Gophers seniors to play final game at Ridder Arena

Cara Piazza, Sidney Peters, Caitlin Reilly and Sydney Baldwin will be honored

Senior goaltender Sidney Peters guards the goal in the third period at Ridder Arena on Sunday, Oct. 29.

Easton Green, Daily File Photo

Senior goaltender Sidney Peters guards the goal in the third period at Ridder Arena on Sunday, Oct. 29.

by Max Biegert

Minnesota is just one of two women’s hockey programs to have its own stadium. 

For the Gophers, though, Ridder Arena is just known as home.  

The Gophers (17-8-2, 10-6-2 WCHA) will take on Mankato (3-20-1, 1-15 WCHA) during senior weekend at Ridder Arena on Friday and Saturday. This is the last time the Gophers seniors will play a regular season home series at Ridder Arena.

Seniors Sydney Baldwin, Cara Piazza, Caitlin Reilly and Sidney Peters will be celebrated on Saturday evening before the second game of the series against the Mavericks. Minnesota will look to bounce back at home after dropping its first two road games, coming against Ohio State. The losses dropped them to third in the WCHA league standings, two points behind second place Ohio State. 

“We are looking forward to being back at Ridder Arena and celebrating senior weekend,” head coach Brad Frost said. 

The trio of Baldwin, Peters and Piazza were a part of back-to-back national championship teams their freshman and sophomore year. Reilly transferred from Penn State after her freshman year. 

The senior class also included Kelly Pannek, but she decided to forgo her senior season to help train for the Olympics. Pannek was chosen as one of the six former Gophers to play for team USA in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. 

“For me, this is just a good time to reflect and just really thankful because this has been such a good opportunity. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Piazza said. “I’m really excited for the weekend.”

Baldwin has played in 141 career games. She eclipsed the 50-point career mark earlier this season. Piazza has scored 35 goals. Reilly is having her best year this year leading the team in multi-point games and tallying 20 points. She has recorded 45 points since coming to the team. Peters has an overall record of 46-14-6. 

Though the games this weekend are the team’s last at Ridder Arena, Minnesota hopes it gets to continue playing there. The Frozen Four runs through Ridder Arena this season.

Minnesota made six of the last seven Frozen Fours and, having fallen to third in the WCHA, they will have to find another gear to go back. This year, the Gophers have accumulated eight losses, which matches their total losses last year. 

“Everyone has bought in, we want to accomplish everything and win games, but we approach every game as the most important game,” Piazza said. “If you know you have given everything you got, we can make it really far.”