Jen Schoullis scored the game-winning goal at 14:35 in the third period to lift the No. 2 University of Minnesota women’s hockey team to a 3-2 win over No. 9 Harvard, tonight at Ridder Arena. With the win, the Gophers improve to 13-2-1 overall, while the Crimson drop to 4-4-2 this season.
Brittany Francis got the Gophers on the board when she netted her fourth goal of the season on a power-play attempt at 14:40 in the first period. Francis picked up a loose puck off the boards and shot the puck towards the goal. It went off Harvard goalie Christina Kessler’s skate and into the net for her fourth goal of the season.
Harvard responded with a goal of its own at 13:09 in the second period. Sarah Vaillancourt scored her fifth goal of the season when she was on the penalty kill. Vaillancourt picked up the puck off the boards and skated to the slot and picked her shot as she was left all alone against Gopher goalie Jenny Lura.
Minnesota’s best opportunity of the second period came near the 11:30 mark when the Gophers had a flurry of shots. On a two-on-one, Minnesota’s Emily West took a shot, which was saved. Within seconds Francis had a shot, Jen Schoullis attempted a shot, while Francis had a second attempt, which hit the post.
Minnesota and Harvard combined for three goals in the third period for the 3-2 final. Rachael Drazan scored the prettiest goal of the game when she notched her third of the year at 2:43 in the third. As the puck was coming down from a penalty-kill clearing, Lura stopped the puck. Drazan picked it up and skated it to the Harvard zone, passing across the ice to West. As West brought the puck into the zone, Drazan continued to crash the net and scored on a back-door attempt. With Lura’s assist, she became the first goaltender to earn an assist since former Gopher Brenda Reinen accomplished the feat on February 29, 2004.
For the second time of the evening, Harvard tied the game on a power-play goal at 12:21 in the third. Kathryn Farni scored to put the game at 2-2 while on a five-on-three opportunity. However, Minnesota retaliated and took the lead for good when Schoullis scored an even-strength goal at 14:35 in the third. In the Harvard zone, Francis loosened the puck from the boards and found Michelle Maunu at the point. She wound up for the shot and Schoullis was there to tip in the puck in front of the net. Although the referees checked the replay to see if it was a high-stick, the goal was reviewed and counted for the gamewinner.
Harvard attempted to tie the game for the third time when it pulled Kessler at 18:52 in the third to add the extra attacker. The Gophers were then called for a holding call to give the Crimson a two-person advantage. However, Minnesota was able to hold off the Crimson and attempted two empty-net shots, both by Monique Lamoureux, as one sailed wide and another hit the post.
Lura finished the game with 20 saves and improved her record to 7-1-0 overall, while Kessler had 25 saves and fell to 3-4-1 overall.
Minnesota closes out the first semester at North Dakota next weekend. Friday’s game is set for 7:07 p.m., while Saturday’s contest is a 4:07 p.m. tilt. The series marks the first hometown showing for Grand Forks, N.D. natives, Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux.