Another lopsided win for

by Mark Heller

It was the last game before the fourth-ranked Gophers women’s hockey team takes two weeks off for final exams, but it was Gustavus Adolphus that was tested by Minnesota.
And the Gusties had all the wrong answers.
Gustavus (5-3-0) was no test for the Gophers (8-1-1), as Minnesota got goals from six different players in an 8-1 victory. It was the seventh consecutive win for the Gophers, who will head into the next two weeks of practices on a high note.
“We were very nervous early on,” Gustavus coach Scott Moe said. “They are a great team with very skilled players. It was an eye-opener for us. We saw what we need to improve on.”
Just four minutes, 35 seconds into the game, junior Shannon Kennedy scored the first goal, taking a pass from Laura Slominski and deflecting it past Gustavus goalie Jen Zywotko.
Less than five minutes later, Shannon Kennedy fed Kris Scholz just past the Gustavus blue line and Scholz dropped a nifty pass to Tracy Engstrom, who flipped in her sixth goal of the season.
One minute after Engstrom’s goal, Winny Brodt scored an unassisted goal to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead barely midway through the first period.
Schmidgall gave the Gophers a 4-0 lead with her 12th goal of the season on a centering pass from Shannon Kennedy. Courtney Kennedy added a power play goal to make it 5-0 after one period.
“We played at a high tempo in the first period,” Gophers coach Laura Halldorson said. “We played well early, but we need to play on that level for the whole game.”
Megan Milbert — who returned after a five-game layoff because of mononucleosis — added her first goal of the season with five minutes left to play for the only scoring in the second period. Schmidgall added her second goal of the game five minutes into the third period to give Minnesota a 7-0 lead.
“It feels good to be back after missing five games with mono,” Milbert said. “But that goal was all because of Schmidgall. She does such a great job of setting people up.”
Courtney Kennedy added her second goal of the game with two minutes left in the game for the 8-1 final.
Sophomore goalie Crystal Nicholas faced just 10 shots all game. She is now 4-0 in her first four collegiate starts, making 30 saves in those four games. Nicholas had run her streak of consecutive minutes without a goal up to 236, before giving up a goal to Linnea Carlson with 4:33 remaining in the game.
Nicholas’ streak might have ended, but the winning streak hasn’t. The Gophers will try to make it eight in a row when they resume action Dec. 18 in Canada for the Manitoba Tournament.
“We’re going to practice for the next two weeks,” Courtney Kennedy said. “(The Manitoba Tournament) is going to be great competition. It’s going to be very intense.”