Minnesota State sweeps Gophers

by Brian Deutsch

Three goals from their leading scorer and a 31-shot advantage in the Gophers’ favor wasn’t enough to earn a single win this weekend.

Minnesota’s women’s hockey team dropped a pair of road games to in-state rival Minnesota State, losing 3-2 on Friday night and 4-3 on Saturday.

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North Dakota
WHEN: 3:07 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Ridder Arena

The two wins mark only the second and third times Minnesota State has defeated Minnesota in school history, the first time coming three years ago this week.

With the losses, the Gophers (15-8-1 overall, 12-7-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) have dropped five of their last six games – all coming against WCHA opponents – while the Mavericks extended their winning streak to seven games.

Friday night, Minnesota State (13-11-1, 9-10-1 WCHA) used goals from three different skaters as well as an impressive performance by junior goalie Britni Kehler.

Kehler made 40 saves including a barrage of desperation shots from Minnesota during the closing minutes of the game.

With 1:09 left in the game and trailing by a goal, the Gophers pulled sophomore goalie Kim Hanlon in favor of an extra attacker, but were unable to get a shot past Kehler.

“We had some great chances at the end – we were just pummeling their goalie,” sophomore forward Gigi Marvin said. “We were just trying to put shots on net and then crash the net, but we couldn’t bury them.”

Marvin, the team’s leading scorer, recorded both of Minnesota’s goals – picking up her 11th and 12th goals of the season.

Saturday’s matinee game looked just as dim for the Gophers as the Mavericks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.

However, Minnesota answered back with second-period goals from Marvin and junior forward Bobbi Ross.

Both teams added another goal, but it was Minnesota State that jumped out in front when senior forward Shera Vis deflected a shot past Hanlon.

The Gophers were plagued by penalties throughout the weekend, and Saturday’s 11 penalties ended up costing Minnesota as the Mavericks scored three power-play goals in the contest.

“We took too many penalties this weekend – we didn’t play very smart,” Gophers head coach Laura Halldorson said. “The effort was there, but we made too many mental and physical mistakes.”

Surprisingly, one Gophers penalty likely kept them in the game.

Late in the third period, with Minnesota already trailing 4-3, Minnesota State junior forward Lindsay Macy barreled down the ice toward Hanlon on a partial breakaway.

Only sophomore defenseman Dagney Willey’s hooking penalty prevented one of the conference’s top scorers from adding to the deficit.

The Gophers’ best chance to tie the game came during Willey’s penalty when Ross landed the puck and sped toward the net on a short-handed scoring attempt.

Much like the previous penalty, a Mavericks hooking penalty was able to hold off the attack.

Playing four-on-four hockey, Minnesota again pulled Hanlon for the extra attacker. But just as in Friday’s game, Kehler and the Minnesota State defense held off the attack to preserve the win for the Mavericks.

“Right now, we’re sitting at a low for sure,” Ross said after Saturday’s game. “This definitely wasn’t what we were looking for when we came to town this weekend.”