Gophers sitting at No. 1 and looking to stay there

Freshman forward Monique Lamoureux  looks to an open sophomore Jen Schoullis  during one of the Gophers’ two wins over Bemidji State over the weekend.

Ashley Goetz

Freshman forward Monique Lamoureux looks to an open sophomore Jen Schoullis during one of the Gophers’ two wins over Bemidji State over the weekend.

When the ball dropped on New YearâÄôs Eve, the Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team meant it when they yelled, âÄúHappy New Year!âÄù Since the start of the second half, the No. 1 Gophers (21-2-1 overall, 16-1-1-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) have outscored their opponents 50-8 in six games, scoring at least five goals per game. Minnesota tallied 16 goals against Bemidji State last weekend and 21 goals against Ohio State on Jan. 9 and 10, something Coach Brad Frost said would be great if the team could do every series. The goals have led to wins, which has led to a first-place spot in the WCHA âÄî something the team is excited about, sophomore Terra Rasmussen said. âÄúEveryone is so excited and determined to stay there,âÄù she said. âÄúWe plan to stay there and plan to work as hard as we can to stay there.âÄù Since the start of 2009, first-years Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux have scored 17 points, sophomore Jen Schoullis has 15, sophomore Emily West has 12 and senior captain Gigi Marvin has 11. Jocelyne has had at least 3 points in the last four games and said itâÄôs been nice that she hasnâÄôt had to take a game to get back into a rhythm. âÄúItâÄôs nice to come back after break and I have been fortunate to have some lucky bounces off the goaliesâÄô pads and everything,âÄù she said. âÄúItâÄôs nice to just get things going.âÄù Part of the offensive power is the depth of the GophersâÄô bench, Frost said. All four lines and six defensemen have contributed to the score sheet in the last six games. Rasmussen said the team has four strong lines, and it showed when the team still put the puck in the net without top players in the lineup in games against Bemidji State. Frost said that when players that normally donâÄôt score make it onto the score sheet, it just helps their confidence and the depth of the bench. âÄúTheyâÄôre gaining confidence every weekend,âÄù Frost said. âÄúWeâÄôve known that they have that in them, and itâÄôs just a matter of bringing it consistently each night.âÄù But the question is if the Gophers can continue this offensive power in their upcoming seriesâÄô against No. 3 Duluth and No. 2 Wisconsin. Jocelyne said the Gophers need to take as many shots as they can and the goals will fall into place. âÄúNext weekend [against Duluth], we know those will be tight games,âÄù she said. âÄúI think anything we can get, we need to throw on net.âÄù The depth of the Gophers bench will come in handy when playing those tougher games, Frost said. âÄúI think we are a pretty hard team to stop when weâÄôre rolling our four lines and weâÄôre able to wear teams down,âÄù Frost said.