Gophers set to renew rivalry

Minnesota hosts UMD for a two-game series this weekend.

by John Hageman

A rivalry will be renewed this weekend as the No. 2 Gophers take on No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth at Ridder Arena on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. Minnesota (4-0 overall, 2-0 WCHA) was 2-1-1 against the Bulldogs last year, taking both victories in Duluth. Last year, UMD reached the Frozen Four but lost to eventual champion Wisconsin in the semifinals. The Bulldogs are 3-1 so far this year, with its only loss coming against Robert Morris in the second game of the year. UMD may be the first nationally ranked team the Gophers have played all year, but head coach Brad Frost said that it doesnâÄôt change how he prepares his team. âÄúI know itâÄôs cliché, but it doesnâÄôt matter who we play,âÄù Frost said. âÄúWe need to play our best.âÄù Playing her best last weekend was MinnesotaâÄôs sophomore Sarah Erickson, who was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for her five goals against Ohio State, but she said that it says more about the offense than about her. âÄúObviously weâÄôre producing right now,âÄù Erickson said. âÄúEverybody is getting goals right now and thatâÄôs big.âÄù Senior Chelsey Jones won the same award just a week before after helping the Gophers beat Syracuse and said that the award has no effect on her game. In four games this year, the Gophers have spent 59 minutes in the penalty box, which Frost said the team will need to change in order to win this weekend. âÄúItâÄôs something we have been preaching since day one,âÄù Frost said. âÄúDuluth is a very skilled team, and we want to try and limit their chances, and one way to do that is staying out of the box.âÄù UMD is missing six players this year âÄî the most of any team in the nation âÄî due to the Olympics forcing players to take a redshirt year to centralize with their teams. This leaves just 19 players to carry the load. The Gophers have 22 players. The Bulldogs have some young talent on the ice in Katie Wilson, who was named the WCHA Rookie of the Week after scoring four points against St. Cloud State last weekend. Junior Laura Fridfinnson led UMD in game-winning goals last year with six âÄî including one against the Gophers âÄî and was third on the team in goals with 20. Frost realizes the importance of the rivalry but said all his team needs to do is play well. âÄúObviously itâÄôs a great rivalry with Duluth,âÄù Frost said. âÄúWe know that, and they know that; so we would expect them to bring their best, and we are expecting to bring our best and have a great game.âÄù