On Sunday afternoon in Grand Forks, N.D., the University of Minnesota women's hockey team outlasted North Dakota to pull off their fifth sweep of the year. Junior Amanda Kessel led the top ranked Gophers' to a 4-2 victory over North Dakota by tallying a pair of goals and an assist.
Kessel, who sat out Saturday's game due to an injury, made up for lost time and put the Gophers on top during her first shift. The Madison, Wis. native weaved around a UND defenseman and sliced a puck through the five hole of Shelby Amsley-Benzie, giving Minnesota the early 1-0 lead.
The Maroon & Gold held North Dakota scoreless the remainder of the period despite losing the shot battle, 7-4. The shot advantage would dramatically change in the final two periods as Minnesota only allowed 11 UND shots while the Gophers tallied 29.
In the second period, the two WCHA foes traded a pair of goals to increase the score to 3-2. UND was the first to score with Meghan Dufault tallied a goal at 4:12.
Kessel again snagged the lead for Minnesota at 12:52 as senior Mira Jalosuo dished the puck to the junior forward as she skated across the face of the goal. Kessel received and backhanded the puck over the goalie's leg to make it 2-1. Jalosuo and freshman Hannah Brandt were credited with the assists.
Kelly Terry added a power play goal as she rushed the left side of the goal and had her initial shot blocked by Amsley-Benzie at the goal line. The rebound bounced to the backside of the goal, and Terry flicked in a shot to give Minnesota a two-goal lead. Kessel and senior Megan Bozek were tagged with the assists.
Following the Gopher goal, UND was given a power play opportunity, and Dufault again found the back of the net to put North Dakota only down by one goal.
Minnesota was 1-for-5 on penalty kills while they notched two goals on six power play chances, including a goal in the third period by Milica McMillen.
UND held the Gophers at bay most of the final period, but after a scramble around the left side of the home team's goal, the puck slipped out to McMillen at the face of the goal. The freshman quickly took a wrist shot that saucered under the crowd of players and across the goal line. Brandt and Bozek received the assists on the goal.
The 4-2 victory improves the top ranked Golden Gophers to 10-0-0 to start the year, which hasn't happened since the 2004-05 season.
With garnering three points in the game, Kessel is now tied with Gopher alum Emily West for 10th in Minnesota history for career points with 158.
Minnesota has a short week now with traveling to Duluth, Minn. this coming weekend for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday. The Maroon & Gold put their 17-game winning streak on the line against the Bulldogs (3-4-1, 2-3-1 WCHA), who are coming off a split with No. 6 Boston College.
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