Minnesota uses third-period rally to defeat Mankato

The Gophers trailed after two periods Saturday despite a 33-4 lead in shots.

Minnesota forward Kelly Pannek fights for possession of the puck during second period against Minnesota State-Mankato at Ridder Arena on Saturday.

Kathryn Chlystek

Minnesota forward Kelly Pannek fights for possession of the puck during second period against Minnesota State-Mankato at Ridder Arena on Saturday.

Emily Polglaze

In the wake of position changes, injuries and line shake-ups, the Gophers still managed to sweep Minnesota State-Mankato over the weekend. 
The Gophers defeated the Mavericks 3-2 margin on Saturday and 2-1 Sunday after a third-period rally. 
“I just felt like [the team] was playing with a lot of passion,” head coach Brad Frost said Sunday. “Even though it was frustrating at times, sometimes you can see it on their faces or in the way they’re playing, but they didn’t do that at all. They stayed together and stuck with it.”
No. 3 Minnesota (20-3-0, 15-3-0 WCHA) experienced changes in the lineup during the series as senior captain Hannah Brandt was scratched from both games with a lingering injury. 
Minnesota was held scoreless in the first period Saturday, as the Mavericks energetic defense was able to hold down the team’s new lineup.
Mankato (3-19-2, 0-17-1 WCHA) had two early penalties in the second, though, that gave the Gophers a 5-on-3 advantage, and the home team capitalized.
Sophomore forward Kelly Pannek scored first for Minnesota and junior forward Dani Cameranesi added another power play goal just 25 seconds later.
Junior defenseman Megan Wolfe added an even strength goal for the Gophers at 13:09 to put them up 3-0 after the second.
The Mavericks cut into the deficit when sophomore defenseman Anna Keys scored nearly halfway through the third to make the score 3-1.
Mankato sophomore Lindsey Coleman then scored her first goal of the season to bring it to 3-2 with less than three minutes remaining.
The Mavericks pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker, but the Gophers were able to hold the visitors off and secure the victory.
Mankato’s late rally caused Cameranesi to see the need for improvement after the victory.
“We didn’t really show up to play in today’s game,” Cameranesi said Saturday.
The Gophers were challenged early on in Sunday’s game. Minnesota controlled the puck to start, but the Mavericks got the first power-play opportunity, and sophomore forward Hannah Davidson scored on Mankato’s first shot on goal of the game. 
The Gophers continued to dominate possession in the second but still couldn’t come up with the equalizer.
Minnesota was able to tie the game in the third period, with junior captain Lee Stecklein scoring on the power play.
Wolfe scored her second goal of the series with 7:33 remaining to put the Gophers ahead for good in the 2-1 victory. 
Minnesota had 50 shots on goal to Mankato’s eight on Sunday. The Gophers outshot the Mavericks 33-4 in the first two periods but still found themselves trailing 1-0.
“We realized sometimes we’re going to play really well and the puck just isn’t going to go in,” Stecklein said. “That doesn’t mean we have to change how we’re playing. We just know we can claw our way back from behind.”