Women’s hockey takes a pair to open season

No. 4 Minnesota outscored Union and Syracuse 10 goals to 1 on the weekend.

Samuel Gordon

MinnesotaâÄôs womenâÄôs hockey team couldnâÄôt have started the 2011-12 season any better.

The fourth-ranked Gophers defeated nonconference foes Union and Syracuse at home and outscored their opponents by a combined score of 10-1.

Senior captains Sarah Erickson and Jen Schoullis powered Minnesota to a 6-1 victory over the Dutchwomen on Friday.

Erickson scored a goal and assisted on three others, and Schoullis scored two goals and added an assist.

The duo led the Gophers past the Orange on Saturday, too.

Schoullis had two more assists, Erickson had a goal and an assist and the Gophers cruised to a 4-0 victory. MinnesotaâÄôs defense held Syracuse to just 10 shots on goal and All-American goalie Noora Räty recorded her 17th career shutout.

Erickson said she was happy with the way the first line performed throughout the weekend.

âÄúWe work so well together. To get a quick start for us is great,âÄù she said. âÄúWeâÄôre the only line thatâÄôs played together. The other lines are going to take a bit to get going here.âÄù

Gophers head coach Brad Frost said after SaturdayâÄôs game that he was satisfied with the way his team played and improved.

âÄúOverall we got better today and thatâÄôs what we wanted to do. WeâÄôll get back to work this week and expect to be even better next weekend,âÄù he said.

This weekendâÄôs games served as a tune-up for WCHA play, which starts next weekend when the Gophers host St. Cloud State.

âÄúWe only get six nonconference games âÄî thereâÄôs a third of them right there,âÄù Frost said. âÄúWCHA points are big and, weâÄôre hoping to get a bunch next weekend.âÄù