Women’s hockey first series loss, demoted to No. 3

In an intense rivalry series versus Wisconsin, the Gophers record their first series loss of the season.

The+Gophers+will+take+on+No.+12+Penn+State+in+Henderson%2C+Nevada%2C+on+Friday%2C+looking+to+rebound+from+their+series+loss+to+the+Badgers.%0A

Emily Urfer

The Gophers will take on No. 12 Penn State in Henderson, Nevada, on Friday, looking to rebound from their series loss to the Badgers.

by Eitan Schoenberg

Nov. 19 at Wisconsin

On Saturday, Minnesota faced off against their rival the Wisconsin Badgers for the first time this season at LaBahn Arena in Madison. Heading into the highly-anticipated matchup, the Gophers were ranked No. 1 in the nation, while the Badgers were No. 3.

A series win for Minnesota would allow the team to maintain its lead in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) standings over Wisconsin as well as gain ground on first place Ohio State.

Eight minutes into the first period, Wisconsin’s Vivian Jungels opened the scoring in front of the home crowd with a snipe from the slot to put the home team up 1-0.

On a Badgers power play in the final five minutes of the first period, Abbey Murphy’s backhander strangely deflected off of Peyton Hemp and past Wisconsin goaltender Cami Kronish. Murphy’s goal was the fourth shorthanded goal of the Gophers’ season and tied the game at 1-1.

To start the second period, Laila Edwards fired a shot past Skylar Vetter to give the Badgers the lead once again. Jungels received the first assist on Edwards’ goal, giving the freshman her first multi-point game at the collegiate level.

Four minutes later, Hemp would score again in an unusual fashion as her wrist shot from the outside hashmark managed to beat Kronish. Hemp’s second goal of the game brought her season total to six goals.

In the late stages of the second period, Grace Zumwinkle picked up a loose puck and attempted to jam it past Kronish. Though Zumwinkle’s effort wasn’t initially called a goal, the play was reviewed and Minnesota was eventually awarded the goal and took the lead 3-2.
Both goaltenders were outstanding in the third period. Vetter and Kronish stopped 13 and 15 shots, respectively.

Unfortunately for Vetter, she was unable to hold off the Badgers in the final 10 seconds of play; Wisconsin’s Britta Curl found the puck in a netfront scramble and fired home a shot to tie the game.

Despite an action-packed overtime period, including a remarkable behind the back save by Kronish, neither team could find the back of the net. On both teams’ records, this result is displayed as a tie, even though the game continued into a shootout.

In the shootout, Murphy was the only player to score in three rounds, and the Gophers took the win.

Nov. 20 at Wisconsin

The two teams faced off again on Sunday for the second game of the series.

In the latter half of the first period, Wisconsin would strike first again; Nicole LaMantia opened the scoring on the power play with a well-placed shot from the right circle.

Minnesota quickly responded with a power play goal of their own when Taylor Heise’s spin-around shot caught Kronish off guard. Heise’s goal was her seventh of the season and the Gopher’s tenth power play goal of the season.

The game remained tied until the final three minutes of the second period, when Sarah Wozniewicz ripped a shot past Vetter to put the Badgers up one goal.

Wisconsin would build their lead early in the third period with Kirsten Simms scoring her fifth goal of the year to put the Badgers up 3-1.

Jesse Compher would deliver the dagger six minutes later to increase Wisconsin’s lead to three goals. Minnesota was unable to solve Kronish in the third period, and the Badgers took down the Gophers 4-1.

This loss was Minnesota’s first loss in WCHA play and allowed the Badgers to come within three points of the Gophers in the conference standings.

Since Minnesota’s shootout victory technically does not count as a win, the Gophers lost the series against the Badgers. This is Minnesota’s first series loss since the first week of October 2021, when Ohio State swept the Gophers at home.

Kronish’s performance in the two game series versus Minnesota earned her WCHA Goaltender of the Week.

Pouring salt in the wound, Minnesota dropped to No. 3 on the USCHO.com rankings, and Wisconsin was promoted to No. 2. Ohio State was voted back into first place for the first time in a month following their sweep against Bemidji State this past weekend.

The Gophers will take on No. 12 Penn State in Henderson, Nevada, on Friday in the Henderson Collegiate Hockey Showcase, looking to rebound from their series loss to the Badgers.