Gophers bounce back after OT loss Friday

Minnesota scored four goals for a win in Sunday’s contest against Montana in St. Paul.

by Nick Gerhardt

Minnesota came home this weekend for their first contests at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium this season. And in front of vocal fans, the Gophers wanted to show those fans what they could do on the field.

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And in the weekend they showed the 2,000-plus fans that showed up for two games their reinvigorated offense by scoring six goals; however, only managed one win.

Junior forward Lindsey Schwartz talked before the weekend about the team needing to put opponents away after they take the lead and her words seemed prophetic after the Friday night game against Dayton.

“We just needed to buckle down and put the game away,” she said.

The Gophers (3-3 overall, 0-0 Big Ten) pulled ahead to a 2-1 second half lead only to lose 3-2 in double overtime.

In front of 1,238 excited fans, Minnesota displayed the potency of their offensive attack in the first half as they fired nine shots in the period and grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute when freshman forward Katie Bethke took a pass from fellow freshman forward Julie Rezac and scored her second goal of the year.

The Flyers (5-2 overall, 0-0 Atlantic Ten) answered back in the 27th minute when midfielder Amanda Gallow gathered in a rebound off the post and fired into the back of the net to even the match.

The Gophers have dominated the second half of games the entire season and Friday looked like more of the same when junior forward Lindsey Schwartz took a pass from Bethke and buried it in the back of the net to put Minnesota up 2-1.

Dayton picked up its play after the goal and pressured the Gophers’ defense until the 73rd minute when midfielder Jerica DeWolfe snuck in behind the defense and put the ball in the upper right corner to tie the game once again.

The game stayed tied into the second period of overtime and then from just outside the 18-yard box, Dayton sent a free kick toward the goal and forward Caitlin Proffitt got a piece of the ball and sent it past a diving Chelsey Turner to give the Flyers the 3-2 win.

Minnesota, normally a sound defender on set pieces, found itself disorganized on the play and Dayton took advantage for the victory.

The Gophers needed to quickly recover from the devastating double overtime loss because Sunday as they faced Montana (1-5 overall, 0-0 Big Sky) and needed to salvage a win for the weekend split.

Minnesota delivered one of its finest performances of the year as they soundly defeated Montana 4-0 in the final game of the tournament.

The Gophers once again dismantled their foe in the second half as junior midfielder Kelsey Hood started the scoring 10 minutes into the half when she danced around defenders outside the 18-yard box and ripped a left-footed shot toward the goal. Dayton goalkeeper Grace Harris could not hang on and the ball glanced off of her into the net for Hood’s first goal of the year.

Junior Clare Grimwood delivered another goal in the 73rd minute for her first of the year and gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead.

Just three minutes later Schwartz added another goal, her second of the weekend, after she took a beautiful pass from Rezac to beat Harris.

Freshman Katie Shelander tallied her first goal of the year and career in the 85th minute on a one-timer after a Grimwood cross to make the game 4-0, which was plenty enough for the win.

“The kids really made the adjustments and came out firing,” coach Mikki Denney Wright said.

Grimwood was among those who came out firing as she finished with one goal and an assist and she said despite a rough ending Friday, it’s nice to close out the weekend strong.

“It’s always nice to come out with a Sunday win,” Grimwood said.

The four goals in the second half is more proof of the Gophers relentless offensive attack.

“We decided at halftime we needed to capitalize on our opportunities,” Schwartz said.