Gophers sweep behind Menefee, Brandt

Maryanne Menefee and Hannah Brandt combined for six points in the sweep.

Grant Donald

Juniors Maryanne Menefee and Hannah Brandt have been a lethal duo for the Gophers since they combined for 120 points their freshman year.

This weekend was no different, as the two came together to record four points, half of which came in the Gophers’ 5-2 victory over Princeton on Sunday. Minnesota defeated the Tigers 2-1 on Saturday.

“Playing with [Hannah] for three years now, it is just super easy to know where each other is on the ice,” Menefee said. “Our chemistry helps us out a lot.”

The duo put their chemistry on display Sunday in the first period when they executed a give-and-go with Menefee scoring to give the Gophers an early 1-0 lead.

Menefee delivered another goal in the third period Saturday, giving her five goals on the season.

“[Menefee] had a huge goal [Saturday] — the game-winning goal when we needed it to get that two-goal cushion,” head coach Brad Frost said. “She gets to the right spots and had a great release and finishing ability.”

Her goal Saturday came just over a minute after Brandt put one in the back of the net to break a scoreless game and give the Gophers the lead.

“I think that whole line, with [Dani] Cameranesi as well, they all see the ice very well,” Frost said. “They have great familiarity with each other.”

Brandt scored another third-period goal on Sunday.

But she did more than just score goals for the Gophers this weekend. She recorded two assists during Sunday’s victory.

“[Hannah’s] overall game is as good as anybody in the country,” Frost said. “She loves to pass the puck, [and] she sees the people going to the right spots very well.”

Brandt said the team focused on getting out on top of Princeton early Sunday, something it didn’t do Saturday.

“We probably waited [to score] a little longer than we should have [Saturday],” Brandt said. “I think our goal today was to start strong and avoid a slow start.”

The Gophers didn’t score a goal until the third period Saturday, even though they had plenty of opportunities to do so throughout the game.

Princeton goalie Kimberly Newell kept Minnesota’s offense at bay, making 42 saves throughout the contest.

With Newell playing almost perfectly, junior goalie Amanda Leveille had to play just as well to keep the Gophers from falling behind.

“I didn’t have too many shots [Saturday], so it was hard for me to stay focused,” Leveille said. “The other goaltender played really well to keep them in it.”

Leveille gave up a goal late in the third period Saturday. But by then, Menefee and Brandt had already secured the lead the Gophers needed to get the victory.

“When you are in a tight game like that and outshooting the opponent heavily, you have the temptation to get frustrated,” Frost said. “We just really wanted to go out and dominate the first five minutes, which we did.