMD (12-6-2, 7-5-2)
When: 7:07 p.m. today and 3:07 p.m. Sunday
Where: DECC (5,233)
Radio: WGEE 970 AM
Rankings: UMD is ranked No. 3 in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll. Wisconsin is No. 1.
All-time series: The Bulldogs lead 22-15-8.
PROBABLE UMD LINES
* Elin Holmlov-Haley Irwin-Pernilla Winberg
* Laura Fridfinnson-Saara Tuominen-Sara O'Toole
* Heidi Pelttari-Tawni Mattila-Erin Olson
* Justine Fisher-Libby Guzzo-Kacy Ambroz
* Jocelyne Larocque-Myriam Trepanier
* Jaime Rasmussen-Sarah Murray
* Tara Gray-Jenni Asserholt
* Kim Martin
* Johanna Ellison
* Lana Steck
* Emmanuelle Blais (ankle)
It's time for Minnesota Duluth players to dust off their skates after nearly a month since their last game.
The Bulldogs, who haven't played since a 3-0 nonconference victory over Princeton on Dec. 14, host top-ranked Wisconsin in a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series at7:07 p.m. today and at3:07 p.m. Sunday at the DECC.
The Badgers (18-0-2 overall, 12-0-2-1 WCHA) haven't played a game that counted since beating St. Cloud State 6-2 on Dec. 6. They beat the United States Select team 3-2 in an exhibition game Jan. 2 in Madison.
"We had a 90-minute practice [Friday]. That was our first and only practice before playing Wisconsin as a full team," UMD coach Shannon Miller said. "But it went well. We covered what we needed to. We're good to go."
The Bulldogs -- 12-6-2,7-5-2 and ranked No. 3 in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll -- had eight players participate in the MLP Cup for under-22 national teams, which began Jan. 2 and ended Tuesday in Ravensburg, Germany. Sweden, which featured UMD freshmen Pernilla Winberg and Jenni Asserholt, defeated Canada 2-1 in the gold-medal game on Tuesday.
UMD players Em-manuelle Blais, Laura Fridfinnson, Haley Irwin and Jocelyne Larocque played for Canada, while Heidi Pelttari and Saara Tuominen represented Finland at the tournament. The players returned at midnight Thursday and the rest of the Bulldogs practiced in Duluth.
"The ones that were over in Germany playing for their respective national teams are going to be really solid in team play, and they're going to have game legs under them because they've been playing games," Miller said. "The ones that were back here are the 12 skaters that were training. We did a lot of individual skill development, and so they probably feel better prepared as an individual to play. It's pieces, and we've got to bring it together to make a whole."
The teams -- which faced off for the 2007 and 2008 NCAA titles -- previously met on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in Madison, where UMD lost 2-1 and tied 2-2. Wisconsin earned an extra WCHA point by winning a shootout 1-0 after the series finale ended tied.
Blais suffered a stress fracture in her right ankle while playing in Germany and is expected to be out three weeks, Miller said. The loss of the third-line winger could create a hole, especially since the junior has five goals and four assists in 11 games against the Badgers.
Sophomore center Haley Irwin also has been productive against the Badgers, collecting four goals and four assists in six career games against Wisconsin.
"Whenever you play a big team, I think you try to bring your best game. You work harder because you know that they're going to bring their best," she said. "When you battle and battle, eventually something's going to go in."