Gophers cruise through first round of WCHA playoffs

The Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team continued its quest for another banner. No. 1 Minnesota (30-3-3 overall, 23-2-3-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) swept eighth-seed Bemidji State (3-22-3-2, 6-25-5) to move on in the WCHA Final Face-off. Minnesota took the first two games in the best-of-three series, winning 4-1 on Friday and 5-1 on Saturday. The Gophers notched the first goal eight minutes into the contest when sophomore Jen Schoullis poked a loose puck into the net. Schoullis said Minnesota wasnâÄôt happy with the way the first period went. âÄúWe came in the locker room after the first, and coach was pretty mad,âÄù she said. âÄúWe said, âÄòEnough is enough. LetâÄôs go.âÄô âÄù In the second period, Minnesota didnâÄôt allow a Bemidji shot until 11 minutes into the period. First-year Monique Lamoureux scored a power-play goal, and junior Jaimie Horton tipped first-year Kelly SeelerâÄôs shot into the net. Horton said she didnâÄôt see the puck go in. âÄúI happened to get my stick on it,âÄù she said. âÄúSeeler has a rocket. I donâÄôt know how that kid gets those shots off.âÄù Senior captain Gigi Marvin and Seeler were in the box when the Beavers took advantage and scored their only goal of the game. The Gophers took control of the third period as sophomore Emily West scored to finalize the 4-1 outcome. The Gophers stayed out of the box for the entire first period; this is the first time they havenâÄôt had a penalty kill in a period since Feb. 7 against Wisconsin. Minnesota proceeded to get three penalties in the second and four in the third. Coach Brad Frost said his team took too many penalties. âÄúWhen youâÄôre a more skilled team than the competition, one way to keep them in the game is to take penalties,âÄù he said. âÄúWeâÄôre happy with the result of the game, but I think each of our players know they can give a little more.âÄù Like Friday night, Minnesota took a while to get things going on Saturday. First-years Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux both scored twice to lead the Gophers to the sweep. Marvin scored the fifth goal. Minnesota was unable to score in the first period, putting in the gameâÄôs first goal four minutes into the second period. Minnesota didnâÄôt stop there. Monique Lamoureux scored on the penalty kill after her sister passed the puck up center ice. Jocelyne Lamoureux said she heard her sister and knew it was a risky pass, but it paid off. Minnesota scored three minutes into the third period when Marvin beat the goaltender. After junior Alexandra Zebro took a penalty, Bemidji found their opening. The puck hit sophomore goaltender Jenny Lura in the facemask and bounced around in the crease before Bemidji shoved it in. Jocelyne Lamoureux found another chance at 14:37 when she had the puck at the crease and lifted it over the goaltender to make the score 5-1. Monique said it took a little longer than Minnesota wouldâÄôve liked to score the first goal. âÄúWe knew we had to get one past [BemidjiâÄôs goaltender] and the rest would come,âÄù Monique Lamoureux said.