The University of Minnesota women’s hockey team earned an 8-1 victory at St. CloudState tonight. Amanda Kessel had a career-best six points in the game with two goals and four assists.
The first period was a scoring fest with six goals scored, although the Huskies got on the board first. Alex Nelson scored for St. CloudState just 52 seconds into the game to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. The Gophers responded quickly and got a goal from senior captain Jen Schoullis 42 seconds later, with assists from Amanda Kessel and Megan Bozek. Just over a minute later, Minnesota struck again, going ahead 2-1 with a goal from senior defenseman Anne Schleper. Emily West and Stephanie Anderson had the assists on Schleper’s goal. It would take just a minute and 40 seconds for the Gophers to score again, with senior captain Sarah Erickson getting a goal 4:17 into the game. Kessel and Bozek had assists on the goal to give the Gophers a 3-1 advantage.
With just under four minutes remaining in the first period, SCSU’s Ellie Sitek was called for boarding, getting a five-minute major penalty. The Gophers capitalized on the power play, getting two goals. Schoullis gave Minnesota a 4-1 lead with a goal at 17:32, assisted by Kessel and Erickson. Kessel got a goal of her own 30 seconds later, assisted by Bozek and Schleper. Minnesota went into intermission with a 5-1 lead. The Gophers led in shots 18-9 in the opening period.
After a goal-filled first period, just one goal was scored in the second period. Sophomore Bethany Brausen found a wide open net with Kelly Terry drew the goalie right and made a nice pass to Brausen to put the Gophers ahead 6-1 just two minutes into the period. In addition to Terry, Schleper also had an assist. Both teams would remain scoreless throughout the remainder of the period. The Gophers had two power play opportunities in the second period, but weren’t able to score. Minnesota led in shots again, with a 13-10 tally in the second stanza.
Minnesota went scoreless throughout much of the third period, but tallied two goals in the final minutes of the game. With just over five minutes remaining, Kessel found the net, assisted by Bozek and Baylee Gillanders. The Huskies took a penalty just seconds later, giving the Gophers a power play, and they capitalized. Freshman Rachael Bona scored nine seconds into the power play, assisted by Schleper and Kessel. The assist gave Kessel six points in the game, a career best. She is now tied for second place in Gopher history for points in a game.
With the victory, the Gophers move to 23-4-2 overall, and 17-4-2 in WCHA games. The Huskies fall to 5-22-2 and 4-19-0 in conference games.
The Gophers and Huskies meet again tomorrow at 2:07 p.m. at the NationalHockeyCenter.