Gophers split series with Vermont

The Gophers were stunned on Friday night, but answered with a rout

Redshirt junior forward Nicole Schammel skates with the puck on Friday Dec. 8 at Ridder Arena.

Courtney Deutz, Daily File Photo

Redshirt junior forward Nicole Schammel skates with the puck on Friday Dec. 8 at Ridder Arena.

by Max Biegert

Minnesota’s game against Vermont on Saturday came down to the last period.

The final score, however, did not reflect that.

The No. 5 Gophers (17-6-2) beat Vermont (6-14-4) 6-1 in game two of the weekend series against the Catamounts at Ridder Arena on Saturday night. The game was tied at one after two periods, but it was all Gophers in the third period, as they scored five goals to put away the Catamounts and split the series.

“The chances that we had in the second period were really good chances and we just kept going at it,” head coach Brad Frost said. “We talked about if we just continued to play the way we were playing. We just had to keep faith that things were going to go our way.”

Goaltender Alex Gulstene had 16 saves and forward Nicole Schammel had two goals. The Gophers outshot Vermont 43-17.

By the 10-minute mark in the third, the Gophers had opened up a four-goal lead. Forward Taylor Wente scored 45 seconds into the period to give the Gophers their first lead of the series.  Schammel slid across the net and had enough strength to get it past Vermont’s Sydney Scobee for the score just three minutes later.  Minnesota’s Lindsay Agnew added her third goal of the year to extend the lead to 4-1. Schammel got her second goal on a tip-in. Defenseman Sydney Baldwin added one more goal with six minutes left in the game to solidify the win.

In the first minute of the first period, Vermont’s Mackenzie MacNeil scored to grab the early lead. The Gophers’ Olivia Knowles tied the game two minutes later with a wrist shot that squeaked through to the back of the net and the Gophers never looked back.

“We were continuing to build off the chances we created in the second period,” Grace Zumwinkle said. “We just came out with more intensity and urgency in the third period and the pucks went in.”

Gophers stunned in first game of series

The No. 5 Gophers lost 4-2 to Vermont. The Gophers outshot the Catamounts 25-11, but the Catamounts capitalized on their opportunities. Scobee, a high school teammate of Zumwinkle, stopped 23 shots. She had her shutout ruined with 5:48 to go in the third period. Schammel broke the shutout with her goal.

“We played 40 minutes of pretty good hockey there tonight,” Frost said. “We are not good enough to play 40 minutes and expect to get away with it, but they tried to do it tonight and it didn’t work.”

Vermont went out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Vermont’s Taylor Flaherty found the back of the net for her fourth goal of the season midway through the period. The Catamounts’ Eve Audrey-Picard scored her sixth goal of the year on a 4-on-4 situation to get out to that lead. 

In the second period, Alyssa Holmes of Vermont forced Frost to change goaltenders after her shot went through the five hole of Sydney Peters. Gulstene came in and Holmes beat her for a score. The Gophers went on a power play three times in the period, but could not find the net.  

Scobee held the shutout for 15 minutes, facing a barrage of shots from the Gopher before giving up the goal to Schammel. Quickly after, Baldwin scored her fifth goal of the year on a 6-on-5 with little time left, but it was not enough for the victory.

“We got to find a way to compete and win battles,” Baldwin said. “I don’t think anyone was happy with how we started and our energy was a focus the rest of the game.”