|Ryleigh Houston is second among WCHA freshmen with 26 points (8g, 18a), but leads the group with three game-winning goals.|
|Emma Nuutinen leads the WCHA freshmen with 10 goals this season and is tied with Houston with three game-winners.|
|The Fighting Hawks hold a 16-1-3 record when scoring the first goal of the game.|
|Senior Amy Menke became the program’s seventh student-athlete to record 100 career points. She currently has 49 goals and 58 assists.|
|Six of UND’s seven defensemen have scored goals this season, and the D-corps has totaled 67 of UND’s 214 points this season.|
North Dakota heads to its seventh-straight WCHA Final Face-Off, where the Fighting Hawks will take on the Wisconsin Badgers in the first semifinal game on Saturday at 2:07 p.m. at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth play in the second semifinal at 5:07 p.m. on Saturday. The winners of the semifinal games will play for the championship on Sunday at 2:07 p.m.
Wisconsin took all four games against North Dakota this regular season, winning the two games in Grand Forks by scores of 2-0 and 5-2 back in October. Then in January the two teams squared off in Madison, and despite the Badgers winning by scores of 3-2 and 2-1, the Fighting Hawks gave Wisconsin its two toughest-played games in Madison this season.
This will be the fifth time North Dakota and Wisconsin have met in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Face-Off. UND won the meetings in 2013 and 2014, while Wisconsin won the games in 2011 and 2015.
Live stats for the weekend’s games will be at GopherSports.com. Video streams for Saturday’s two semifinal games will be available through BTN2Go.com and on WCHA.com for free. Sunday’s championship game will air live on Fox Sports North and Fox Sports Wisconsin.
North Dakota’s semifinal game against Wisconsin, and the championship game should UND advance, will air locally on KKXL 1440-AM, with Darrin Looker on the call.
Receive real-time updates during all UND women’s hockey games by following @UNDWHockey. Additional in-game updates and commentary is provided by goaltender Annie Chipman via her gameday twitter account @Chips_Corner.
Last Time Out
The Fighting Hawks played in its first game three of a playoff series since 2011, when UND defeated Bemidji State in three games to advance to its first-ever Final Face-Off. North Dakota dropped the opening game against Ohio State, 3-2, in overtime, but rebounded to win the second game 4-1, before taking game three 2-1 in overtime.
North Dakota out-shot Ohio State and scored first in all three games over the weekend series, as Friday’s OT loss marked the first time this season that UND had scored first and failed to win. The Fighting Hawks out-shot the Buckeyes by a total of 103-61 over the series.
Amy Menke led UND over the weekend with two goals and two assists, scoring one game winner. She also led the team with 16 shots on net. Freshman Emma Nuutinen provided an assist and the series-winner in overtime on Saturday.
End of the Year Awards
Senior defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak was named to the All-WCHA Second Team, while freshman forward Ryleigh Houston was named to the All-WCHA Rookie Team.
Krzyzaniak was most recently named to the Canadian National Women’s Team that will compete at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship, and will most likely, make up the group that Hockey Canada centralizes for the upcoming 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Through 35 games this season, Krzyzaniak is tied for defensive scoring on the team with five goals and 13 assists. She also leads UND with a plus/minus rating of +15. Krzyzaniak has previously been named to the All-WCHA Third Team in both 2015-16 and 2014-15.
Houston has had a standout freshman campaign, leading UND in points during the regular season and having totaled eight goals and 18 assists through 37 games this year. Her 26 points is second among conference rookies, but she does lead the league’s freshmen in game-winning goals (3), and power-play points (10). Houston was named Rookie of the Week twice this season, Oct. 5 and Nov. 15, and was also named the league’s Rookie of the Month for December.
If You Ain’t First, You’re Last
The Fighting Hawks hold a 16-1-3 record when scoring the first goal of the game. On the flip side, UND is winless when its opponents score first (0-14-3).
The Magic Number
North Dakota is undefeated 13-0-0 when scoring three or more goals in a game, and are 3-15-6 when not meeting that margin.
Senior Lexie Shaw currently ranks fourth among WCHA goaltenders, with a 1.67 goals-against average and fourth in the league with a .926 save percentage.
Shaw was named the WCHA’s Defensive Player of the Month for October. She posted three shutouts in that span, including a 21-save effort against national-ranked Bemidji State. She made a season-high 38 saves, conceding just one goal, against No. 1 Wisconsin on Oct. 22. Shaw was also instrumental in helping UND post the nation’s second-best penalty-kill percentage at .957 (44-for-46), making a total of 55 saves on the PK over the month.
The Fighting Hawks rank seventh nationally among senior scoring, as the UND senior class has totaled 92 points so far this season.
Starting off Strong
North Dakota’s freshman class first second in the WCHA, and third in the nation, with 80 points on the season, stemming from 30 goals and 50 assists.
All eight freshman skaters have already recorded a point, and the class is led by Ryleigh Houston who has 26 points from eight goals and 18 assists, ranking second among freshmen in the WCHA. Houston also leads the league in power-play assists (7), power-play points (10), and game-winning goals (3). Additionally, Emma Nuutinen leads the WCHA’s rookies in goals with 10 and is tied with Houston with three game-winners.
Houston was also named the WCHA’s Rookie of the Month for December. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native led all conference freshmen with three goals during the final month of 2016. She also tallied one assist for a total of four points through UND’s six games in December. Of her three goals, one was scored on the power-play and another was a game-winner. She finished the month with 17 shots on net, a +1 plus/minus rating and three blocked shots.
Six of UND’s seven defensemen have scored goals this season, with both Halli Krzyzaniak and Gracen Hirschy leading the group with five goals and 13 assists each. Additionally, the UND defensemen have totaled 47 assists, and have generated one-third of UND’s scoring this season.
Senior Amy Menke became the seventh student-athlete to record 100 career points in program history. She currently has 107 points from 49 goals and 58 assists. Former UND student-athletes to reach the century milestone include: Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson (220), Monique Lamoureux-Morando (190), Josefine Jakobsen (137), Meghan Dufault (135), Michelle Karvinen (131) and Alyssa Wiebe (115).
(Please click on the PDF link under 'Related Links' to view a complete version of this week's game notes)