Minnesota breezes past Huskies

The team scored 19 goals in a two-game sweep of conference foe St. Cloud State.

Grant Donald

In its final series of 2014, Minnesota didn’t seem challenged, as nearly all of the skaters who played over the weekend recorded at least a point.

The Gophers got out to 3-0 first-period leads in both games against St. Cloud State at Ridder Arena and never looked back, following up a 12-0 victory Friday with a 7-0 victory Saturday.

“I wish we could do this every weekend,” head coach Brad Frost said. “[We] had a lot of shots over the last few weekends and not a ton of goals, but this weekend they happened to go in, so it was good to see.”

With its 12 goals Friday, Minnesota tied a school record for most goals in a game. Four players — including senior forward Rachael Bona — scored multiple goals for the Gophers in the game.

Bona has experienced a somewhat slow start to scoring goals this season. But after recording six points over the weekend, she has catapulted herself near the top of the nation in points.

“I think I’ve been playing well. It just hasn’t really been going in [the net] for me this year, which is fine because other people have been picking up the slack,” Bona said.

Bona’s second goal Friday came off the power play, another area where St. Cloud State had trouble stopping the Gophers.

On Saturday, Minnesota went 4-for-4 on the power play. The Gophers finished the weekend 5-for-8 while playing with the advantage.

“Whenever you go 100 percent on the [power play], and it is more than one [opportunity], that is a real good thing. It was really clicking.”

With both games basically being over by the end of the first period, some of the team’s younger players received extended ice time.

Friday, freshman Nina Rodgers and sophomore Paige Haley both recorded their first collegiate goals.  

On Saturday, freshman Sydney Baldwin did the same. Her goal was Minnesota’s first of the day in its annual “Teddy Bear Toss” game — fans brought teddy bears to donate to charity and threw them on the ice after Baldwin’s goal.

“Whoever was going to get it, it was going to be an exciting goal,” Baldwin said. “[My first goal] was something special, something to remember.”

While the younger players had a weekend full of firsts, the Gophers’ veterans were busy filling up the stat sheet.

Junior Hannah Brandt recorded a career-high seven points Friday, including six assists. Sophomore Dani Cameranesi also tallied six assists Friday for the Gophers.

“Looking to pass is probably what I do more often than not,” Brandt said. “I was just happy to see some younger players score their first goals as
Gophers.”