MEN’S HOCKEY
COLUMBUS – Rem Pitlick’s 100th career point with Gopher Hockey proved useful as the junior forward set up the game-winning goal on Saturday night in a 4-3 win for Minnesota, completing the road sweep over No. 2/3 Ohio State.

Minnesota (13-14-4 overall, 10-9-3-0 Big Ten) never trailed over the weekend, picking up goals from Scott Reedy, Nathan Burke, Brent Gates Jr. and Tyler Sheehy on Saturday as the Gophers claimed a 4-3 win over the Big Ten frontrunners for the second-straight night. The Maroon & Gold scored four goals on just 16 shots in the series finale.

Things started early for the Maroon & Gold as Reedy scored for the second-consecutive night just 20 seconds into the contest – Minnesota’s fastest goal to start a game this season. Reedy’s fifth goal of the year was set up by Sampo Ranta and Jack Sadek. Burke added to the lead later in the period with his fifth goal of the year – also scoring for the second time in as many games. Sammy Walker and Blake McLaughlin assisted on the goal at 8:47 of the opening stanza. The Gophers pushed the lead to 3-0 in the second period when Gates lasered home his 12th of the year at 6:42. Sheehy and Tyler Nanne set up Minnesota’s third goal.

Ohio State (19-7-4, 12-5-3-2) responded with a pair of power-play goals later in the second period from Mason Jobst at 7:43 and Carson Meyer at 17:07.

Sheehy found the net for the eventual game winner at 8:47 of the third period when Pitlick found him for the senior captain’s 11th goal of the year. The assist served as Pitlick’s 100th career point (the junior is the 84th Gopher Hockey skater to reach the milestone) while Sheehy moved into a tie with Jordan Leopold for 33rd all-time at Minnesota in career scoring with 144 points (Sheehy’s next target is Trent Klatt at 146 career points).

Ronnie Hein answered for the Buckeyes at 9:58 to make it a one-goal game, but Ohio State was unsuccessful in a late push for the equalizer.

The Gophers boasted a big performance in goal from Mat Robson as the junior made 43 saves to pick up the win, moving to 10-10-4 on the year. Tommy Napier took the loss with 12 saves to move to 11-2-2 on the year.

Minnesota closes out the regular season with two more series at 3M Arena at Mariucci over the next two weeks, hosting Notre Dame (Feb. 22-23) and Arizona State (March 1-2).


WOMEN’S HOCKEY
MINNEAPOLIS – Taylor Wente scored the game-winning goal with 3:33 remaining in overtime to break a 2-2 tie and secure the 3-2 win and a series sweep for the Golden Gopher women’s hockey team over visiting Minnesota State at Ridder Arena on Saturday evening.

Sarah Potomak scored the game-tying goal in the third period to force overtime, and Minnesota (27-4-1, 17-4-1-0 WCHA) also received a goal from Nicole Schammel in the win. Sydney Scobee made 22 saves on 24 shots for her 10th win of the season as the Maroon & Gold outshot the Mavericks, 42-24.

Minnesota State (9-17-5, 3-16-3-2 WCHA) was led by goaltender Abigail Levy, who made 39 saves on 42 shots faced, and Rebekah Kolstad and Brooke Bryant scored goals for the Mavericks.

Schammel put Minnesota up 1-0 with her 12th goal of the season just 3:24 into the game when she buried a feed from Wente. Wente gained possession behind the net, moved around to the left faceoff dot, and found Schammel in the slot to give the Gophers the lead.

However, the Mavericks evened the game at 1-1 before the end of the opening frame and took a 2-1 lead early in period two. Kolstad scored on the power play at the 16:23 mark of the period to tie the game before a puck from Bryant’s stick found its way past Scobee to give the visitors the lead at the 7:58 mark of the second stanza.

The Gophers responded midway through the third period when S. Potomak capitalized on a feed from Amy Potomak and Emily Brown. S. Potomak one-timed the rebound off A. Potomak’s shot into an open net with Levy out of position after a flurry in front of the MSU netminder.

Wente then sealed the Gophers’ 27th win of the season with her 11th goal of the season at the 1:27 mark of the extra period. She poked the puck past Levy after A. Potomak put an initial shot on target for the win. S. Potomak picked up the second assist on the play.

