Minnesota sweeps Minnesota State to extend winning streak

The Gophers defeated the Mavericks 5-1 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday in Mankato, Minnesota.

Sophomore goaltender Alex Gulstene makes a save. Gopher women's hockey beat Mercyhurst 4-2 in their season opener on Friday, Sept. 28 at Ridder Arena.

Tony Saunders

Sophomore goaltender Alex Gulstene makes a save. Gopher women’s hockey beat Mercyhurst 4-2 in their season opener on Friday, Sept. 28 at Ridder Arena.

Erik Nelson

The Gophers’ winning streak has lasted for more than two months. It will last another week.

No 2. Minnesota (21-2-1, 11-2-1-0) defeated Minnesota State (8-10-4, 3-9-2-1) 5-1 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday, extending its winning streak to 14 games.  Right winger Grace Zumwinkle scored twice and right winger Alex Woken recorded three points. Goaltender Sydney Scobee made 23 saves, winning her sixth game of the season.

Head coach Brad Frost said Minnesota didn’t reminisce on its Minnesota Cup victory and remained focused on continuing to win.

“It’s another big series against a much improved team,” Frost said Saturday. “This is the best year that they’re having in 12 years. We didn’t want to take anything for granted and knew that it was going to be a tough game.”

Minnesota struck twice late in the first period. Left winger Taylor Williamson scored the first goal of Saturday’s game, beating Minnesota State goaltender Abigail Levy with a hard wrist shot. Williamson’s ninth goal of the season came at 17:44 of the first period. At 19:59 of the period, Zumwinkle scored her 17th goal of the season, beating both Levy and the horn with .4 seconds to go. 

The Mavericks responded twice in the second period to cut the Gophers’ lead to 3-2. Left winger Jordan McLaughlin scored on the power play at 8:44 of the period. McLaughlin banged home a rebound past Scobee to get Minnesota State on the board. Less than a minute later, at 9:42 of the period, Mavericks’ right winger Brooke Bryant scored to cut the Gophers lead to 3-2.

Woken gave Minnesota some breathing room at 17:59 of the period, beating Levy with a wrist shot for her eighth goal of the season. 

Woken said the Gophers responded well after allowing the Mavericks to get back into the game.

“[Response] was a big word,” Woken said. “They’re a good team, so we knew they were going to make a push back. It was a big deal for us going into this big weekend coming up.”

Center Amy Potomak scored the final goal at 13:54 of the third period. It was Potomak’s sixth goal of the season and second of the series.

Balanced scoring helps Gophers topple Mavericks in series opener

There was no Minnesota Cup hangover for the Gophers.

Minnesota defeated Minnesota State 5-1 on Friday night. Goaltender Alex Gulstene made 18 saves, winning her 15th game of the season.

Defender Patti Marshall said Friday night’s game felt like a home game for Minnesota.

“There was a lot of maroon and gold up in the stands which is nice to see,” Marshall said. “We have great fans. It means a lot to us that they’re traveling and supporting us all the way out here [in Mankato]. They support us throughout the entire season, not just the big games or at home.”

Marshall opened the scoring for the Gophers at 10:55 of the first period. She ripped a slap shot past Levy, who was screened on the play. It was Marshall’s second goal of the season.

Potomak ended her six-game goal drought at 1:40 of the second period. While the Gophers were on a power play, Potomak beat Levy with a wrist shot from the slot for her fifth goal of the season, extending Minnesota’s lead to 3-0.

Potomak said Minnesota’s depth is one of its top strengths.

“A good thing about our team is that you can mix up the lines and still have chemistry,” Potomak said. “Our team has a lot of depth that way. “

Minnesota’s next series will be against No. 1 Wisconsin (20-2-0-0, 10-2-0-0) Friday-Saturday at Ridder Arena. Friday’s game begins at 7:07 p.m and Saturday’s game begins at 4:07 p.m.

Center Taylor Heise said the Gophers are  looking forward to playing the Badgers. Minnesota’s most recent loss came against Wisconsin on Oct. 28.

“We’ve got to come out with a tremendous amount of pressure and confidence in each other,” Heise said. “I’m excited for the battle and ready for whatever is to come.”