U women’s hockey takes advantage of sweet foes

Tim Nichols

When a superior team plays a squad of an obviously lower caliber, that inferior team is referred to as a “creampuff” or some other dainty pastry. Sometimes, when playing a creampuff, a team enters a place called “Cupcake City.”
In sticking with the dessert motif, over the weekend the Gophers women’s hockey team played two giant custard-filled eclairs as they traveled to the mega-continent of angel food cake.
At Augsburg on Friday night, Minnesota defeated the Division III Auggies 9-2. The Gophers followed up their performance by pounding Wisconsin — a club team that dressed only 15 players — 10-0 Saturday afternoon.
One of the issues Minnesota’s hockey team has been dealing with is the scoring of the lower lines. This weekend gave the Gophers the perfect opportunity to work out all the kinks in their machine.
Matty Brekken lead the Gophers on Friday with two goals as her line — which includes Betsey Kukowski and Laura Tryba — rallied off six points in the victory.
“I think the second line is working well together,” Tryba said. “We’re going to be strong, I think.”
Things went so well for Minnesota that even the fourth line scored. At 8:13 of the first period, Lacey Franzmeier beat Auggies goalie Meg Schmidt for her first goal of the year.
“It wasn’t necessarily (lines) three and four. We mixed people around so we could try to have some balance,” Gophers coach Laura Halldorson said. “Hopefully it was a good learning experience for them.”
The first line of Ambria Thomas, Nadine Muzerall and Kris Scholz also made its presence felt during the game, chipping in three goals and five assists. Scholz added to her nation-leading assist total by helping out on two goals. She also scored her seventh goal of the year when she slipped the puck through a screen to beat Schmidt at the 16:09 mark of the first period.
On Saturday, “The Production Line” did not dress as an act of mercy toward the out-gunned Badgers. This move, however, did not ease the pain that was inflicted upon Wisconsin.
Ten different players scored in the 10-0 rout of Wisconsin. The Gophers also outshot the Badgers 35-6.
Tracy Donaghue, Sarma Pone, Dacia Lyons, Kelly Olson and Hattie Hoff all scored their first goals of the year.
After leading 9-0 heading into the third period, the entire offense was geared toward getting Hoff her first goal of the year. She accomplished the task with 4:31 left in the game when she collected a pass from Tryba and slammed the puck home for her first of the year.
“We wanted to make sure that Hattie got her goal,” Halldorson said. “We didn’t want to look like we were celebrating because we were up by 10 goals. It was because Hattie got her first goal of the year.
Lyons earned number-one star honors as she scored her first goal of the year and assisted on Olson’s goal. Lyons’ performance was especially meaningful to her.
“It was a great accomplishment. My whole family was here to root me on,” said Lyons, who hails from a suburb of Madison, Wis.
Halldorson summed up the significance of the lower lines’ performance with this: “We got scoring from a bunch of different people, and we needed that because we’re going to need it later on down the road. In clutch situations we’re going to need people to put the puck in the net.”