Minnesota sweeps North Dakota at home

The Gophers are now on a six-game winning streak.

Kate Schipper, front, and Sarah Potomak, back, chase the puck on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. The gopher womens hockey team won against UND 4 to 2.

Courtney Deutz

Kate Schipper, front, and Sarah Potomak, back, chase the puck on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. The gopher women’s hockey team won against UND 4 to 2.

by Tommy Sletten

The Gophers didn’t have much trouble with their opponent over the weekend and swept the North Dakota Fighting Hawks with a 4-2 victory Friday and a 6-2 win Saturday.

Minnesota put on a clinic with its passing Friday night, weaving around the UND defense, and found chance after chance.

“Overall really fun atmosphere, and fun on the bench… A lot of really good effort from the whole group, and happy to put the six points away,” said head coach Brad Frost.

The final period was where things got interesting for both teams.

Junior forward Kelly Pannek scored an empty netter late in the period from her knees in her own defensive zone to make the score 3-1.

But, after a penalty from junior forward Caitlin Reilly, UND scored, making it 3-2 with under a minute to go.

Senior forward Kate Schipper crushed all hopes of a comeback for UND with an empty-netter with two seconds remaining, pushing the lead to its final score of 4-2.

“I’m really happy with how our team approached the game,” Pannek said. “They’re a physical team, and they love to bring that, especially at our home rink. Just the mentality we had and the composure, not really giving into the trap, using our feet, and using our speed. I’m really happy with the compete level and tenacity our team brought. We just played three solid periods I thought.”

The scoring came quick for the Gophers, finding the back of the net in the first period, by way of a goal from Reilly, who was assisted by senior defenseman Lee Stecklein, and senior defenseman Megan Wolfe.

Minnesota extended its lead in the second period, when freshman defenseman Katie Robinson lasered in a goal from the blue line, which gave the UND goalie no time to react.

The Fighting Hawks were not without answers, however, as they broke through late in the second period with a goal that just barely slid by redshirt junior Sidney Peters after her deflection, to make the score 2-1 after two periods.

Peters finished with 19 saves.

Stecklein was the backbone for the Gopher defense in the game, providing a tough presence, and talented poke checks to ensure the Fighting Hawks stayed off the scoreboard.

Saturday night was more of the same for Minnesota, where it defeated North Dakota 6-2.

The Gophers scored five goals in the first two periods, a barrage of scoring that led to a dominating game.

UND fought back, however, ands scored two goals on the power play in the third period.

Minnesota finished the game with a goal from Reilly for a final score of 6-2.

“I think this weekend really showed what kind of team we are when we are out there fore-checking, back-checking, and having lots of fun,” Reilly said. “That’s when we’re the best team and are hard to beat.”