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Women’s hockey takes No. 1 title from Ohio, sweeps St. Cloud

The Gophers go 3-0-1 in their past two series.
Image by Ethan Fine
Forward Audrey Wethington drives the puck down the ice during Minnesota’s game against St. Cloud, Feb. 11, 2022.

Oct. 21 at St. Cloud

The Gophers traveled to St. Cloud, unbeaten by the Huskies since 2010. The two teams squared off for the first time this season in front of a crowd of 437.

It took just over a minute for the Gophers to start scoring; Abbey Murphy found herself uncontested in the slot and ripped one past St. Cloud’s Jojo Chobak.

A few minutes later, Taylor Heise found Catie Skaja following a nifty backhand toe drag. Skaja managed a backhander off of Chobak’s blocker that rebounded to Abigail Boreen, who put in the loose change.

The Gophers would score two more in the first period as Grace Zumwinkle and Heise would pot their sixth and second goals, respectively.

St. Cloud couldn’t find their rhythm until the late stages of the second period. Klára Hymlárová scored her third goal of the season to reduce the Huskies’ deficit to three goals. In the final seconds of the period, Jenniina Nylund set up Olivia Cvar for her first goal of the year.

Neither team would allow another goal for the remainder of the game as the Gophers took down the Huskies 4-2.

Oct. 22 at Ridder Arena

The following day, Minnesota hosted St. Cloud in front of a much larger crowd of 1,553 spectators at Ridder Arena.

St. Cloud flipped the script on Minnesota, scoring approximately a minute into the contest.

Minnesota did not respond until the latter half of the period as Madison Kaiser evened the game at one apiece.

The game remained deadlocked throughout the second period, even with both teams receiving multiple power plays. St. Cloud had some great chances on Gophers’ goaltender Skylar Vetter, but she remained strong in the net.

Late in the third, Madeline Wethington’s shot went wide and off the boards to Emily Oden, who backhanded the puck on net for a rebound. The puck made its way to Zumwinkle and she buried her seventh goal of the season to take the lead for Minnesota.

The Gophers would hold off the Huskies in the final four minutes of the game and closed off a tight 2-1 win.

Oct. 28 at Ohio State

Women’s hockey traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State. The Buckeyes were not only first place in the Big Ten but ranked first in the nation.

Nelli Laitinen opened the scoring with 10:59 remaining in the first with a shot from the point. Zumwinkle and Murphy assisted Laitinen’s second goal of the season.

In the final minutes of the second period, Ohio State’s Jenna Buglioni scored her fourth goal of the season to tie the game at one.

Shortly after, graduate Sophie Jaques scored to take the lead for Ohio State, as the second period ended 2-1 in favor of the Buckeyes.

Less than 20 seconds into the third period, Heise squeaked an awkward shot past Buckeyes goaltender Amanda Thiele to even the game at 2-2.

Midway through the third, Peyton Hemp took a shot from behind the goal line that banked off of Thiele and in to take the lead for Minnesota. With three minutes remaining, Boreen found the puck following a net-front scramble to extend the Gophers’ lead to two goals.

Hemp’s fourth goal of the season would serve as the game-winner as Minnesota took down No.1 Ohio State 4-2.

Vetter was outstanding, stopping 43 shots and recording a .956 save percentage against the defending national champions.

Oct. 29 at Ohio State

On Saturday, Minnesota took on Ohio State again to complete their first away series.

Once again, the Gophers struck first; Murphy buried a loose puck on the power play for her seventh goal of the season.

Freshman Josefin Bouveng doubled Minnesota’s lead to two, as she scored her fourth goal of the season less than a minute later.

In the latter half of the first period, Ohio State’s Makenna Webster scored her first goal of the season to cut Minnesota’s lead in half.

The second period was quiet with neither team scoring.

Early on in the third period, Murphy scored her second goal of the game to extend the Gophers’ lead back to two goals.

Murphy’s goal remained unanswered for 10 minutes until Jennifer Gardiner scored to cut Ohio State’s deficit to one goal.

A slashing penalty by Crystalyn Hengler sent Ohio State to the power play, which allowed the Buckeyes’ Jaques to tie the game at 3-3.

With six minutes remaining in the third, Minnesota found themselves on the penalty kill yet again. A quarter of the way through Ohio State’s power play, Heise managed to win a foot race against Buckeyes’ Madison Bizal and score a short-handed goal to claim the lead.

Unfortunately, the Gophers’ lead would not last long; Jaques scored her second goal of the game on the power play to tie the game at 4-4.

Time expired in regulation, and the two teams went to overtime. Minnesota outshot Ohio State 7-2 in overtime, but Buckeyes goaltender Raygan Kirk stopped all seven shots.

The two teams needed a shootout to determine a winner, although the victory would not count toward the win column.

Following a miss from Murphy, Jaques scored in the second round of the shootout for the home team.

Zumwinkle would respond, scoring on the ensuing shot to tie the shootout at 1-1.

Both teams would miss their next shot, leading the shootout into the fourth round. Bouveng would fail to score for Minnesota, but Ohio State’s Buglioni was able to beat Vetter to win the shootout for the Buckeyes.

Though the Buckeyes emerged victorious in the shootout, the game’s final score is still recorded as a 4-4 tie.

Even though Minnesota failed to beat Ohio State in their second matchup, the Gophers were voted into first place on the United States Coaches poll.

Minnesota still sits in second place behind Ohio State in the WCHA but has played fewer games than the Buckeyes. The Gophers hold the best win percentage in the conference with a .917 and a record of 7-0-1.

The Gophers will host No. 5 Minnesota Duluth at Ridder Arena on Friday to defend their new No.1 ranking.

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