Dec. 1, 2012
In front of a Ridder Arena record crowd of 3,400 fans, the University of Minnesota women's hockey team defeated Wisconsin, 4-1. A four-goal second period catapulted the top-ranked Golden Gophers to remain undefeated on the year and record their 25th straight win.
After a scoreless first period, No. 10 Wisconsin came out in the second and garnered one of their four power play opportunities with Rachael Bona being penalized for checking. With the one player advantage, the Badgers began pounding shots at Räty, but the senior from Finland was up for the task.
With the Gophers' defense scrambling, UW blasted a shot towards the Gophers' goal, but senior Noora Räty sprawled out to deflect the shot. Immediately, Wisconsin's Jordan Brickner cleaned up the rebound and slapped another puck towards net. To everyone's dismay, Räty, who was still lying on the ground, threw her glove in the air and made a phenomenal save to keep the score knotted at 0-0. Räty's save ignited the sold-out crowd and swung the momentum in the Gophers favor.
Minnesota ended up killing the Badgers' power-play opportunity and used the momentum gained to spark their offense, which rattled off four goals.
Freshman Maryanne Menefee tallied the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal 5:37 into the period. With junior Amanda Kessel and freshman Hannah Brandt grabbing the attention of the Wisconsin's goaltender Alex Rigsby and the rest of the Badger players, Menefee posted up at the backside of the net. Kessel and Brandt connected back-and-forth before finding a wide open Menefee, who eventually slipped the puck into the open net.
The Maroon & Gold were back at it five minutes later as they piled on two more goals within a minute of one another. Kessel notched the second goal by skating across the face of the goal and sliding the puck under Rigsby's pads. Menefee and Brandt were tagged with the assists. Fellow junior Sarah Davis tallied the next goal just a minute later by dicing through the Badger defense and backhanding the puck over Rigsby's glove-side shoulder.
Davis contributed on the final Gopher goal at the end of the period as she her shot was rebounded by senior Becky Kortum and slapped into the net, giving Minnesota the 4-0 lead.
Minnesota has flourished on power-play chances this season, but they only tallied two special team chances and didn't score on either opportunity. Wisconsin also failed to score on a power play as they went 0-4.
The Gophers carried the four-goal lead into the second intermission and nearly garnered the shutout, but Wisconsin's Brianna Decker wiped that away by scoring a goal just over six minutes into the third period.
With the win, Räty grabs her 91st career win and is now just nine from tying the NCAA record (100).
Minnesota and Wisconsin are back in action tomorrow at 2 p.m. as the Gophers look to sweep the Badgers for the first time since 2005.
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