The St. Cloud State women’s hockey team will try to pick up its first ever win at Ridder Arena tonight as the Huskies take on Minnesota.
The two teams will compete in a home-and-home series in Western Collegiate Hockey Association action this weekend.
The eighth-ranked Gophers will host tonight’s game while Saturday’s contest will be played at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. Both games are scheduled to start at 7:07 p.m.
Minnesota (17-8-1, 14-7-1 WCHA) has never lost to the Huskies at home and has just one loss to St. Cloud State in history, good for a 31-1-0 record.
St. Cloud State (9-12-7, 5-12-5 WCHA) comes into the series after earning three conference points last weekend.
“(The Huskies) are a young team with a lot of skill,” Gophers sophomore forward Lindsay Block said. “They work hard, so we have to be ready.”
The Huskies handed Bemidji State a 3-1 loss Friday before tying the team 2-2 on Saturday.
Minnesota also found success last weekend - sweeping North Dakota after losing five of its previous six games.
The Gophers recorded their second shutout of the season in Saturday’s 4-0 win and added a 5-1 win Sunday to complete the sweep.
“(This) weekend is a big weekend for us because we want to continue to build on how we played last weekend,” coach Laura Halldorson said. “St. Cloud is a good team, they’ve shown that. They tied Wisconsin twice this year.”
According to Halldorson, the Huskies have a strong offensive presence that will test Minnesota’s defensive unit that has allowed 23 goals since returning from winter break.
“We need to be prepared for a lot of offensive attacks. They have forwards that can score,” senior defenseman Maggie Souba said. “We need to tighten up our (defensive) zone because that is what’s been hurting us lately.”
Gophers earn honors
Three Gophers were honored this week by the WCHA. Sophomore defenseman Melanie Gagnon was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week.
Gagnon earned her first career WCHA award after helping the Gophers sweep North Dakota last weekend.
In two games versus the Sioux, Gagnon scored a goal and recorded four assists.
Gagnon leads Minnesota’s defense with three goals and 18 assists on the season and is third on the team in total points.
Gigi Marvin, the team’s leading scorer, and Souba were both honored with the second annual WCHA Scholar-Athletes award.
Souba and Marvin were only two of 49 honorees named by the WCHA in an announcement Thursday. Souba is a repeat award winner.
Chartier out for season
Sophomore goaltender Brittony Chartier will miss the remainder of the season because of personal reasons.
“Throughout this time, I feel blessed to have the support and encouragement of my teammates and staff,” Chartier said. “They all will be missed, and I wish them success in the remainder of the athletic and academic season.”
Chartier hasn’t dressed for the Gophers since the team suffered a 7-1 loss against Ohio State on Jan. 12.
“Although we are sad that Brittony will be heading home, I think it’s good for her to take a break now,” Halldorson said. “She is a wonderful person and we will miss her.”
In 18 appearances this season, Chartier amassed a 12-5-1 record and a 2.24 goals against average.