The No. 3 Gophers women’s hockey team will head into Madison, Wis., to square off with the defending national champions and top-ranked Badgers this weekend, possibly without one of its top players.
Senior forward Jen Schoullis, who ranks second on the team with 10 points through four games, is listed as day-to-day heading into the Wisconsin series.
She suffered an unspecified upper-body injury last weekend against St. Cloud State.
“[Schoullis] is one of our leaders and one of our top players, so if she’s able to give it a go, it would certainly give us a good jump,” head coach Brad Frost said.
Senior forward Sarah Erickson said she’s confident that the team’s depth and talent can compensate for the loss of Schoullis if she is unable to play.
“We’ll take it game-by-game. We have a good enough, skilled enough and hard-working enough team that can work around [the injury],” Erickson said.
“We have a lot of depth this year. That’s one thing we haven’t had in past years that I think is going to make us a little bit better in the long run.”
The Gophers and Wisconsin have quite a bit of recent history. In last season’s WCHA championship game, Minnesota jumped out to a four-goal lead, only to blow it in an eventual 5-4 overtime loss.
Erickson said the team hasn’t forgotten about that game.
“That’s a huge thought in our mind going from the end of the season to the beginning of the season here,” she said.
“It’s just about the rivalry. It’s so thick. Any sport on the Minnesota campus hates to play Wisconsin and they hate to play us as well.”
Sophomore Kelly Terry said,“A win or two over the No. 1 team in the nation would be a big confidence booster for the team moving forward.”
“This is the first game that’s truly going to test us. They’re ranked ahead of us. If we can kick them out of that spot, it would be great,” she said.
Minnesota and Wisconsin are both 4-0 on the season. Two of those victories for each squad were in conference play.
“Any time you face the top team in the country, it’s an exciting time,” Frost said.
“It’s going to be a good measuring stick, I think, to see where we’re at,” he said. “We’re certainly excited about the opportunity.”
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