Second period helps Gophers stay perfect

The Gophers beat Minnesota-Duluth 4-1 on Friday to improve to 11-0-0.

Betsy Helfand

DULUTH, Minn. — The last time the Gophers journeyed up to Duluth, they left with a national championship.

Minnesota hasn’t lost since then, and it continued its winning ways Friday with a 4-1 win over Minnesota-Duluth at Amsoil Arena.

The Gophers blew the game open with three quick goals in the second period following a scoreless first period.

“I think our depth just kind of overwhelmed them a little bit,” head coach Brad Frost said.

Frost changed the second and third lines to start the second period, switching junior captain Bethany Brausen and Sarah Davis.

Brausen gave Minnesota a lead at the 9:29 mark in the second period with her first goal of the season.

Junior forward Kelly Terry won a faceoff following an icing and passed to sophomore forward Meghan Lorence, who found Brausen near the backside of the goal.

Brausen called the goal a “line effort” and said the line switch helped spark them. She said the offense had gotten a little stagnant in the last couple of games.

“Sometimes you just need a little switch like that,” Brausen said. “I think now that we made some switches … people get excited about the change and start buzzing a little different.”

Frost said the coaches had tinkered with the second and third lines throughout the week.

Frost also changed his defensive pairings for the second period, but switched them back for the third.

The top line, which Frost didn’t change, contributed two goals — both by freshman forward Maryanne Menefee — shortly after Brausen’s goal.

Menefee’s first goal came just 30 seconds after Brausen’s.

Menefee said it was the fastest-paced game she had played in college, which she liked.

Following a UMD goal in the third period, defenseman Megan Bozek gave Minnesota some insurance. She scored on the power play on a hard shot from the point through traffic.

Frost praised forward Becky Kortum for her screen on the goal.

Three of the Gophers’ goals had some elevation. Kayla Black, the Bulldogs goalie, was able to take away much of the lower portion of the net.

“She’s a big kid, so when she drops into that butterfly, she’s got everything covered post to post,” Frost said.

Frost said the Bulldogs played a great game and had a great game plan.

But it wasn’t enough against the defending national champions.

Brausen said when the Gophers arrived at Amsoil Arena, one of her teammates said it “smells like the national tournament in here.”

“It’s hard to ignore the excitement coming into the rink for the first time,” Brausen said. “All these memories come back. … It really puts you in the right direction to continue to do good things here.”

The Gophers will look for their sixth sweep of the season Saturday night.