The Gophers were scoreless on two power-play opportunities while the Mavericks went one-for-three with the skater advantage.

Prior to the game, Minnesota honored its eight seniors, Tianna Gunderson, Emma May, Kelly Pannek, Jackie Pieper, Nicole Schammel, Sophie Skarzynski, Sierra Smith, Taylor Williamson.

Minnesota wraps up the regular season with a road trip to Bemidji State next weekend.


MEN’S BASKETBALL
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Though several critical weeks remain in Jordan Murphy’s career at Minnesota, the Gophers have already found themselves thinking about how soon their indefatigable big man is going to be gone.

This was one of those games to savor.

With Murphy muscling his way to 23 points and 11 rebounds and Gabe Kalscheur going 6-for-8 from 3-point range, Minnesota stopped a four-game losing streak with an 84-63 victory over Indiana on Saturday.

Murphy had 17 points in the first half and his 18th double-double of the season.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen a guy that strong who’s just able to hold ground and do what he wants to do,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said.

Amir Coffey added 18 points for the Gophers (17-9, 7-8), who built a lead as big as 30 points during a smooth second half that had an intrasquad-scrimmage vibe as the Hoosiers took their 10th loss in their last 11 games. The worst 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten, Minnesota made a season-high 12 shots in 22 attempts from long range en route to its largest winning margin in 33 conference games since an 89-67 victory over Rutgers on Dec. 3, 2017.

“We took good ones,” coach Richard Pitino said, “and that snowballs.”

Kalscheur finished with 20 points and helped Coffey stifle Indiana star Romeo Langford with a quiet 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting. Juwan Morgan led the Hoosiers (13-12, 4-10) with 14 points and eight rebounds and Al Durham added 12 points, but they finished a season-worst 2-for-17 from 3-point range.

“They’re thinking, ‘Woe is me,’ instead of just, ‘We’ve got to fight out of this rut,'” said Morgan, the only senior among Indiana’s top seven players. “Nobody’s going to do it for us.”

Coming off a one-point loss at Nebraska that Pitino called the toughest of his six-year tenure at Minnesota in light of two disputed foul calls in the closing seconds, the Gophers needed a tension-relieving game like this to steer their NCAA Tournament bid back on track. They have a lot of work to do to get in, but resume-building opportunities remain with three of the conference’s top four teams left on the regular-season schedule.

“We just came out on fire,” Kalscheur said. “We just wanted to come out and throw the first punch.”

Murphy went to work right away on attacking the middle with his determined back-to-the-basket drives, and the Hoosiers had no counter. The 6-foot-7 senior put his exclamation point on the performance with an 180-degree spin move on Justin Smith for an emphatic dunk that gave the Gophers a 61-40 lead.

With 1,672 career points, Murphy is eighth on the program’s all-time list with a chance to catch Willie Burton (1,800 points) for second place. Murphy is also the second-leading rebounder in Big Ten history.

“We’re going to miss him,” Pitino said, proceeding to praise Murphy’s heart, durability and hand strength. “A lot of basketball players have identity crises. He does not. He knows what he’s good at, and he sticks to it.”

RACE RETURNS

Indiana redshirt freshman forward Race Thompson had two points and five rebounds in seven minutes, his second appearance of the season after sitting out with a concussion. He’s a product of Armstrong High School in a Minneapolis suburb, the son of former Gophers football star Darrell Thompson.

“I’m definitely 100 percent right now. I feel really good, better than I’ve probably felt since I’ve been here,” Thompson said.

SATURDAY BANKING HOURS

The Gophers entered the weekend ranked 314th in the country out of 353 NCAA Division I teams in 3-point shooting, at 31 percent. They gave themselves a rare early boost from behind the arc in whatever-it-takes fashion, making their first four attempts.

Oturu beat the shot clock with an off-balance heave that rimmed out and back in from the right wing in the opening minutes, the first try of the freshman center’s college career. Coffey banked in a 3-pointer a little later, as did Kalscheur.

“Especially if a couple people hit it, that’s going to give other people confidence,” Kalscheur said.

