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No. 4 Gophers women’s hockey bashes Bemidji State Beavers to close out the regular season

Minnesota outscored Bemidji State 15-2 this weekend.
Image by Emily Urfer
The last time the Gophers made it to the NCAA championship game was in 2019 when they lost to Wisconsin.

After the Gophers women’s hockey team had a disappointing outing on senior weekend versus Ohio State, players traveled to Bemidji on a mission to add to their tournament resume. Minnesota did just that in blowout fashion, resulting in a pair of wins.

Zumwinkle scores third career hat trick Friday

In the opening period, the Gophers ran out to a 3-0 start after Crystalyn Hengler, Grace Zumwinkle and Abigail Boreen all found the back of the net. The hot start led to a 6-1 Minnesota victory. The Gophers had a 9-6 shots on goal advantage over the Beavers and three goals, converting on one-third of their scoring chances.

Abbey Murphy continued the red-hot start in the second period by scoring within the first four minutes to extend the Minnesota lead to 4-0. Taylor Nelson of the Beavers at the backend of the second period scored Bemidji State’s only goal of the game to put the game at 4-1. Immediately after, Zumwinkle managed to get her second goal of the game.

Minnesota was already up 5-1 with a 20-11 shots on goal advantage.

The third period was all Zumwinkle as the senior made the only goal of the final 20 minutes of the game. Zumwinkle notched her third career hat trick and also put her in the top-10 of Minnesota’s all-time scoring list. She’s tied for 10th all-time with Emily West with 82 career goals. The Gophers led the final shots on goal over the Beavers 26-16.

“Good win on the road here, it’s nice to get back on track,” Minnesota head coach Brad Frost told Gopher Sports. “Obviously a great start, getting three there in the first and then continuing to build the lead. I’m proud of our team. They stayed with it here for 60 minutes and got a good win on the road. Zummy with the hat trick – she was on the receiving end of some beautiful plays there. I’m happy for her and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Eight different Gophers score in final regular season game Saturday

If Friday’s offensive output by Minnesota didn’t fully showcase the team’s scoring skills, on Saturday the Gophers notched a season-high in goals made en route to a 9-1 win and sweep over Bemidji State.

In the first period, Madeline Wethington and Emily Brown both scored early to give the Gophers a 2-0 lead. Later in the first, Paige Anderson racked up the Beavers’ only goal of the game to be within one goal of the Gophers. That didn’t last for long as Chicago Mission alumni Murphy and Josey Dunne both scored to go into the first intermission with another lead, up 4-1 with a 13-4 shots on net advantage.

In the second period, Zumwinkle cashed in her fourth goal of the series with Hengler also adding another score. The score at the end of the second period was 6-1, with the Gophers still leading shots on goal 29-7.

In the third period, sophomore goalie Olivia King made her first career appearance in net for Minnesota, stopping all four shots she faced in the period. Murphy, Taylor Heise and Amy Potomak all scored to give the Gophers their seventh, eighth and ninth goals, as Minnesota outshot the Beavers 36-11.

“Well, a really fun weekend here,” Frost told Gopher Sports. “To get a sweep on the road is a big deal in the WCHA and to play as well as our team did was really exciting to watch. Also, having Olivia King in there in the third period, getting her first career time as a Gopher – she has worked so hard for the last year and a half to earn this opportunity, and we’re really happy and proud of her for getting in there and shutting the door. Overall, a great weekend, and we’re looking forward to the playoffs coming up.”

Next, the Gophers will compete in the WCHA Final Faceoff from March 6-7 at Ridder Arena.

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