WHAT'S ON TAP: The Sioux return to action this weekend as they take on fifth-ranked WCHA rival Minnesota Duluth in a Saturday/Sunday series at the Ralph Englestad Arena with both games starting at 2:07 p.m.
MEDIA INFORMATION: Most Fighting Sioux regular season home hockey games can be heard on 1440 AM ("The Fan") and on stations across the Fighting Sioux Radio Network (excluding Dec. 13 against Minnesota) with broadcaster Darrin Looker calling the action. A webcast and live stats will be available at FightingSioux.com
SCOUTING REPORT: The Bulldogs are currently in second place in the league with 29 points from 13 wins, two ties and one shootout win ... Minnesota Duluth is ranked fifth in the nation and is 17-7-2 overall this season ... In conference play, the Bulldogs are averaging 2.95 goals while giving up 1.95 ... The Bulldogs are led by Emmanuelle Blaise (14-19-33), Laura Fridfinnson (11-18-29) and Katherine Wilson (13-13-26) ... Jennifer Harss has started all but four games this season in net with a .933 save percentage and a 2.11 goals against average ... UMD is 19 for 148 on the power play (.128) and 120 for 134 on the penalty kill (.896).
COACHING STAFF: The Bulldogs are led by head coach Shannon Miller who has a 277-77-31 overall record ... She is assisted by Laura Schuler and Michelle McAteer.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES: The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 25-2-0.
LAST ACTION: The Fighting Sioux dropped a pair of games at Ridder Arena to second-ranked Minnesota last weekend in Minneapolis, Minn.
North Dakota played two tightly contested games but could not solve the riddle of Noora Raty as she completed back-to-back shutouts.
Redshirt freshman Jorid Dagfinrud started in net for the seventh consecutive game for the Sioux, making 65 saves on the weekend while allowing four goals.
UND got off to a shaky start in Friday's game, allowing the Gophers to collect the first 11 shots on goal including what would turn into the game-winning goal only 3:58 into the opening frame.
The Gophers would add a third period power-play goal and an empty-net goal to seal the game.
The Gophers took advantage of two power-play attempts in the first period to outshoot the Sioux 11-3 Saturday.
Through the first 15 minutes of the second period the Sioux out shot the Gophers 10-2 and until a late penalty pretty much dominated the period, but the penalty led to a momentum stealing goal to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. The Gophers would add a third period goal to secure the sweep.
AROUND THE LEAGUE: The two teams at the top of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association - defending league champion Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth - continued their winning ways over the Jan. 22-23 weekend as both clubs posted sweeps. Tthe Bulldogs won twice at Minnesota State, Mankato, 3-1 and 2-1.
The two other conference series contested this past Friday and Saturday resulted in splits with both road teams coming back to claim victories in game two. In Columbus, Bemidji State rallied for a 1-0 shutout win over host Ohio State to move into a share of third place while in Madison, St. Cloud State battled back for a 4-3 triumph over host and defending national champion Wisconsin to stay in contention for the top four.
Through games of Jan. 24 and with all eight member teams now having played 20 of their 28 league games, Minnesota (19-3-4, 15-2-3-3 WCHA) continues to hold down first place with 36 points, Minnesota Duluth is in the second spot with 29 points, and Bemidji State and Wisconsin share third place with 23 points apiece. Ohio State is fifth with 20 points, St. Cloud State is one back of the Buckeyes with 19 points, Minnesota State is seventh with 12, and North Dakota is eighth with 10.
Looking ahead to the weekend of Friday-Sunday, Jan. 29-31, there will be three other conference series contested as the Golden Gophers host the Mavericks (Fri/Sat), the Buckeyes hosts the Badgers (Fri/Sat), the Huskies host the Beavers (Fri/Sat).