Minnesota continues dominance of Sioux

Junior forward Bobbi Ross scored her 100th career point on Sunday.

Brian Deutsch

The Minnesota women’s hockey team preserved an undefeated record against North Dakota this weekend with two wins at Ridder Arena.

Saturday’s 4-0 victory and Sunday’s 5-1 win brought the Gophers’ record to 14-0-0 against the Sioux all time and prevented North Dakota from picking up its first conference win of the season.

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when: 7:07 p.m. Friday
where: Ridder Arena

The sweep was extra special for junior forward Bobbi Ross, who had three goals and two assists over the weekend to earn a place in Minnesota hockey history.

The team captain recorded her 100th career point in Sunday’s 5-1 win over the Sioux – becoming the first Gophers player to reach the 100-point milestone since Krissy Wendell did it in the 2003-2004 season.

“I would never have noticed if someone had not told me,” Ross said. “I think it is a neat little statistic, but it doesn’t take anything away from what was really important – how we played as a team.”

Minnesota found success on the power play throughout the weekend, something coach Laura Halldorson said the team had struggled with as of late.

“(Assistant) coach (Brad) Frost has been working diligently with our power play, and I know they had a separate meeting this week,” Halldorson said. “I give him a lot of credit for tweaking the power play, and the kids went out there and played with a lot of energy and confidence.”

The eighth-ranked Gophers scored seven goals on 13 power-play chances, including three-fourths of Saturday’s goals.

Both teams struggled with penalties over the weekend as 56 minutes worth of penalties were given out to the two teams in the series.

Minnesota (17-8-1 overall, 14-7-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) was called for nine offenses Saturday, leading to a pair of five-on-three disadvantages, but the Sioux couldn’t score a power-play goal all weekend on 13 chances.

Gophers sophomore Melanie Gagnon was Minnesota’s worst offender of the night – the defenseman was called for three penalties Saturday.

However, a five-point performance over the weekend from Gagnon more than made up for her infractions.

Gagnon notched two assists in Saturday’s win, while sophomore forward Gigi Marvin led the Gophers with two assists and a goal – her 14th lamp-lighter of the season.

Sophomore goaltender Kim Hanlon stopped 28 shots to earn her second shutout of the season.

“It feels good (to earn the shutout), it makes the team more confident,” Hanlon said. “They know that they only need to score a few goals to get the win.”

Hanlon was put to the test by the Sioux, who started slow but pieced together a number of scoring opportunities that were unsuccessful, including one highlight-reel save by Hanlon.

With North Dakota (3-23-2, 0-21-1) controlling the puck deep in the Minnesota zone, a Sioux forward launched a cross-ice pass to a teammate camping out in front of the crease.

A point-blank shot was stopped only when Hanlon made a sprawling dive to snag the puck in her glove.

In Sunday’s finale, the Gophers wasted no time picking up where they left off as Ross picked up her 12th goal of the season 33 seconds into the game.

Ross added her second goal of the game 3:30 later on a five-on-three advantage for Minnesota.

It took North Dakota nearly 12 minutes to get a shot on goal, but three shots and one goal in 30 seconds got the Sioux back in the game.

Sophomore defenseman Kelsey Fletcher found the net at 8:31 into the first period to pull her team within one, 2-1.

But Marvin, Gagnon and junior forward Jenelle Philipczyk each added another power-play goal to end any thoughts of a comeback, giving the Gophers a 5-1 win.

“Two wins this weekend were definitely huge,” Ross said. “We know we have to do a lot more than that to truly get back on track.”