Gophers bring out the brooms in Duluth

The Gophers are on top of the WCHA standings after a two-game sweep over the No. 6 UMD Bulldogs.

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Emily Pofahl

Gophers defenseman Madeline Wethington pursues an opponent at Ridder Arena on Sunday, Nov. 22. The Gophers ultimately fell to the Ohio State Buckeyes 2-1.

Matthew Kennedy, Sports Reporter

Gophers score 4 straight to beat Bulldogs on Friday

The Minnesota Gophers early on in their contest struggled to keep up with the Bulldogs on offense, heading into the locker room after the first period down by a couple of goals that were each scored at the beginning and end of the period.

“Their first goal was off a deflection, and their second came off a missed assignment by us,” head coach Brad Frost said.

Early on in the second period, the Gophers managed to slice the Duluth lead in half with Abigail Boreen’s first goal of her junior campaign.

Going into the third period, the Gophers finally found their stride. A goal in the middle of the period by freshman Abbey Murphy tied the game 2-2.

Later in the final period, another first-year skater came in clutch. With two and a half minutes left in the game, freshman Anne Cherkowski fired in the game-winning score to put Minnesota up 3-2. Another goal came 30 seconds later from an empty netter by junior Catie Skaja, which sealed the comeback win for the Gophers at 4-2.

“We ended up making a switch in the third period and put Anne and Abbey on the same line with Oden, and it made a huge difference to take the lead and put the game away,” Frost said.

Emilys have a big Saturday on the ice for the Gophers

Unlike the first game, the Gophers got on the board early, and it was two skaters with the first name Emily who provided the early goals for the Gophers. Emily Brown scored in the first period to make the game 1-0, and Emily Oden scored on the power play later in the contest to take a 2-0 lead.

In the third period, the Bulldogs cut the lead in half but to no avail as they could not tie the game in the remaining time in regulation. The Gophers move to 3-1 on the season while the Bulldogs fall to 2-2 on the season. Gophers’ goaltender Lauren Bench stopped 31 Bulldogs’ shots-on-goal as both teams registered 32 shots apiece. Bench stopped 54 of 57 shots on net over the weekend.

“I thought in both periods we controlled the puck incredibly well and worked our butts off on defense,” Frost said. “And in the third period, our team bended but didn’t break, and much of this win goes to Lauren, who was really good down the stretch.”

Frost was also pleased in his skaters, who were more aggressive than last weekend. He loved to see them play with a little bit more speed.

The next games for the Gophers will come in the most anticipated series of the season versus top-ranked Wisconsin on Dec. 4-5. The puck drops are at 6:07 p.m. Friday and 4:07 p.m. Saturday.