Winter wonderland: Gophers fashion perfect record in first month of 2005

Winter wonderland: Gophers fashion perfect record in first month of 2005

Even though they’ll probably tell you they could have done some things better, the players on Minnesota’s women’s hockey team can’t complain too much about how their January went.

Top-ranked Minnesota won all four weekend series for the month, including crucial sweeps over Wisconsin and Ohio State, the Nos. 3 and 4 teams in the WCHA. Minnesota also swept Bemidji State and Brown.

The Gophers won the eight January games by a combined score of 34-7, posting three shutouts in the process.

“We’re starting to come together at the right time,” senior goalie Jody Horak said after Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Badgers at Ridder Arena.

Freshman forward Bobbi Ross, who scored the first goal Sunday, said she likes where the team is because of its ability to respond to adversity.

She said that while the team might not have played as strongly as it could have against Ohio State, the effort against Wisconsin this weekend was some of its best hockey of the season.

Shooting totals tail off

Minnesota fired off just 53 shots in the Wisconsin series, by far its lowest weekend total of the season.

The Gophers also put only 17 shots on net Saturday. It was the first time all season Minnesota was held under 20 shots in a game.

“(Wisconsin) really took away the middle, and it seemed as though they watched a lot of things we typically do,” Ross said Sunday. “We had to change a lot of things around.

“They just seemed very well prepared for what we commonly attack with.”

Penalty kill rebounds

Minnesota’s penalty kill had a pair of solid performances in the series with Wisconsin.

The Gophers killed off all six Badgers power-play opportunities, allowing a total of just seven shots.

The unit rebounded after giving up two power-play goals in five chances in Minnesota’s 4-2 win over Ohio State on Jan. 22.

Minnesota is currently fifth in the country in penalty-kill percentage.

Sutton, Troumbly sit out

Minnesota was without the services of two senior forwards in the Wisconsin series.

Noelle Sutton (hand) and Stacy Troumbly (knee) sat out the weekend after both played in the Ohio State series.

Minnesota coach Laura Halldorson said the team is taking a wait-and-see approach to the return of the pair.

McKenzie honored

Forward Erica McKenzie was named the WCHA rookie of the week Monday. McKenzie scored two points inMinnesota’s sweep of Wisconsin, including an assist on the game-winning goal Sunday.