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The Gophers women’s hockey team has been breaking records faster then a greased-up disc jockey. On Friday, Minnesota defeated the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team 2-0 at LaBahn Arena in Madison, Wis.
The win set the new NCAA mark for longest unbeaten streak at 33 straight wins. The record was previously held by the Badgers and the shutout victory by Minnesota added a bullet point to the achievement against the team’s biggest rival.
At 25-0-0 overall on the season, the Maroon and Gold will look to finish the series with another victory Sunday afternoon in front of an anticipated sold-out crowd in Madison.
With that record now in Minnesota’s possession, what is next for the nation’s No. 1 team? Should fans expect an undefeated season and their consecutive win streak to hit 50 games?
Sure. Why not?
Fans should expect a perfect season. The Gophers have 17 games left this season and wins in all of them would give them the first unblemished season in women’s ice hockey history at the Division-I level.
The Gophers should welcome the chance to make history. It would also mean that Minnesota would go a full calender year without a loss. Their last loss was Feb. 17 against North Dakota at home.
The high expectations for the defending national champions won’t come easy as the team will have to go through the top conference in the country in the WCHA. The Gophers still have Sunday’s game versus UW and after that, the competition gets progressively easier with weekend series against Minnesota-Duluth, Ohio State, Bemidji State, and St. Cloud State.
Every NCAA Women’s National Champion since the sport became a NCAA sponsored event in 2000-01 has come out of the WCHA and the Gophers should keep that streak alive.
Other NCAA records that Minnesota can achieve by going unbeaten include the single-season record for road wins in a season and home wins in a season. The current road win record is 14 and the Gophers would win No. 15 on Feb. 8 versus OSU. Minnesota would set the home wins mark after the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinal round, which they will likely host at Ridder Arena as the No. 1 seed.
If the team wants to go streaking, they can set a new NCAA home winning streak record at 26 straight wins after the NCAA Semifinal round. They can also continue setting the longest road winning streak record as Minnesota has currently pushed that number to 20 straight.
If the Gophers stay unbeaten for the whole year, their road winning streak would hold at 25 wins by season’s end. The previous record was 15, set by Mercyhurst back in 2003.
On top of the team goals, there are many individuals on the roster looking to break statistical records as well.
Minnesota junior forward Amanda Kessel leads the nation in scoring and the margin to second place isn’t even close. Kessel currently has 72 points in 24 games and is averaging three points per game.
She is on pace to set the NCAA single-season scoring record by topping Gopher alumnus Natalie Darwitz and her 2005 mark of 114 points. At Kessel’s current pace, she is on pace for 123 points.
Minnesota senior goaltender Noora Räty is dominating the sport as well and is just two wins away from setting the NCAA career wins mark at 101. Räty is also just four shutouts away from the setting the NCAA career shutouts mark with 40.
She has 17 games remaining in her career as a Gopher to accomplish both records if the Gophers make it to the Women’s Frozen Four title game.
All of these stats and numbers mean nothing if the final goal is not met with winning the National Championship. That is what truly is at stake for all teams in the country and Minnesota is no different.
Just think how cool the 2013 National Championship trophy would look with the inscription — “2012-13 University of Minnesota—Twin Cities 42-0-0.”
In addition to how dominate the record books will look with Minnesota stamped in there about a dozen more times. The word Minnesota already appears in the official women’s ice hockey record book 177 times.