BIG PICTURE

Indiana: The Hoosiers saw their NCAA Tournament hopes further deflated. Their victories over Marquette, Louisville and Michigan State might give them a long-shot chance to get in with a long winning streak stretching into March, but there’s no sign they’re on the cusp of a surge. Miller replaced Smith in the starting lineup with De’Ron Davis, without much success.

“This is sort of deal-breaker. We need to make some real, in my opinion, drastic changes to the way we’re doing things right now,” Miller said.

Minnesota: The Gophers finally produced a game with their three best players, Murphy, Coffey and Kalscheur, all in a groove. Coffey had seven assists and only one turnover, and Kalscheur went 7-for-10 from the floor. The trio combined for 61 points after averaging a collective 33 points over the four-game losing streak.

UP NEXT

Minnesota: Stays home to face No. 6 Michigan on Thursday night. The Gophers lost 59-57 on the road to the Wolverines on Jan. 22.


SOFTBALL
CLEARWATER – The University of Minnesota split the second day of the St.Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational. They defeated Notre Dame in five innings (10-0) and fell to No. 1/2 Florida State (17-6).

The Gophers combined for 19 hits between the two games with nine different players adding to the total on the day.

Game 1: Minnesota 10, Notre Dame 0 (5)
The Gophers took control of the game with seven runs in the top of the first and never looked back.

Carlie Brandt and Emma Burns were responsible for bringing in five of the seven runs. Burns’ first career double brought in Josey White and MaKenna Partain, while Brandt’s first career home run drove in Burns and Allie Arneson. Maddie Houlihan and MaKenna Partain also crossed the plate for the Maroon and Gold in the top of the frame.

Minnesota had another big showing in the fifth inning, which would prove to be the final inning of the game. They tacked on three more runs to secure the 10-0 victory.

Hope Brandner started the inning off with a single up the middle. Macy Gill entered the game as a pinch runner for Brander and advanced to third after Katelyn Kemmetmueller reached second on a fielding error.

With two on base, Natalie DenHartog ripped her first collegiate homer, extending Minnesota’s lead to 10-0.

Amber Fiser pitched four scoreless innings while only allowing one hit. She recorded nine strikeouts on the day and at one point had six in a row retiring back-to-back frames by herself. With the win, Fiser is now 2-2 on the season with a 1.00 ERA and 36 strikeouts.

Sydney Smith entered the circle in the fifth inning for the first time this season She struck out two batters and only allowed one hit.

Arneson and Burns each had a multiple-hit games and Houlihan drew two walks.

Game 2: Florida State 16, Minnesota 6
Florida State rattled off five runs to start the game in the top of the first. The Gophers put one on the board in the bottom of the frame when Brandner set a single to left scoring Partain.

Smith got the start in the circle and struck out back-to-back batters to start off the second inning, but a FSU homer made it 6-1 going into the bottom of the inning.

Again the Gophers offense showed fight with a Partain triple that scored Burns and Ellee Jensen to cut FSU’s lead in half in the bottom of the second.

The offensive attack from FSU continued with back-to-back home runs in the top of the third.

Momentum seemed to be turning to the Maroon and Gold’s side in the fourth inning. They kept FSU off the board and loaded up the bases with Brandt, Jensen and Partain in the bottom but were unable to produce any runs out of the opportunity.

Florida State plated four more runs in the top of the fifth to take a 12-3 lead. With the Gophers in danger of losing in a run-rule, DenHartog came in clutch with her second homer of the day to make it 12-5 and extend the game.

“She’s got power. We knew that and it was a great matchup for her,” Trachsel said. “The biggest thing our young hitters did, including Natalie, was they didn’t chase bad pitches. Their composure at the plate was almost just as impressive as their execution.”

Hannah Bailey came into pitch in the top of the sixth and kept FSU’s bats under control, forcing three grounders to Partain.

Florida state capped off the game by adding five more runs in the seventh. Arneson scored the sixth and final run for the Gophers. The Gophers produced 10 hits in the game with three coming from Partain. Smith took the loss in the circle and is 0-1 on the season.

The Gophers are now 3-3 overall and will close out the weekend tomorrow with California at 9 a.m. CT on ESPN 3.

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