Gophers sweep No. 4 UMD at home

Minnesota’s first line dominated the series with six goals.

No. 8 Amanda Kessel keeps control of the puck Saturday at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. The Gophers beat the Minnesota Duluth team Friday and Saturday nights.

No. 8 Amanda Kessel keeps control of the puck Saturday at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. The Gophers beat the Minnesota Duluth team Friday and Saturday nights.

Charlie Armitz

Led by the dominant play of its first line,  No. 3 Minnesota (10-2-0, 8-2-0 WCHA) swept rival and fourth-ranked Minnesota-Duluth over the weekend at Ridder Arena.

âÄúIt was huge âÄî to beat the No. 4 team in the country twice is a pretty big deal,âÄù head coach Brad Frost said.

The top line âÄî made up of Jen Schoullis, Amanda Kessel and Sarah Erickson âÄî played a role in all but one goal in the series and paced Minnesota to a 4-1 victory Friday and a 3-2 win Saturday.

âÄúWe take a lot of pride in being a line that really pushes the team,âÄù Schoullis said. âÄúWe want the team to play as hard as we do, and we think if we do that weâÄôre going to be golden.âÄù

âÄúWeâÄôve had great chemistry so far this year, and weâÄôre just going with it.âÄù

Schoullis scored twice on power plays Friday, first tying the game at 1-1 in the second period and then giving Minnesota a commanding 3-1 lead in the third.

Erickson scored the game-winning goal 9:11 into the third period, her sixth of the season.

Megan Bozek added a late empty-net goal to finalize the score at 4-1.

Minnesota was 2-for-8 on the power play Friday, while UMD was 0-for-5.

The Gophers also outshot UMD 37-21 in the game, including an 18-4 edge in the second period.

âÄúThe second period I thought we started moving our feet and dominated,âÄù Frost said Friday. âÄúWe talked in between the second and third period âÄî if we just had another period like we had in the second period, then we’d probably be fine, and the pucks would start going in, and they did.âÄù

Minnesota completed the weekend sweep of UMD with a 3-2 victory Saturday at Ridder Arena.

After only amassing five shots in the first period Friday, the Gophers jumped out to an early lead Saturday and never looked back.

Minnesota relied heavily on the play of its first line again Saturday.

Schoullis put the Gophers on the board 52 seconds into the game when she took a Kessel centering pass at the slot and flicked a wrist shot past UMD goaltender Jennifer Harss.

Kessel added a goal at 18:08 off a rebound of a Schoullis shot. Kessel leads the team with 10 goals on the season.

UMD’s Brigette Lacquette scored a power play goal at 2:04 into the second period, cutting MinnesotaâÄôs lead to 2-1.

The Gophers called a timeout two minutes later and responded.

âÄúWe were tired and I didnâÄôt want to give them any more momentum than they already had,âÄù Frost said. âÄúThere was a stretch of a few minutes and about five shifts where we werenâÄôt playing very well, and we just needed to get back at it.âÄù

Following the timeout, the potent Minnesota first line struck again to extend its lead to 3-1.

Kessel battled to earn the puck behind the net after a faceoff in the UMD zone and centered it to Erickson, who netted her seventh goal of the season.

No. 4 UMD (4-5-1, 1-4-1 WCHA) made it interesting when Brienna Gillanders, cousin of Minnesota defenseman Baylee Gillanders, deflected a Mariia Posa shot into the back of the net to pull the Bulldogs within one.

It was the second power play goal of the game for UMD against the typically stingy Gophers penalty kill.

Minnesota had two two-on-one opportunities and various chances in front of the net in an attempt to put the game out of reach in the third period, but Harss made several great saves to keep the Bulldogs in it.âÄúI thought we could have had five or six goals maybe that could have went in,âÄù Schoullis said. âÄúThey didnâÄôt, but thatâÄôs just hockey, and hopefully theyâÄôll come in another game.âÄù