Women’s College Hockey Series of the Week: No. 7 Minnesota Duluth vs No. 12 St. Cloud State

Story posted February 24, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Logan Bourandas

The WCHA Playoffs are about to get underway and the biggest series in that bracket features a battle between two Minnesota teams.

No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth enters the tournament looking to continue its hot streak to a potential Frozen Four appearance which it will serve as the host team.

They take on No. 12 St. Cloud State who is coming off a big series sweep to close out the regular season against No. 15 Minnesota State.

The three-game series is set to start on Friday in Duluth for each game.

Minnesota-Duluth has recorded a point in each of its last six games to finish the season which includes a win and a tie against St. Cloud State in the middle of the run.

Overall, the Bulldogs finished with a record of 23-8-3 and a 17-8-3 mark in the WCHA good enough for a fourth-place finish in the conference.

The Bulldogs were led by a stellar season from graduate student forward Gabbie Hughes who led the team with 45 points on the year.

Hughes has been known to turn things up in postseason play, recording the program’s first-ever NCAA postseason natural hat trick against Harvard and finishing it all by tying a program record with four goals in the NCAA Tournament.

Graduate-student goaltender Emma Soderberg has been lights out in net putting up a goals against average of 1.42 with a .935 save percentage continuing onto a career that has made her one of the best netminders in program history.

As for St. Cloud State, it did win the final two games of the season but prior to that had come out with one win in its last two series.

That kept the Huskies in fifth place in the WCHA with an 18-16-1 record and an 11-16-1 record in the conference.

St. Cloud State finished the season 18 points behind the Bulldogs in the conference standings.

The Huskies have four 20-point scorers this season led by fifth-year forward Jenniina Nylund with 28.

In net, the Huskies have an even split between two goaltenders as both juniors Sanni Ahola and Jojo Chobak have at least 16 starts.

Both goaltenders have nine wins, have their goals against average separated by .01 with Chobak leading with 2.46 and their save percentage separated by .02 as Ahola has the advantage at .923.

During the regular season, Minnesota-Duluth won three out of four meetings with St. Cloud State as the final meeting of the season ended in a 1-1 tie.

The Bulldogs are looking for their first postseason title since 2010 in a season where they also captured the conference’s regular season title as well as the NCAA national championship.

It’s a different story for St. Cloud State however begins the hunt for its first conference championship in program history.

The winner of this series will face the winner of Ohio State and Bemidji State with the chance to go to the WCHA conference championship.

Logan Bourandas is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.