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Mid-season check-in: Gophers women’s hockey

Taking a look at the Gophers’ statistics 17 games into the 2022-23 season.
Image by Emily Urfer
University of Minnesota women’s hockey team lines up before their game against Ohio State in Ridder Arena on Saturday, Nov. 21. The Gophers won in a shut out with an ending score of 4-0.

With the holiday break approaching, the Gophers women’s hockey team is unofficially at the midpoint of their season.

Minnesota currently boasts a 12-3-2 overall record with an 11-1-2 record in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).

On the rankings, Minnesota resides at No. 6, one rank lower than last week. Minnesota was ranked No. 4 at this time in 2021.

The Gophers reside in second place in the WCHA below Ohio State, as they have been for most of the season. Ohio State has two more games played than Minnesota, although the Buckeyes’ point percentage is greater than the Gophers’.

In third place is Wisconsin, which, like Minnesota, has only lost one regulation game in WCHA play. Though the Badgers are in third place, they possess the highest point percentage in the WCHA.

Minnesota met Wisconsin just two and a half weeks ago for their first matchup of the season. In the series, the two teams split one game — though the Gophers won in the shootout — and Wisconsin emerged victorious in the second game.

The Badgers have been on the rise lately, scoring 17 goals in their last two games. The discrepancy between third place Wisconsin and fourth place St. Cloud state is a massive 12 points. With their recent wins over Bemidji State, Wisconsin now has an advantage over Ohio State and Minnesota in terms of point percentage.

The Gophers’ current record is quite similar to their 2021 record. Minnesota was 13-4-1 overall at this time last season. Their current conference record of 11-1-2, however, is superior to their 8-3-1 record at this point last year.

Taylor Heise and Grace Zumwinkle share the top spot for most points on the team, with 25 points each. Redshirt sophomore Abbey Murphy leads the team in goals with 11, topping her previous record of 8 goals in the 2020-21 season.

Goaltender Skylar Vetter already has two shutouts on the season in 16 games played, an improvement from her one shutout in 19 games played last season.

International first-years Josefin Bouveng and Nelli Laitinen have impressed fans so far, scoring nine and eight points, respectively. Other newcomers Madison Kaiser and Allie Franco have also played well. Kaiser has already recorded a multi-point game this season, and Franco recently scored her first collegiate point.

Minnesota’s longest winning streak this season has been seven games — unless the Gophers’ shootout victory over Ohio State is counted as a win, then their streak increases to 10 consecutive wins.

The Gophers have yet to lose two games consecutively, unlike last season when this occurred twice. Minnesota opened and closed the 2021-22 season with two losses.

Minnesota has not been shut out since the 2020-21 season. Their lowest single-game goal performance this season was one goal against St. Cloud on Nov. 7 and Wisconsin on Nov. 20.

Minnesota has already swept five WCHA series this season and looks to increase that number to six in their next series. The Gophers will face recently ranked No. 14 St. Cloud State this weekend for games 18 and 19. The home-and-away series will serve as their last games until 2023. When they return in the new year, Minnesota will host Merrimack and New Hampshire in the East and West Showcase.

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