Gophers blow past Mavericks, up for Duluth

by Monica Wright

With the promise of pizza to lure dorm dwellers to Mariucci Arena, the Minnesota women’s hockey team provided the entertainment by dishing out an 8-3 beating of Minnesota State.
Eight hundred and four fans saw the Gophers score three goals in the first four minutes of the first period. The outburst caused Minnesota State to call a timeout and replace their goaltender.
“We had a great first period,” Gophers coach Laura Halldorson said. “We started strong but weren’t as sharp in the second and third periods. There’s a natural tendency to let up when you’re ahead, and that’s not acceptable, but it happens.”
After knocking in five goals in the first period the Gophers gave up three goals to the Mavericks over the next two periods, a number Minnesota State has never reached against Minnesota.
Contributing to the Gophers’ inconsistent play was the loss of junior defender Courtney Kennedy, who was taken down by a Minnesota State player and helped off the rink.
Kennedy, who’s injured leg required stitches, did not return to the ice for the rest of the game.
“Losing Courtney early had an effect, it broke up one of our lines,” Halldorson said. “It’s tough to lose a player of her caliber in the first period. I also give a lot of credit to Mankato, they had a boost of confidence.”
Junior Nadine Muzerall, who contributed two goals and two assists to the win, thought the team had seen better games against the Mavericks.
“Our play was weak and we were bunching up, it was very claustrophobic on the ice,” Muzerall said. “We definitely weren’t using our speed to our advantage. We’ve got to play period by period if we want to win.”
With only one practice left before the Gophers leave for WCHA-leading Duluth and a difficult weekend series, Halldorson didn’t dwell on the negative aspects of the game.
“Around the goal we were very successful,” Halldorson said. “Muzerall and Ronda Curtin find each other and put away the scoring opportunities they had. Overall we had strong play and we wanted to play strong going into this weekend.”
Minnesota puts an end to its seven-game homestand this weekend when they head to Duluth to take on the Bulldogs at 7:05 p.m.

Monica Wright covers women’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]