Women’s hockey takes sweep against top teams

Paul Markgraff

The Gophers women’s hockey team split their third series in a row this weekend, beating third-ranked Brown and losing to first-ranked Harvard.
The games were worlds apart in terms of the way the Gophers played. Minnesota lost Sunday afternoon 8-3 against a very quick, very powerful Harvard team. The Crimson came out and scored the early goal that put them ahead for the rest of the game.
Harvard’s Tammy Shewchuk scored the first goal. Shewchuk’s goal set the tone: Minnesota sat on its heels and reacted to the Crimson. The Gophers were just sloppy. And it all goes back to that first goal.
“That first goal is huge,” said Gophers coach Laura Halldorson. “Bottom line is they have some great players, and they showed why they’re the national championship team.”
Harvard coach, Katey Stone claimed the game was tougher than you might think.
“I really don’t feel the 8-3 score was indicative of the game,” said Stone. “It wasn’t an 8-3 game; it was a heck of a lot closer than that.”
But Friday night was a whole other story. The Gophers beat the third-ranked Bears in decisive fashion, shutting them out 4-0. Minnesota showcased its talent by playing intensely on both the offensive and defensive sides of the puck.
“They were on top of their game,” said Brown coach, Margaret Degidio Murphy of the Gophers’ play. “We could have beat them if we played disciplined mentally.”
Sophomore wing Laura Slominski netted the Gophers’ first goal just 43 seconds into the game.
“It’s all because we heard ‘Eye of the Tiger’ before we stepped on the ice,” said Gophers goaltender Erica Killewald. “I think (Slominski) got fired up and went out there and put the puck in the net.”
But it was Killewald who was the most on top of her game, saving 25 shots to capture her 13th career shutout.
Killewald put up a defensive wall in front of the net, stopping all shots that came her way, including several while lying sprawled across the crease.
“She was definitely sharp the whole game,” Halldorson said of her goaltender.
Freshman center Ronda Curtin ended the game, scoring on a flashy unassisted goal with just three seconds left. She made Brown goaltender Ali Brewer commit left, swung the puck to the right, and slammed it home.
“That was our only game against Brown,” she said. “We had one shot at them; it was great to take advantage.”

Paul Markgraff covers women’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]