Women’s hockey set for dangerous Buckeyes

Despite coming off a weekend sweep of fourth-ranked New Hampshire and a sweep of Ohio State earlier in the year, the Gophers have a reason to fear Ohio State this weekend.
The Buckeyes are the only team to blemish league-leading Minnesota-Duluth’s record.
In the series against Duluth last weekend, the Buckeyes grabbed a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period, leading to a 1-1 tie in overtime. Saturday, the Bulldogs returned the favor with a 9-0 thumping, but the damage to their record had already been done.
Minnesota coach Laura Halldorson recognizes the potential threat the Buckeyes pose to her team.
“Certainly that’s something that some other teams have not been able to do so I give them a lot of credit for hanging with Duluth like that,” Halldorson said. “That just emphasizes the fact that if we don’t play well we could be in trouble.”
Trouble for Ohio State could come in the form of junior Nadine Muzerall, who has scored 19 goals in her last eight games. That includes four in Saturday’s game against New Hampshire and a school-record five against Bemidji State.
“She’s on fire right now,” Halldorson said. “I can’t imagine anyone hotter than Muzzy. It’s one thing to score a bunch of goals against Bemidji, but against New Hampshire it’s quite a feat.”
Sixth-ranked Minnesota takes on Ohio State tonight and tomorrow at 7:05 p.m.
–Compiled by Monica Wright

Swimming and diving
Since the beginning of November, the Minnesota men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have been faced with nationally-ranked competition week after week.
This weekend, a different breed will make its way to the Aquatic Center.
Division II and III will be in town to face the Gophers in the annual Minnesota Challenge this weekend.
This Minnesota Challenge marks the final preparation for the women’s team before the Big Ten championships February 17-19 in Indianapolis. For the Minnesota Challenge taper group, a group of 10 swimmers, this is its final competition of the year.
“What we’re looking to see is some lifetime bests,” women’s coach Jean Feeman said of the group.
As for the men’s team, coach Dennis Dale is using this weekend to make his Big Ten travel squad and also to fine-tune his team.
“This will be one last chance for us to practice some fast, legal relay starts outside of practice,” Dale said.
Dale and his team travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. Feb. 24-26 for the Big Ten championships.
Both teams will be racing all members this weekend and placing swimmers in events they don’t usually swim. The format of the Minnesota Challenge is the same of the Big Ten championships and it gives both sides opportunities to see how the swimmers perform outside of the dual meet format.
There will be three sessions on the weekend, tonight at 6 p.m., and Saturday at noon and 6 p.m.
–Compiled by Brian Stensaas