Minnesota blows out Wildcats
UNH struggles defensively against Gophers
It was known coming into the weekend that the University of Minnesota women's hockey team was a force with which to be reckoned with. They are not only the defending national champions in women's NCAA Division-I ice hockey, but they hold the same depth of well-rounded players.
They established themselves as the team to beat this season, coming into a weekend doubleheader against the University of New Hampshire with a 14-0-0 record.
The Golden Gophers took care of business on Saturday afternoon for game one of the doubleheader, embarrassing the Wildcats by a score of 10-2.
Minnesota opened up the game with three first period goals. The first one came 2:19 into the period off the stick of Amanda Kessel. Hannah Brandt then netted the next two as she scored 4:42 and 12:21 into the period.
The one highlight of the game for the Wildcats was when Haley Breedlove got New Hampshire on the board with her first career goal, seconds after Brandt's goal. Breedlove found a pass from teammate Caroline Broderick in front of the net, as Breedlove one-timed it past Minnesota goaltender Noora Raty. Kayla Mork was credited with the second assist on the play for her first point of the season. Through one period of play Minnesota held a 3-1 lead.
The Golden Gophers struck early again, as Lee Stecklein tallied her first goal of the year when she scored on a power play 3:06 into the second period. Rachael Bona then tallied a goal seconds later, 3:19 into the period to increase the lead at 5-1. Jessica Hitchcock helped put the 'Cats back on the board with her third goal in two games with 13:52 left in the period on a power play to bring the score to 5-2. Megan Armstrong and Alexis Crossley tallied assists on the play.
Minnesota increased its lead once again with a two-goal burst late in the second period, upping the lead to 7-2 with goals by Meghan Lorence and Bethany Brausen at 17:19 and 18:10 of the second period. Minnesota was up 7-2 after two periods of play.
The Golden Gophers continued to dominate the Wildcats as they capped off their scoring in the third period with three more goals coming from Kessel, Kelly Terry and Brandt. After three periods of play, UNH fell 10-2. Minnesota outshot New Hampshire 37-9 over the course of the game.
New Hampshire played a better defensive game on Sunday, but failed to put the puck past Amanda Leveille. Minnesota prevailed victorious once more as they won easily 4-0 to grab the sweep of the weekend series.
Minnesota struck first as they broke the stalemate to take a 1-0 lead at the 12:10 mark of the first period when Lee Stecklein tallied her second goal of the season on a power play. New Hampshire goaltender Moe Bradley prevented Minnesota from adding additional goals in the period after making a total of 14 saves on the 15 shots she faced. Through one period of play, the score was 1-0 in favor Minnesota.
Minnesota's knack for scoring early continued as it extended its lead just 1:34 into the second period courtesy of Rachel Bona's sixth goal of the season. Milica McMillen then gave Minnesota a 3-0 lead with 5:54 remaining in the second period as she roofed the puck past Bradley.
The Wildcats came into the third period with stronger offensive play as they doubled their shots over the previous two periods with eight, but they could not manage to score. Minnesota grabbed a quick score 3:02 into the third period by the offensive-minded Kessel, who tallied her 20th goal of the season on the penalty kill. The rest of the period remained competitive, but New Hampshire could not muster a goal as the 'Cats were shut out by a final score of 4-0. Minnesota outshot them 43-16 in three periods of action.
New Hampshire's was Bradley, who received her first decision of the year, made an impressive 39 saves in net.
With the two wins, Minnesota improves its record to an impressive 16-0-0. As for the two losses, UNH falls to 6-9-1 on the season.
The Wildcats will take to the ice and look to gain new ground on Saturday, Dec. 1 when they host Northeastern in a Hockey East contest at 2 p.m. at the Whittemore Center.
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