Gophers roll to second round

Monica Wright

If Minnesota goalie Crystal Nicholas looked bored in the first game of the WCHA tournament, no one could blame her.
Nicholas faced only six shots on goal in the entire game while Minnesota State goalie Jennie Padgett scrambled to stop the barrage of 60 shots by the Gophers, which netted a 10-0 shutout for Minnesota.
With the win, the Gophers easily advance to the semifinals tomorrow at 3:30 in which they face either third-seeded Wisconsin or sixth-seeded Bemidji State.
But for Minnesota State senior Katie Ingram, the shutout was a painful way to end her career and the season.
“A loss is a loss regardless of the score,” Ingram said. “It’s not the way I wanted to end my career, but it’s a young program and I think there is a lot for our team to look forward to.”
Gophers junior Winny Brodt — who scored two goals and one assist just a day after being named WCHA defensive player of the year — is looking forward to a repeat performance tomorrow from her teammates.
“Our goal for the tournament is to play the three games as if they are three periods,” Brodt said. “We want to play each period well and finish them off one by one.”
Since Minnesota State didn’t offer up much of a challenge for the Gophers, the team focused on becoming acclimated to the smaller ice surface of the Bloomington Ice Gardens.
“The rink was a lot different, but we adjusted quickly,” Halldorson said. “It was a good initial game to get used to a different environment. I like the small sheet in terms of the quickness of the game.”
Junior Nadine Muzerall — who added three goals to her nation-leading total of 46 — found the smaller surface added humor to the tournament.
“At Mariucci you can’t get your own rebounds off the boards like you can here,” Muzerall said with a laugh.
The game was also a chance for the Gophers to use all of their lines in preparation for upcoming games — six different players scored during the game.
With such a seemingly easy win, Halldorson couldn’t find much fault with her team.
“We did what we needed to do,” Halldorson said. “Each person helped and prepared in their own way.”
In other WCHA action, the winner of the St. Cloud State vs. Ohio State game faces Minnesota-Duluth today at 7:00.

Monica Wright covers women’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]