A quartet of goals in the third period catapulted the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team to their 36th consecutive victory and their first season sweep of Minnesota Duluth in program history. Junior Amanda Kessel led the Golden Gophers’ offensive attack by netting four points (1g-3a), including the game-winning goal.
For the first time since Feb. 17, 2012, which was the Gophers’ last loss (2-1 – OT, North Dakota), Minnesota entered the final eight minutes of a game tied with their opponents. With the thought of overtime looming, the Maroon & Gold buckled down and netted three goals in a 1:45 span to shatter the Bulldogs’ hope of upsetting the top-ranked Gophers.
Kessel started the scoring frenzy at 12:15 as she received a chip pass from freshman Hannah Brandt near the blueline. The nation’s leading scorer fought off a defenseman before going five-hole on UMD’s goaltender, Kayla Black.
Not even a minute later at 13:03, sophomore Rachael Bona rebounded a Kelly Terry shot and flipped the puck into the goaltender’s water bottle, giving the Gophers a 4-2 lead.
Meghan Lorence joined the parade of scoring at the 14-minute mark as Kessel found the sophomore on the backside of the goal for an easy one timer. Sophomore transfer Jordyn Burns put the nail in the coffin with 35 seconds remaining when she netted her second goal of the season and increased the score to 6-2.
The win over Minnesota Duluth gives the Gophers their first season sweep of the Bulldogs in program history.
Despite outshooting the Bulldogs, 7-4, in the first period, the Gophers entered the first intermission trailing for the only the second time all season as UMD netted a goal at 9:56. Pernilla Winberg scooped up her ninth goal of the season by controlling a rebound in front of the net and sneaking it by Noora Raty.
Räty made 16 saves in the contest to receive her 102nd-career victory.
UMD’s lead would hold for 18 minutes and 21 seconds before the Gophers capitalized on a pair of power play goals to finish the period.
The first came at 8:17 when Brandt redirected a Megan Bozek slap shot over the stick side Black. The go-ahead goal came at 17:03 when the Gophers cycled the puck down to Brandt in the corner, and the Vadnais Heights, Minn. native passed cross-crease to fellow freshman Milica McMillen, who was posted up at the backdoor.
Minnesota went 2-for-3 on power player chances and negated all three penalty kill opportunities.
UMD responded early in the third period as Jenna McParland notched a shorthanded goal at 5:39, but with the score tied 2-2, the Gophers held strong and lit the lamp four additional times to close out the game.
Minnesota hits the road against next weekend as they travel to face Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Their games are slated for 7 p.m. CST on Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.