Women’s hockey pregame report: (3) Gophers vs. Minnesota State

by John Hageman

 Sorry about the technical difficulties last night folks. Hopefully we’re in for a full night of my humorous and insightful comments. 

Tonight’s starters for the Gophers: #41 Noora Raty #19 Megan Bozek #8 Mira Jalosuo #5 Laura May #14 Chelsey Jones #11 Becky Kortum

On to last night’s game. The Gophers earned their first win in what they hope to be a long postseason run against the Mavericks 8-5 here at Ridder Arena. 

The eight goals were a welcome sight for the Gophers. It was the most goals they’ve scored in one game all year, and almost as much as they have scored in their last three games combined.

Part way through the second half of the season, the Gophers changed up the lines due to a lack of goal production. The players and coaches said they were comfortable with the changes, and it really showed last night. In all 13 different players had a point in the victory.

2008 Ms. Hockey freshman Becky Kortum tallied three points with a goal and two assists last night. It was the most points she has scored all year.

While the Gophers’ offense was in full form Friday, the defense wasn’t exactly stifling. In her first game back from the Olympics, Noora Raty allowed five goals, including four in the second period, on 33 shots faced. A majority of those goals were the result of the Minnesota defense breaking down and allowing odd-man rushes that put the Finnish freshman in a bad position. However, Raty may still be a bit worn out after  just winning the bronze medal in a 3-2 overtime victory over Sweden the day before. She’s all suited up today, and I would expect her to get the nod.

But give a lot of credit to Minnesota-State, who despite playing as the undisputed underdog, kept pace with the Gophers all night. Going into the final act, the score was all tied up, and the Mavericks never let Minnesota gain more than a two-goal advantage over them in the first two periods.

In other action last night, Minnesota-Duluth beat North Dakota, St. Cloud State defeated Bemidji, and Ohio State went into Madison and beat the Badgers 3-2 in an overtime thriller. The defending NCAA National Champions will face elimination tonight at 7:07 p.m.

Today’s game will begin at 4:07 p.m., where the Gophers hope to sweep the Mavericks on their way to the WCHA Final Face-Off. Catch my live blog of the action, that is, unless we crash. In that case go back to whatever else it was you were doing.