Minnesota sweeps Colgate to start season

The New York trip ended in 3-1 and 8-3 victories for the Gophers.

Minnesota forward Rachael Bona yells out to her teammates after scoring a point against Minnesota Duluth on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, at Ridder Arena.

Ichigo Takikawa, Daily File Photo

Minnesota forward Rachael Bona yells out to her teammates after scoring a point against Minnesota Duluth on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, at Ridder Arena.

Betsy Helfand

Minnesota completed a sweep of Colgate to begin its season for the second straight year, but the similarity between the two series ended there.

Minnesota found itself down a goal in both games but bounced back to win 3-1 and 8-3 over the weekend, a change from last year, when the Gophers overpowered the Raiders 18-0 in two games.

 “You don’t lose so many great players … and expect to come out and roll over teams,” head coach Brad Frost said. “You never want to get down a goal, but it was good to see the way our players responded.”

The Gophers didn’t face a lot of adversity at the beginning of last season, and junior defenseman Rachel Ramsey said it was nice for the team to see it could overcome challenges this weekend.

She said Colgate’s team improved from last year.

“I think it was good for us to start off the season not with a blowout team and actually get some good competition going,” Ramsey said.

The Gophers fell behind Friday night after Colgate scored a power-play goal just two minutes into the first period.

Sophomore Hannah Brandt responded with a goal later in the first period, but the two teams were tied until the third.

“We just realized that we didn’t come out how we wanted to … and that we needed to pick it up,” junior Rachael Bona said of the first two periods. “I think we all knew that we had more in us than we were showing.”

Bona scored two goals in the third period to seal the win for the Gophers, including an unassisted, shorthanded goal.

Frost said he was happy with the way the team competed Saturday.

“[We] put a little more energy on the puck and got some more rewards with some goals,” he said.

Colgate took a lead early on and then took another just seconds after the Gophers tied the game.

But Minnesota scored the next five goals, two of which were from Bona, to put the game away.

“She’s always been somebody with great hands and some scoring ability, but she’s taken that to another level and just been a real leader for us on the ice,” Frost said of Bona.

Bona has been playing on a line with Brandt and sophomore Maryanne Menefee.

She played with the two a little bit last season, and Bona said they play well together.

“They’re both great players, so it makes it really easy,” she said.

The line had four goals and eight assists in Saturday’s game.

Minnesota was able to overcome 14 penalties over the weekend thanks to its scoring effort, but the Gophers know they need to commit fewer penalties moving forward.

Ramsey said the team has a rule to try committing three or fewer penalties per game.

Ramsey said the style of play out East is less physical and the referees in the WCHA “tend to let a little bit more go.”

“When we start playing some of the top teams in the country, that could really come back to hurt us,” Frost said.

The Gophers are still shuffling around lines and defensive pairs, which Ramsey said made the team’s systems a little “chaotic” this weekend.

Frost said the team is getting closer to solidifying its defensive pairings.

He said sophomore Brook Garzone, a forward who’s been playing defense for Minnesota this season, got hurt in practice during the week and will be re-evaluated this week.

“Depending on Brook’s status, that may clarify some things one way or another [defensively],” Frost said. “So we’ll just kind of wait to see what her status is … and go from there.”

Minnesota will face off against Wisconsin in its home opener next weekend.