NO. 7/8 BULLDOGS WILL HOST OHIO STATE AT AMSOIL IN 2012-13 SEASON OPENER FRIDAY
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The University of Minnesota Duluth women’s team will open the regular portion of the 2012-13 season this weekend when it hosts Western Collegiate Hockey Association member Ohio State University at AMSOIL Arena. Friday’s contest will get underway at 7:07 p.m. and will feature an international night theme, while Saturday’s game is set to start at 4:07 p.m. The first 500 fans will receive posters at the door to be autographed by the entire team following the game.
THE SERIES: The Bulldogs are 48-7-4 all-time against Ohio State and went 4-2 against the Buckeyes last season.
UMD outscored OSU 21-17 in 2011-12, but gave up the most goals against the Buckeyes of any other opponent besides Wisconsin (also 17 goals against in 2011-12). The two programs last met on Feb. 24-25 at AMSOIL in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs.
The Bulldogs swept the best-of-three series by scores of 4-3 on Feb. 24 and 3-2 on Feb. 25. Sophomore Jamie Kenyon scored two goals in first game, including a short-handed tally in the opening stanza and a power play goal in the second to help lead the Bulldogs over OSU. Freshman Jenna McParland scored the eventual game-winner in the third period, and goaltender Jennifer Harss made 39 saves to help a heavily outshot (37-23) UMD squad take the first game.
In the second game on Feb. 25, senior Haley Irwin scored two first period goals to rush the Bulldogs out to a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of play, but it took overtime to to put away the Buckeyes. Freshman Shara Jasper rewarded the efforts of Zoe Hickel and Vanessa Thibault and buried the puck 6:40 into the extra period to lift UMD into the semifinals of the WCHA Final-Faceoff.
While the Bulldogs lost their top-scorer against OSU last season in Irwin (5g, 6a in six games), they retain, four players that compiled five or more points in six skates against the Buckeyes. Audrey Cournoyer tallied eight points (2g, 6a) against OSU in 2011-12, while McParland found the net four times and added two assists for six points. Blueliner Jessica Wong added two goals and four assists a year ago.
UMD’S HISTORY ON OPENING WEEKEND: The Bulldogs have suffered just one setback in program history in an opening season skate and have won seven-straight openers dating back to the 2003-04 season. UMD is 12-1 in season starters, and have hosted at home just six times prior to this upcoming weekend. In those six outings, the Bulldogs are 6-0, and 10-2 in opening season series at home all-time. Overall, UMD has swept the first series of the the season eight of 12 times and has been swept by an opponent only once. Minnesota State stunned the Bulldogs in Mankato back on Oct. 10-11, 2003, just under seven months after UMD won it’s third NCAA title and first-ever at The DECC.
LAST WEEK: No. 7/8 UMD swept the Minnesota Whitecaps in an exhibition series last weekend, putting together 5-3 and 5-2 wins. Cournoyer netted two tallies, while center Katie Wilson and Zoe Hickel added two assists last Friday (Sept. 28).
Saturday afternoon (Sept. 29) it was all Bulldogs early, with three goals scored in the first period and five goals scored by five different players in a 5-2 triumph. Wilson led all scorers with a goal and two assists, while McParland and Pernilla Winberg each had a goal and an assist on the day. Rookie forward Hannah Bramm, playing on the backline, dished out two assists.
ATTACK DOGS: The Bulldogs leading goal scorer last season, senior winger Audrey Cournoyer will look to imrpove on her career numbers from a year ago, including 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points. Jenna McParland proved she could power the Bulldog offense of the future in her own right, compiling 32 points in 36 skates, with 21 goals. In addition to returning two of their top-three scoring forwards, UMD also returns it’s fourth leading scorer in the form of defenseman Jessica Wong. While Wong began her career as an attacker, the senior captain has now played 66 of her 110 games on the backline, compiling 68 points in her improved role. Wong will start the 2012-13 season at 99 career points (41g, 58a), and is one of three players in striking distance of the 100-point club that Cournoyer joined late last winter. Senior forward Pernilla Winberg owns 96 career points (35g, 61), while senior center Katie Wilson is sitting at 89 points (33g, 56a).
MILLER TIME: UMD head coach Shannon Miller has been at the Bulldog helm for all of the Maroon and Gold’s previous 13 seasons, and on the eve of her fourteenth year, Miller will lengthen her WCHA-leading tenure on the women’s side. With a record of 334-101-35, Miller is just 30 games away from coaching her 500th game for UMD. Owning a NCAA record five NCAA titles, Miller will enter the 2012-13 season having coached a staggering 470 collegiate games.
BULLDOG NOTES: UMD will regain the services of sophomore defenseman Brigette Lacquette, who spent last week at the Canadian national team camp with three former Bulldogs -- Jocelyne Larocque, Haley Irwin and Caroline Ouellette...UMD’s opening series with the Buckeyes is just the second time in five years that the Bulldogs have started the regular season against a WCHA opponent.
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