Women’s hockey trounces New Hampshire 11-0

Amanda Kessel had a career-high four goals, and five Gophers scored their first point of the season.

by Charlie Armitz

For the No. 2 Gophers women’s hockey team, taking a two-goal lead after one period at home wasn’t enough — not nearly enough.

Minnesota (11-2) scored six second period goals against New Hampshire — three by Amanda Kessel — and went on to defeat the Wildcats 11-0 at Ridder Arena on Friday night.

“It was certainly a complete effort tonight from our goaltender out,” Gophers head coach Brad Frost said. “You get some of those games where the pucks start to go in the net, and they started to do that quite a bit in the second period. It was great to see production up and down the lineup, each line scoring at least one goal.”

Minnesota scored two and a half minutes into the period on a Megan Bozek shot from the point, and Kessel had her first goal three minutes later.

Nine minutes passed with no scoring — then the Gophers began a stretch in which they scored four goals in three and a half minutes. They took an 8-0 lead into the second intermission.

“This team has done a good job over the last few weeks of preparing for each period as a new game,” Frost. “It was great to get two goals late in the first. We came out [in the second period] and got a quick power-play goal, and it just kind of snowballed from there.”

Kessel scored a career-high four goals on the night on five shots. She leads the team with 14 goals, 17 assists and 31 points. Her linemates, Jen Schoullis and Sarah Erickson, each added two assists.

“Everyone was working really hard tonight,” Kessel said. “We just wore them down. … It was a great team effort tonight, and that made it easy for me to get those goals.”

On her third goal, Kessel took a pass from Gophers goaltender Noora Räty in the Minnesota zone and blew by one New Hampshire player after another before putting the puck past Wildcats goaltender Jenn Gilligan.

Räty recorded her first assist of the season on the play, and her seventh assist in three seasons as a Gopher.

“Right away I kind of knew that she had gotten me the puck,” Kessel said. “When I scored, I kind of pointed to her and I had known that she’d gotten an assist. Then in the locker room I was talking to her and she told me that she had had like six [assists] already. I guess it was nothing too special for her.”

Räty was one of five Gophers to score her first point of the season. Baylee Gillanders (goal), Sam Downey (goal, assist), Bethany Brausen (goal), Becky Kortum (assist) and Becky Kortum (assist) also scored for the first time in 2011-12.

Minnesota’s third and fourth lines saw extended playing time in the third period, which the team dominated almost as much as the second period.

The Gophers outshot the Wildcats 49-20, and 33-11 after the first period.

They also had four power play goals in six tries, while limiting New Hampshire to one power play attempt.

“That’s our game plan,” Frost said of the team’s disciplined play. “Coming into the year, that was going to be a focus of ours, and we’ve had our moments where we’ve taken a few too many [penalties]. But there’s no need for us to take penalties if we have the puck, and we had the puck most of the night.”

Minnesota concludes its series with New Hampshire on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. at Ridder Arena.