Minnesota extends unbeaten streak to 13 with sweep at UND

Ten different Gophers skaters earned at least one point over the weekend.

Austin Cumblad

For once, 13 might not be such an unlucky number.

With a pair of wins over the University of North Dakota this weekend, the Minnesota women’s hockey team extended its unbeaten streak to 13 and has now won seven straight against Western Collegiate Hockey Association opponents.

The Gophers (17-4-3 Overall, 13-4-1 WCHA) followed a 4-1 victory Friday night with a 2-1 win Saturday with 10 different players contributing points in the sweep.

On Friday, four different players found the back of the net as nine players scored at least one point.

Seven of those 12 points were tallied by nonstarters, something that is very encouraging to coaches and players alike.

“We take great comfort in knowing that we have players contributing from all the lines,” senior forward Bobbi Ross said.

Such depth is not something that past teams have always had but it’s certainly working in Minnesota’s favor.

The 13 game streak the Gophers are riding is the longest since the 2004-2005 season in which they won the NCAA National Championship. That team had an abundance of talent, but head coach Brad Frost said there are some differences between the two teams.

“Our team in ’04 and ’05 had some real dynamic players that oftentimes carried the load for us,” he said. “I think our team this year really looks to everyone to contribute.”

Saturday’s winning goal came on a penalty shot from Ross, the second successful penalty shot in the history of the Minnesota women’s hockey program.

The first came nearly two years ago at the 2006 NCAA Frozen Four and was also scored by Ross, making her the only player to score a penalty shot goal in the history of the program.

Despite the Gophers’ success, the team is adamant that there is still work to be done.

“We’re not trying to stay anywhere, we’re really trying to get better,” Ross said. “Every week we’re trying to fine tune the things that weren’t what we needed the weekend before.”

Still, the second half of this season has certainly started on the right foot. Last year the Gophers lost five of six immediately after the holiday break; this year though, Minnesota has been able to maintain momentum.

The struggles from last season are clearly still on the mind of coach Frost, however.

“If we don’t have a great second half, then the first half is going to go to waste.”

As things are going now, the first half is definitely not being wasted, but the season is far from over.

“We’re playing conference opponents the rest of the way through,” junior forward Gigi Marvin said. “It’s imperative that we bring our ‘A’ game to each series. The second half is all about coming together as a team, and I believe we can do that.”