Grace Zumwinkle and Taylor Wente take care of Minnesota-Duluth

The freshman duo combined for nine points during Minnesota’s weekend series against the Bulldogs.

Grace Zumwinkle keeps the puck away from a Minnesota-Duluth player on Friday, Dec. 8 at Ridder Arena.

Courtney Deutz

Grace Zumwinkle keeps the puck away from a Minnesota-Duluth player on Friday, Dec. 8 at Ridder Arena.

Erik Nelson

Forwards Taylor Wente and Grace Zumwinkle are roommates at Minnesota and former teammates on the U-18 National team.

The duo’s chemistry showed in the Gophers’ series versus the Bulldogs.

Wente and Zumwinkle combined for nine points in the two-game series versus Minnesota-Duluth. Wente said she and Zumwinkle read each other well. 

“I’ve known her forever, so I know what she does and how she plays. I can feed off of her and she can feed off of me,” Wente said. “When we both use our speed, it definitely makes us hard to defend.”

No. 6 Minnesota (15-5-2, 10-4-2-0 WCHA) tied Minnesota-Duluth (9-11-1, 5-8-1-1 WCHA) on Friday night 3-3 before the Bulldogs won in a shootout. Minnesota won on Saturday 5-0. 

Zumwinkle scored with 8.7 seconds left in the second period on Saturday and also recorded an assist. She was named the game’s second star and scored five points Friday and Saturday.

The two started the scoring in the series when Zumwinkle and Wente got out to a breakaway. The forwards exchanged passes until Zumwinkle found Wente right by the net. Wente shot it past goaltender Jessica Convery for the goal and the 1-0 lead.

On Friday night, Zumwinkle scored at the 3:31 mark of the third period after Wente passed the puck through two defenders and towards Zumwinkle. This time, it was Zumwinkle’s turn to shoot, as she netted the goal diving towards the front of the net. 

“That was finishing off rebounds [and] getting to the net because that’s where a lot of goals are scored,” Zumwinkle said.

Head coach Brad Frost said on Friday the two play off each other well.

“They played a lot together in their USA high school hockey days,” Frost said. “I thought they did a nice job.”

The line of Nicole Schammel, Wente and Zumwinkle played in Minnesota’s series against the Bulldogs and two previous series against Lindenwood and Bemidji State. Schammel said her line was motivated to do well against Minnesota-Duluth. Zumwinkle and Schammel are tied for first on the team in goals, each with 11. Wente is close behind with eight goals on the season, which ranks tied for second.

“We were kind of frustrated that we weren’t scoring on some of our chances. We capitalized on our chances this weekend,” Schammel said.

Wente scored the first goal for Minnesota in both games. She recorded four points over the weekend. In both games, she scored one goal and assisted on another. Zumwinkle finished the first game with two assists and a score.

Wente said one of Zumwinkle’s strengths is her shot, which makes it special to play with her. 

“When it does hit the net, it creates rebounds and helps our team be successful,” Wente said.