Brawl in mind, composure is focus against UND

Jen Schoullis said emotions were high in October versus the Sioux

by Samuel Gordon

Eighteenth century English historian Edward Gibbon once said, âÄúRevenge is profitable.âÄù This rings especially true for the Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team this weekend as it looks to exact revenge on WCHA rival North Dakota.

The Sioux handed the Gophers their first two losses of the season back in October in a series that was memorable as much for its extracurricular activities as what actually happened during the game.

Both teams threw punches after the final whistle of their Oct. 15 game. Following the scuffle, 70 penalty minutes were assessed to the two teams, including game misconduct penalties to Sarah Erickson and Jen Schoullis of Minnesota and to Sara Dagenais and Ashley Holmes of North Dakota.

As far as this weekendâÄôs series goes, Schoullis knows that keeping emotions at a bay will be important.

âÄúWe just got to play our game and do the little things and not get frustrated if things arenâÄôt going our way,âÄù Schoullis said.

âÄúEmotions were definitely high last time we played them. If we concentrate on ourselves, everything will be alright.âÄù

Although the Gophers have home-ice throughout the WCHA tournament, a sweep against the Sioux would be quite profitable, as it would clinch the number two seed, and make their route to the championship a bit easier.

âÄúTo have the second seed, to have home ice is going to be crucial I think,âÄù assistant coach Natalie Darwitz said.

âÄúWhen we get to the WCHA tournament here at Ridder Arena, weâÄôre already guaranteed first round. Not looking ahead, but we have to win that round.âÄù

Sweeping North Dakota will be no easy task. The Sioux are currently ranked No. 8 and have the fifth and seventh leading scorers in the nation, twins Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux. Neutralizing them will be essential.

âÄúThey work really well together. I think we know that, and they play off of each other,âÄù defender Anne Schleper said of the twins.

âÄúIf we take them out of the game, then thatâÄôs something that we can take advantage of our first line being out there and things like that, but otherwise, weâÄôre just going to play the way we play first and worry about them later.âÄù

Minnesota will have the assistance of All-American goalie Noora Raty after not having her for the first matchup between the teams. Raty set a single-season school record for shutouts when she recorded her ninth of the season last weekend against Bemidji State.

This weekend will be the last of the WCHA regular season. If the season ended today, the WCHA playoffs would have No. 1 Wisconsin host Saint Cloud State, while No. 3 Minnesota would host Minnesota State. No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth would host Ohio State, and No. 8 North Dakota would host Bemdiji State.

âÄúIâÄôm sure [North Dakota has] improved, but I know that weâÄôve improved,âÄù Schoullis said. âÄúWeâÄôre just going to concentrate on us, our game and not worry about them too much, and I think the better team will win this weekend.âÄù