MINNEAPOLIS — Grace Zumwinkle and Amy Potomak led the Golden Gophers with three points each and six different Gophers scored goals as the No. 2 University of Minnesota women’s hockey team cruised to a 7-2 win over St. Cloud State in game two of this weekend’s WCHA series at Ridder Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Minnesota (11-2-1, 9-2-1-0 WCHA) erupted for four first-period goals, taking a 4-0 lead before the Huskies got on the board in the final minute of the opening period. The teams traded goals in second period, and the Maroon & Gold added two third-period tallies to seal the 7-2 win and series sweep after earning a 4-3 overtime win in game one of the series on Saturday. Along with three-point efforts from Zumwinkle (2g-1a) and A. Potomak (1g-2a), the Gophers received multilpe points from Nicole Schammel (1g-1a), Kelly Pannek (1g-1a), and Taylor Heise (2a) in the win as well.
Alex Gulstene made 15 saves on 17 shots faced as Minnesota outshot the Huskies, 52-17, for the game. St. Cloud State’s Emma Polusny made 45 saves while Brooke Kudirka and Suvi Ollikainen netted the Huskies’ goals.
Zumwinkle put the Gophers on the board first, scoring her first of the day at the 4:38 mark of the opening period. Pannek dished the puck to Zumwinkle at neutral ice, and she moved through the Huskies’ zone and beat Polusny to give Minnesota an early lead.
Schammel doubled the Gophers’ lead when she scored her fourth goal of the season at 8:32 of the first period. She gained possession of the puck off a turnover by the Huskies in the SCSU zone and found Zumwinkle, who fired a shot on target down low. The rebound popped out to Schammel, and she buried it to put Minnesota up 2-0.
Less than 90 seconds later, Catie Skaja made it 3-0 Gophers. A. Potomak intercepted an SCSU clearing attempt and sent the puck to Skaja, who found Heise moving into the Huskies’ zone. Heise then fed it back to Skaja on the doorstep, where she knocked it past Polusny. Zumwinkle scored her second of the game with 7:49 remaining in the period to extend the Gophers’ lead to four.
St. Cloud State (4-11-1, 2-8-0 WCHA) got on the board with just 49 seconds remaining in the first period when Ollikainen snuck a shot through traffic past Gulstene. Katie Robinson blocked Ollikainen’s first shot, but the puck bounced back out to Ollikainen and she capitalized to put the Huskies on the board.
The second period saw the teams exchange goals. SCSU cut the Gophers’ lead to two on a goal by Kudirka before Pannek scored her second of the series, solving Polusny on the power play to put Minnesota back up by three heading into the final stanza.
A. Potomak scored her third goal of the season at the 2:25 mark of the third period before Williamson scored her fifth of the year just 1:09 later to extend the Gophers’ lead to five at 7-2.
For the game, Minnesota was 1-for-2 on the power play while holding the Huskies to 0-for-2 with the skater advantage.
Up next for the Gophers is a trip to Vermont for the the Windjammer Classic hosted by the Catamounts next weekend. Minnesota plays St. Lawrence on Friday, Nov. 23 and will face either Vermont or Syracuse on Saturday, Nov. 24.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The experience of Minnesota outlasted the inexperience of Texas A&M in the closing minutes even if baskets were not coming easy. Or at all.
Jordan Murphy scored 14 points, Amir Coffey added 12 points, and Minnesota hit 10 of 14 free throws in the closing minutes to hold off Texas A&M 69-64 on Sunday night in the Vancouver Shootout.
The Golden Gophers (3-0) watched a 14-point first-half lead disappear, but made enough free-throw attempts late to get the victory despite going the final four minutes without a basket. Texas A&M led 64-63, but had four straight empty possessions, missing a pair of long 3-pointers late in the shot clock and committing a pair of turnovers.
The Gophers capitalized on the mistakes at the free-throw line, making six attempts in the final two minutes to hold off the Aggies. Dupree McBrayer added 10 points for the Gophers.
Brandon Mahan scored a career-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting and helped ignite Texas A&M’s rally, but the Aggies (1-3) lost their third straight and faltered in the closing minutes. Mahan had 14 total points on the season through three games.
Christian Mekowulu added 16 points and TJ Starks had 11 for the Aggies. It was a far better showing for the Aggies than their last game against Gonzaga when they were blown out.
Minnesota led by as many as 14 in the first half, only to let Texas A&M slowly chip away. The Aggies pulled within 41-36 early in the second half on Mahan’s corner 3-pointer, but Minnesota built the lead back to 11 after Murphy’s first basket of the second half for a 51-40 lead with 11 minutes left.
That’s when the Aggies got hot, running off 12 of the next 16 points and closing within 55-52 on Isiah Jasey’s dunk. Matz Stockman scored for Minnesota on a rebound putback, but the Aggies scored six straight capped by Mahan’s dunk to pull even at 57-all with 5:50 left. Mahan followed with his second 3-pointer and Texas A&M had its first lead since the opening minute of the game.
Daniel Oturu’s rebound basket with 4:09 left ended Minnesota’s three-minute scoring drought and was the final field goal for the Gophers. Murphy, Coffey and McBrayer all took turns hitting free throws to seal it while Texas A&M struggled to get good looks.
Minnesota committed 20 turnovers — 16 in the first half — as it struggled for stretches dealing with how physical Texas A&M played defense.
Minnesota: The Gophers are now 20-15 against SEC opponents and picked up a second straight nonconference Power Five win after beating Utah.
UP NEXT: Minnesota: The Gophers face Santa Clara on Tuesday.