Women’s hockey: Big series wins vault Gophers to No. 1

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Women’s hockey: Big series wins vault Gophers to No. 1
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Last year at this time, the Gophers women’s hockey team was in the middle of an eight-game stretch of games against No. 1 Wisconsin and No. 2 Ohio State, an anomaly of the 2020-21 coronavirus pandemic.

When it was finished, the Gophers had gone 1-5-2 and fallen to 9-7-1 overall.

So, you’d better believe coach Brad Frost and the Gophers have taken a moment to appreciate the past two weeks. Against then-No. 1 Wisconsin and No. 1 Ohio State, Minnesota went 3-0-1 to improve to 20-7-1.

They’re also ranked No. 1 in this week’s PairWise and uscho.com rankings.

“It was an incredible stretch for us,” Frost said Tuesday. “We had these stretches last year and were on the other end of them, so if you don’t enjoy them when you’re on the right side, when are you going to?”

The Gophers bring their No. 1 ranking and a WCHA-high 50 points into a weekend series against conference rival Bemidji State this weekend at Ridder Arena.

“So, now we just have more of a target on our back, but I just like our team, and I’ve said this for a while, I just like how they approach each day and each game,” Frost said. “It was a pretty special two weeks, but we’ve got another special week coming up.”

The Gophers have six more regular-season games, all against bottom-division conference foes, before the WCHA quarterfinals Feb. 25-27, starting with the Beavers (7-13-2) 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday

BRIEFLY

Gophers center Taylor Heise was January’s WCHA forward of the month, the conference announced Tuesday.  The senior from Lake City finished with six goals and nine assists in eight games, and had multipoint games in five. Heise leads the nation with 46 points, 20 goals and 26 assists.

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