If there was one lesson that was taught during the Gophers women’s hockey team’s victory over St. Lawrence, it was this: Do not make mistakes against Minnesota.
Nadine Muzerall’s two goals and an assist lead the way to a 6-1 Minnesota victory in a game that was much closer than the score indicated.
Muzerall started the scoring by collecting a loose puck in front of the net and slipping it by sprawling Saints goalie Emily Stein. Stein looked spectacular at times, but the constant pounding of shots was too much.
In a back and forth game, the Gophers gained their edge by hustling after loose pucks and outworking St. Lawrence. The hustling style was keyed by Ambria Thomas’ goal 2:40 into the second period.
Kelly Olson fired a slapshot that was blocked by Saints’ center Nicole Kirnan. Thomas then swooped to the puck and fired it past Stein.
The Thomas, Muzerall, and Kris Scholz line accounted for four of the goals in the game. They had nine points in all.
“Ever since the coach put us together against Princeton,” Muzerall said, “we’ve just gelled, clicked.”
With that sort of success, one might think the Gophers would want to play a wide-open style more often. Not so says Muzerall.
“I think it is just the opposite,” she said. “I play best when I’m physical.”
Erica Killewald had a strong 40 minutes, stopping 12 shots before Sarah Harms replaced her in the third period.
Killewald was nursing a slight foot injury, although that was not the reason she was pulled.
“Killer was playing well, but I wanted to get Harms some experience,” Gophers coach Laura Halldorson said.
These two teams will finish their series tonight. Saints head coach Ron Waske predicted a different game.
“We will cut down on our mistakes and play with the same enthusiasm we did in the third period,” he said.
St. Lawrence 0 0 1 — 1
Gophers 3 2 1 — 6
First Period: Min — Muzerall 16 (Scholz, Thomas), :31. Min — Scholz 8 (Thomas, Muzerall) PPG, 16:45. Min — Kukowski 4 (Brekken, Pettiford), 17:59.
Second Period: Min — Thomas 14 (Olson, Scholz), 2:40. Min — Brekken 5 (Kukowski, Pettiford), 14:01.
Third Period: SLU — Cook 3 (Steblen, Kirnan) PPG, 4:58. Min — Muzerall 17 (Olson, Pone), 7:56.