Freshman Maryanne Menefee matched a career-high two goals in the semifinal game of the WCHA Final Face-Off to help the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team defeat Ohio State, 5-0. The Golden Gophers advance to the WCHA Tournament Championship for the fifth consecutive season and face archrival North Dakota.
The Lansing, Mich. native sparked the Minnesota offense at 12:29 in the first period as she served as a screen in front of Ohio State’s goaltender Chelsea Knapp on the Gophers’ power play. As fellow freshman Milica McMillen took a wristed the puck towards the goal, Menefee stuck her stick out and redirected the shot inside the left pipe.
The Maroon & Gold extended their lead to 2-0 late in the period as junior Baylee Gillanders skated the length of the ice and around the Buckeye’s net before finding freshman Hannah Brandt at the face of the goal. The Patty Kazmaier Top-10 finalist one-timed the puck by Knapp to put the Gophers up by two goals.
Senior Mira Jalosuo tacked on another goal in the second period for the Gophers as she flicked a wrist shot past the OSU goaltender at 6:16. The goal was the defenseman’s 10th of the season and the lone goal of the period for the Maroon & Gold.
Fellow Finnish native Noora Raty made 24 saves and held the Buckeyes scoreless in the contest to record her 16th shutout of the season. Minnesota has not allowed a goal in the last 320 minutes and 56 seconds, and Räty has been in net for all but 60 minutes of that streak.
Minnesota added two more goals in the third period to push their lead to 5-0. Menefee’s second of the game came at 7:02, while senior Megan Bozek notched the other at 11:13.
Junior Amanda Kessel, who had played sparingly the previous three weeks, saw a lot of ice time in the game, but for the first time since Feb. 17, 2012, she did not record a point in a game. Her streak was the longest in the nation at 40 games.
The 5-0 victory advances to the Gophers to their fifth consecutive WCHA Tournament Championship game. They will face rival North Dakota, who defeated Wisconsin earlier in the day, 2-1. The game is slated to begin at 7 p.m. at Ridder Arena.