Minnesota women’s hockey closes first half with split at BU

The Gophers rallied during Saturday’s series finale but fell 6-5 in overtime.

Junior forward Kelly Pannek skates against the Lindenwood Lions on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 at Ridder Arena.

Image by Chelsea Gortmaker, Daily File Ph

Junior forward Kelly Pannek skates against the Lindenwood Lions on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 at Ridder Arena.

by Tommy Sletten

The Gophers traveled to the East Coast over the weekend and came home with a split to cap the first half of the season.

No. 2 Minnesota won 5-1 over Boston University Friday but lost the second game of the series 6-5 in overtime.

“We were certainly hoping for better. Yesterday we got out of the gates quickly, but today BU got out quickly, but our team battled back,” head coach Brad Frost said Saturday. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the result we were looking for, but I’m proud of our kids for the way they competed and laid it all on the line.”

The Gophers looked like completely different teams defensively in the two games, where they were utterly dominant in the first and lost defensively in the second.

Minnesota’s first game saw the team come out firing in the first period, where defenseman Megan Wolfe scored a power play goal less than two minutes into the game and was followed up by a shorthanded goal from forward Kate Schipper.

Forward Sarah Potomak scored the third and final goal of the first period to make the score 3-0.

The scoring didn’t stop for Minnesota there as forward Cara Piazza scored one more in the second before Boston scored its first.

Redshirt senior defenseman Lee Stecklein scored the fifth and final goal for Minnesota in the third period to reach the final score of 5-1.

Redshirt junior goalie Sidney Peters had 14 saves on the night.

After that, the Gophers came into the second game with all the momentum, but the home team didn’t let Minnesota get off easily.

Boston held a 5-3 lead deep into the third period, with Minnesota going into desperation mode andattempting to salvage what was left of the game.

With just over five minutes left in the game, junior forward Kelly Pannek scored her first goal of the game to bring Minnesota within one.

Then, with less than two minutes to go, Stecklein netted the equalizer and forced overtime.

“I’m really proud of the kids for battling. I just really felt like we had the momentum,” Frost said.

Again the Gophers had all the drive, scoring the final two goals of regulation. But the Terriers’ Natalie Flynn had other things in mind.

Flynn scored just 1:40 into overtime, crushing Minnesota’s hopes for a weekend sweep.

Peters had 16 saves but allowed six goals.

Pannek finished with one goal and five assists on the weekend, while Potomak had two goals and two assists.

Minnesota also played without its top goal scorer, senior forward Dani Cameranesi, who was out due to injury.

Minnesota goes into the winter break with a record of 15-3-2.

“It’s hard coming off a loss, but, in the end, we have three losses, and that’s not bad,” Pannek said. “Losing three games out of 20 isn’t bad, but we still have a lot of room for growth as a team.”