Minnesota sweeps No. 3 Clarkson

The Gophers continued their home dominance with wins of 4-0 and 2-0.

John Hageman

The No. 2 Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team knew it was going to be facing a tough test this weekend, but the squad passed with flying colors. The Gophers took down No. 3 Clarkson 4-0 Friday and 2-0 Saturday. With the sweep, the Gophers improve to 13-2-1 while Clarkson falls to 12-4-1. It was the first time the Golden Knights were shut out in back-to-back games since January 2007. Coming into the series, the Golden Knights were 6-1-1 against ranked opponents, but their strong play against top opponents was one of the few things the Gophers knew about them going into their first meeting in history. âÄúI think anytime you have a top team come into your place, you want to bring your best effort and see what happens,âÄù Minnesota head coach Brad Frost said. It took more than a period and a half for either team to score Friday, but that changed when junior Terra Rasmussen gave the Gophers the lead in the second period with her third goal in her past three games. Minnesota dominated the final period, adding goals from sophomore Kelly Seeler and captains Emily West and Brittany Francis. âÄúI thought that was the best 60 minutes of hockey that weâÄôve played consecutively this year,âÄù Frost said. âÄúWeâÄôve played a lot of great games, but this was a complete effort.âÄù SaturdayâÄôs game was a messier win, with Minnesota called for nine penalties, including four in the first period. The Minnesota defense came through for an effective penalty kill Saturday, allowing only six shots on goal in ClarksonâÄôs eight power-play opportunities. âÄúWe obviously need to stay out of the box a little bit more,âÄù senior Michelle Maunu said. âÄúIf youâÄôre going to jump on them the way we did, they canâÄôt really do much with it.âÄù West scored the only two goals of the game, both of which came in the first period. The first came at 6:18 , when West weaved through a couple defenders and bounced the puck over Clarkson goalie Laura DahmâÄôs left pad. The second goal was a bit more controversial. WestâÄôs rebound flew up in the air and landed in the back of the net, prompting a review. âÄúI assume that one of their players tried to high stick it and it went in. [It was] just a lucky break,âÄù West said. With the two scores, West is now tied for second in the nation in goals with teammate Sarah Erickson, both tallying 12 on the year. Freshman goalie Noora Räty came away with both shutouts over the weekend, tallying 20 saves Friday and 21 on Saturday. The two goalies are some of the best in the country, but the Gophers were able to keep the pressure on Dahm, outshooting Clarkson 75-41 on the weekend. Frost said that while Räty will miss some games to represent Finland in the Olympics, the team still has a couple great goalies that the team can rely on in Jenny Lura and Alyssa Grogan . This weekend will be especially important later in the season when the selection committee seeds teams for the NCAA tournament. âÄúWe talked about trying to make a statement coming into the weekend, and holding a team like Clarkson scoreless on the weekend I think is a pretty good statement,âÄù Frost said. The weekend series marked the last time the Gophers will play in Ridder Arena until Jan. 8. They will travel out east to take on No. 10 Harvard next weekend.