Gophers sweep Colgate to open season

Freshman Hannah Brandt scored five of Minnesota’s 18 goals on the weekend.

Nickalas Tabbert

Freshman forward Hannah Brandt scored five goals in her Gophers debut as Minnesota’s women’s hockey team swept Colgate University over the weekend.

On Friday night, Brandt scored a hat trick and goalie Noora Räty held the Raiders scoreless as the Gophers won 7-0. On Saturday, the Gophers scored early and often to back freshman goalie Amanda Leveille and win 11-0.

Playing in their first games since winning the national championship last season, the Gophers had eight different players score in their first-ever meeting with Colgate.

On Friday, Colgate kept things close through two periods, but four Minnesota goals in the third period proved to be too much for the Raiders.

Brandt scored the Gophers’ first goal of the season on a power play in the opening period.

“Maryanne Menefee … got the shot through, it was just kind of trickling, and I was there at the back door, and I just banged it in,” she said. “I just got lucky and was the one that was able to bang it home.”

Minnesota took advantage of power-play situations both nights, scoring on six of its 11 chances.

Brandt scored two more goals in the second period to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead through two periods and her first hat trick with the Gophers.

In the third period, Becky Kortum scored twice, and Mira Jalosuo and Amanda Kessel each scored.

“I thought obviously [it was] a good start to the season and a good finish here when it’s 7-0,” head coach Brad Frost said Friday. “[I’m] certainly happy for Hannah — the job she did getting on the score sheet there, we needed that. She’s going to be a strong contributor for us.”

On Saturday, Minnesota picked up right where it left off, scoring four goals in the opening period.

The team struggled with turnovers in its own zone early, but it was able to make the most of its offensive opportunities. Brandt scored twice while Kessel and Lorence scored once.

Menefee scored her first goal with the Gophers in the second period.

“I’m known as someone who should get goals,” she said. “That’s part of my role, and I figure I should contribute to this team. It’s nice to get some goals out of the way.”

Minnesota added five more goals in the third period as they compiled 16 shots on goal. In the series, the Gophers had 94 shots on goal compared to Colgate’s 41.

Leveille replaced Räty in the lineup as goalie, and her 21 saves provided her first shutout with the Gophers. She said having a lead helped her relax and focus on her role: stopping pucks.

“I tried to read the plays so I can control my rebounds, not pop it up to someone,” she said.

To mark the occasion, Leveille said Frost gave her a puck that she didn’t have to block after the game.

Frost said he was pleased with his team’s response to changes from Friday night. He said the team was much more disciplined Saturday, when it had only one penalty compared to five the night before.

Brandt, who finished her debut weekend with five goals and four assists, said she is more concerned about her defensive play.

“I hate getting scored on, so … my number one goal when I’m on the ice is to play well defensively,” she said. “I’d rather probably not give up a goal than get one.”

Kessel, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, saw limited action Friday night. She and senior defender Megan Bozek were named to the U.S. national team that will compete in the 2012 Four Nations Cup in November.

The Gophers will get forwards Sarah Davis and Kelly Terry back for next weekend’s WCHA matchup against St. Cloud State. Both have been practicing with the Canadian national team.