Women’s College Hockey Game of the Week: No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 3 Wisconsin

Story posted November 18, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Joshua Bartosik

A top-five matchup will take place this coming weekend in Wisconsin when the No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers battle it out against the No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers.

The Golden Gophers have had a near-perfect start to their season, with a 9-1-1 record, including massive wins over No. 2 Ohio State and No. 7 Minnesota Duluth. They currently sit second in the WCHA standings, right above the Badgers.

They are led by fifth-year forward Grace Zumwinkle, whose 17 points lead Minnesota. The emergence of Abbey Murphy has also been an added bonus, with a team-best nine goals in 11 games.

The high-functioning offense of the Golden Gophers has been on display all season long, averaging 4.8 goals per game and 39.3 shots per game. Not only does Minnesota score at a torrent pace, but they are also extremely efficient at stifling their opponents.

The Golden Gophers hold their opponents to just 24.3 shots per game and 2.1 goals per game. Sophomore netminder Skylar Vetter has been a huge component of their stout defense, with a .917 save percentage and 2.04 goals against average.

While Minnesota is a well-oiled machine that is virtually unstoppable this season, there has been one weakness, the penalty kill.

The Golden Gophers have already given up eight power-play goals this season, and are currently sitting at an abysmal 75.8%.

Luckily for Minnesota, Wisconsin’s power play has only scored seven times on 43 attempts, for a meddling 16.3%.

Despite a lackluster power play, Wisconsin has the best offense in the nation, averaging nearly six goals per game and over 45 shots on net per game as well.

The Badgers have nine players with double-digit point totals in the early season, including two players with 19 points, Lacey Eden and Carolina Harvey.

Lacy has been on fire as of late, riding a four-game goal streak and a six-game point streak dating back to Oct. 14.

As for Harvey, she has exploded in the past three games, with three goals and five points in that span.

The scorching hot offense of the Badgers has helped them win 10 out of their last 11 contests, including wins over Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State, sitting right behind Minnesota in the WCHA.

Along with the best offense, Wisconsin is also stifling their opponents to an astounding 17 shots per game and just 1.2 shots per game.

A large part of the success on the defensive front is thanks to the two-headed monster in net of Jane Gervais and Cami Kronish.

The two puck-stoppers have each played six games, with Gervais posting a .935 save percentage and 1.33 goals against average while Kronish has a .938 save percentage and 0.83 goals against average.

With two of the best offenses and defenses in the nation, this series should be one of the best of the season.

Joshua Bartosik is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jsb6137@psu.edu.