Minnesota spending a lot of time in the penalty box

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Ashley Goetz

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Penalties are a part of hockey. For the Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team, penalties have become a common occurrence during their games. This weekend, Minnesota took eight penalties Friday against Minnesota State, and coach Brad Frost said his team spent too much time in the box that game. Junior Brittany Francis said Minnesota State is a very physical team which could have been a reason for the GophersâÄô excessive amount of time in the box However, itâÄôs not the most time the Gophers have spent in the box this season. Against Minnesota-Duluth on Oct. 11, the Gophers sat in the box for 32 minutes , just more than half of the 60-minute game. The Gophers average 7.5 penalties per game and 17.1 penalty minutes per game. They have taken 105 penalties for 240 minutes this season and are tied with Minnesota-Duluth for penalty minutes in the WCHA . First-year Jocelyne Lamoureux leads the team with 16 penalties . In only four games have the GophersâÄô opponents taken more penalties than them. Because of the large amounts of penalties, the Gophers penalty kill has spent their fair share on the ice. Opponents have had a difficult time scoring while Minnesota is down a player. Nine power-play goals have been allowed and the Gophers are 89.9 percent efficient on their penalty kill, second to Wisconsin in the WCHA. And skating a player down hasnâÄôt hurt MinnesotaâÄôs goal production either on the penalty kill, the Gophers have scored four shorthanded goals this season. The most recent was first-year Monique Lamoureux on Friday night against Minnesota State . Senior captain Melanie Gagnon said she is and isnâÄôt concerned about the number of penalties the Gophers have taken. âÄúWeâÄôd preferably not be in the box but IâÄôm happy with the way we respond,âÄù Gagnon said. Gagnon is third on the all-time penalty-minutes list with 171 minutes in her career as a Gopher. Former Gophers skater Kelly Stephens tops that list with 242 during her career in 2001-05. On the other side, MinnesotaâÄôs opponents have taken 103 penalties and the Gophers scored 17 power-play goals. Recently, the Gophers changed their attack on the power-play and Francis said it hasnâÄôt had much luck. âÄúWe switched up our power play and I feel like we didnâÄôt know what to do,âÄù Francis said after the MSU game on Friday. Senior captain Gigi Marvin leads this yearâÄôs squad with three power-play goals. Francis said she is absolutely not worried about her team breaking down after many penalties. âÄúI think our team will bounce back from everything,âÄù She said. âÄúWe have such strong leaders and everyone in the locker room is positive.âÄù