Gophers split series against Minnesota-Duluth

Minnesota has lost three of its last four games.

Forward Amy Potomak lunges for the puck at Ridder Arena on Saturday, Feb. 1. The Gophers lost to Minnesota Duluth 0-2.

Liam Armstrong

Forward Amy Potomak lunges for the puck at Ridder Arena on Saturday, Feb. 1. The Gophers lost to Minnesota Duluth 0-2.

Matthew Kennedy

It was a tale of two games for the Gophers’ women’s hockey team this weekend as they split their series against No. 9 Minnesota-Duluth at Ridder Arena. 

Minnesota has now lost three of its last four. Still, Minnesota has dropped only five matchups in regulation all season. The Gophers split their four matchups with the Bulldogs this season as each team came away with two wins. 

Amy Potomak’s first period hat trick leads to Gophers blowout

The Gophers came out Friday in a fury, jumping out to a 12-0 shots on goal advantage before Amy Potomak converted on a power-play goal making the score 1-0 seven minutes into the period. It took almost half of the first period for the Bulldogs to successfully fire a shot on goal thanks to the Gophers stifling defense.

Sydney Scobee also made an incredible save on a Duluth breakaway that could’ve tied the game halfway through the period. Later, Potomak connected on her second goal of the game. Then she converted on her third goal of the game, a hat trick right before the end of the first period. 

“As a team, we came out jumping and put the pressure on them,” Potomak said. “I got some good bounces and luckily with the help of my teammates, I was able to have a successful period on the ice. Everyone in the locker room was super excited after the first period which was nice.”

In the second, the Gophers continued their stellar play but scored less. Around the 18 minute mark, the Bulldogs nearly had a goal but the puck was barely kept under Scobee’s leg. The Gophers managed to score a goal coming from Alex Woken to make the game 4-0 heading into the third.

The third period was more contained by UMD and the two teams were pretty much even. There were no goals converted until the Gophers went on a crucial power play at the halfway mark of the final period and scored their fifth goal from Woken, her second of the game. The Gophers outshot the Bulldogs 50-17 in what was their best all-around performance of the season.

UMD turns the tide on Saturday

Despite their dominance on Friday, the Gophers did not capitalize on their tremendous momentum. The Bulldogs got a goal early and didn’t let go. 

The second period featured another score for Minnesota-Duluth making the game 2-0. The Bulldogs were more focused and even though the Gophers outshot them 35-24, Minnesota-Duluth still managed to get more pucks in the net. 

The Bulldogs made the Gophers look out of sync at times, and brought more energy, looking like a completely different team. 

After seemingly getting back on the right track, head coach Brad Frost and the Gophers will return to the drawing board before heading on a road trip.

“Tough result here today. I’m still proud of our effort going against a red hot goaltender,” Frost said. “I felt like last night we had more second and third chance opportunities and didn’t convert on power plays. Yet, all-in-all, when the pucks don’t go in the net, it’s easy to look at this game as a lost cause. I think we played well tonight, things just didn’t go our way in the scoring column.”

The Gophers travel north to Bemidji State to face the Beavers next weekend.