Brandt scores late, Gophers sweep Beavers

Minnesota swept its weekend series with Bemidji State to move to 8-0-0.

Minnesota forward Hannah Brandt battles Minnesota State-Mankato forward Kari Lundberg on Nov. 17, 2012, at Ridder Arena.

Ichigo Takikawa, Daily File Photo

Minnesota forward Hannah Brandt battles Minnesota State-Mankato forward Kari Lundberg on Nov. 17, 2012, at Ridder Arena.

by Betsy Helfand

The Gophers might not have been at their best this weekend against Bemidji State, but they did enough to come away with two wins.

Minnesota won 4-0 on Friday and 4-3 on Saturday in Bemidji, Minn., to run its record to 8-0-0 this season.

Junior forward Meghan Lorence said the weekend was an “eye opener” for the team.

“They’re just always very aggressive and always put a lot of pressure on just trying to make us make mistakes,” she said of Bemidji State. “It just kind of let us know what we need to work on, and we always can’t take a game lightly.”

Minnesota jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead Saturday with a goal from sophomore forward Hannah Brandt just 29 seconds into the game.

But Bemidji State countered with a goal to tie it and took the lead later in the period.

On the last shift of the period, Gophers senior forward Kelly Terry scored to send the two teams into intermission tied.

Aside from the first and last shift of the period, Minnesota struggled.

Brandt said the team played sloppily and committed a lot of turnovers in the period.

Lorence said the Gophers played as a team but didn’t have as much passion as normal.

“I think just at times, they wanted it more than we did, and that’s a mistake that can catch us off guard pretty easily,” she said.

Junior forward Rachael Bona put Minnesota ahead in the second period, but the Beavers tied it again in the third.

Brandt deflected a shot by senior defenseman Baylee Gillanders into the net to put the Gophers on top for good.

Brandt’s goals were her second and third this season.

“It was pretty big for me to score a couple goals tonight, because it’s been a while, so I think that’ll help my confidence,” she said Saturday.

Brandt was the nation’s second-highest scorer last year, but she hasn’t been finding the back of the net as easily so far this season.

“I think she’s hit more posts this year than she had all of last year,” head coach Brad Frost said. “It’s really hard to keep a great player like Hannah down, and it was just a matter of time before she broke out.”

Lorence said the Beavers collapsed the slot area more, and eliminated point-blank scoring opportunities Saturday compared to Friday night.

Minnesota recorded 31 shots on goal Saturday compared to 46 on Friday.

The Gophers outshot Bemidji State 13-3 in the first period of Friday’s game, but the Beavers limited Minnesota’s quality chances.

Lorence scored the first goal of the game early in the second period off of assists from senior forward Sarah Davis and sophomore defenseman Brook Garzone.

“We’re kind of the line that likes to get under the other team’s skin [and] just be all over them right away,” Lorence said of her line. “Just setting the tempo with that first goal was a relief off our shoulders.”

Minnesota rolled from there.

Junior defenseman Rachel Ramsey added the second goal with a shot from the point a few minutes later, and freshman forward Kate Schipper scored her first collegiate goal late in the second period. Lorence capped Minnesota’s scoring in the third period with her second goal of the game.

The Gophers played the weekend without sophomore defenseman Milica McMillen, who Frost said was out with an injury.

Frost said he hopes to get McMillen back next weekend, when the team takes on Minnesota State-Mankato.