Gophers stay out of box and fill nets to secure sweep

Monica Wright

For the first time this season, the normally physical Minnesota women’s hockey team had a penalty-free game Saturday night against Bemidji State at Mariucci Arena.
According to junior Tracy Engstrom, the credit belongs solely to strong officiating.
“We had a good official who let us play and kept it balanced,” Engstrom said. “While there isn’t checking in women’s hockey everyone knows you’re going to hit the boards sometimes and she didn’t get out of control on calls.”
While the Gophers stayed out of the penalty box, the Beavers were called for one penalty each period.
Power Play Points
With no chance to use their notorious penalty kill — the Gophers are ranked first in kills at 84 percent — Minnesota instead got the chance to brush up on power play scoring.
Saturday the Gophers were two for three on the power play while Friday they were a solid one for two with the advantage.
Poll Panic
While the Gophers have bounced around the national rankings this season, Dartmouth — Minnesota’s opponent this weekend — has remained in first place since the beginning of the season.
But according to senior Nadine Muzerall, the team doesn’t always agree with what the polls have to say about their opponents.
“In the poll Dartmouth was third at the end of last season,” Muzerall said. “We know you can’t control the polls, and coach reminds us of that, but we all have our opinions.”
So does this mean they don’t pay attention to the rankings?
That depends on who you ask.
For Muzerall, rankings take on extra importance in a year where there are no automatic bids to the championship tournament, so she checks up on the standings when they come out each week.
“This year I am definitely concerned about it.”
But for junior Tracy Engstrom, polls are something she routinely ignore for her sanity.
“Some players follow them closely and get really into the rankings,” Engstrom said. “But it doesn’t bother me. I don’t look at them or even think about it.”
Minnesota travels to Hanover, New Hampshire to take on Dartmouth next Saturday and Sunday.
Monica Wright covers women’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]