Minnesota ties NCAA record with 21st straight win

Minnesota beat MSU-Mankato 3-0 on Friday at Ridder Arena.

Betsy Helfand

The Gophers women’s hockey team extended its winning streak to 21 games, tying an NCAA Division I record, as it beat Minnesota State-Mankato 3-0 on Friday at Ridder Arena.

Freshman forward Hannah Brandt, the team’s leading scorer, had two goals in Minnesota’s first home game since Oct. 20.

The Gophers didn’t score until late in second period — a rarity for a team that’s dominated opponents all season.

“I think we faced adversity today a little bit,” goaltender Noora Räty said. “Usually we’re up a couple goals after the first.”

Minnesota had a couple of good early chances, including shots by senior captain Megan Bozek and junior forward Amanda Kessel, which both hit the metal.

“I think it just wasn’t our day with the bounces,” Brandt said. “Some days they go in and we get 10 goals.”

Head coach Brad Frost said the Gophers did “a lot of real good things,” in the first period but “needed to tighten things up.”

“They were a lot more aggressive on their forecheck than we had seen on video, so we made some adjustments there,” Frost said.

Brandt scored Minnesota’s first goal at the 14:02 mark in the second period.

Kessel slid a pass from across the left side of the net to Brandt, who was standing near the post on the right side and shot it in.

Bozek was also credited with an assist on the play.

Freshman Maryanne Menefee scored the Gophers’ second goal with a minute left in the second period.

“I think when we started pressuring their [defense] a little more, we started to get a few more turnovers, which led to a couple of those goals,” Frost said.

Minnesota outshot the Mavericks 18-5 in the second period, and Brandt said she thought Minnesota’s depth took over.

“We’ve got four solid lines,” Brandt said. “We just wear the other teams down. I think it’s hard for them to keep going after the first period.”

Brandt added another goal in the third period. Senior forward Becky Kortum brought the puck behind and passed to Brandt, who had a wide-open look.

Minnesota took three penalties in the third period and allowed 14 shots on goal. It had allowed 10 in the first two periods combined.

“We took some unnecessary penalties at the end of the game there to give [Räty] more action,” Frost said. “She worked hard for that shutout tonight.”

The shutout was Räty’s second in a row and the 32nd of her career.

Minnesota will look to break the NCAA consecutive wins record Saturday with another game against MSU-Mankato.

McMillen sits out

Freshman defenseman Milica McMillen did not play Friday.

Frost said she had broken team rules and would not be in the lineup Saturday either.