Junior Amanda Kessel shined again on Friday night for the University of Minnesota women's hockey team as she netted a natural hat trick in the second period en route to a Golden Gopher, 8-1, win over Minnesota State. The victory improves the Maroon & Gold's winning streak to 31 straight, which is one shy of tying the NCAA record for games unbeaten.
After tallying just an assist in the first period, Kessel decided to jump on the other side of the scoresheet in the second and record her fourth hat trick of the season.
The Madison, Wis. native's first goal came while the Gophers were shorthanded as Rachel Ramsey poked the puck out of the Minnesota defensive zone. Sarah Davis would control the puck and skate it into the MSU territory and hold for support from her teammates. Insert Kessel, who came skating down the slot and slapped in her first goal.
Just over a minute later, Minnesota found themselves on a power play and Kessel again found the back of the net. This time being setup by Maryanne Menefee and Milica McMillen, who scrubbed the puck out of a crowd in front of the Minnesota State net.
The junior foward's final goal came on a slapshot from the point, and it was assisted by Menefee and Megan Bozek.
Kessel's four points put her just two shy of making her the 24th player in NCAA history with 200 points.
To start the game, Minnesota garnered their patented early lead as Rachael Bona scored just 1:05 into the game, but MSU countered a minute and 18 seconds later by netting a goal on a Gopher line change. The tie game wouldn't hold for too long as Rachel Ramsey tallied her fourth goal of the season at 3:46 and then Becky Kortum put the Maroon & Gold up 3-1 at the 15:38 mark.
After outshooting MSU 18-4, the Gophers carried their two-goal lead into the second period.
Senior Noora Raty started in goal for Minnesota, but to start the second, head coach Brad Frost put freshman Amanda Leveille in net since Raty was the goalie of record and was unable to garner the shutout.
Kessel eased Leveille into the game by recording her three goals on the opposite end, while the freshman saved all three shots faced.
Minnesota tallied a total of 45 shots on goal while Raty and Leveille faced a total of 12 shots all game.
The Maroon & Gold closed out the game with two goals in the third period with one from Bona and Meghan Lorence.
The two WCHA foes face off tomorrow at 3 p.m. with the Golden Gophers searching for their 32nd consecutive victory. A win or a tie would match the NCAA unbeaten streak held by Wisconsin with 32 games.