ERIE, Pa. — Junior defender Ronda Curtin’s shorthanded goal with just 1:04 left in overtime gave Minnesota a 2-1 win over the Mercyhurst Lady Lakers before 200 fans Friday night at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.
The win improved fifth-ranked Minnesota’s record to 3-1-1 while the loss was Mercyhurst’s fourth straight in a 2-4 campaign.
Golden Gopher senior forward Sarma Pone gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead on a power play at 11:57 of the first period, with assists to senior forward Tracy Engstrom and sophomore forward La Toya Clarke. It was Pone’s first goal of the year.
Minnesota dominated the period, outshooting Mercyhurst 18-8. The Gophers had a two-person advantage for 1:38 earlier in the period but were held at bay by Mercyhurst junior goalie Tiffany Ribble.
The Lakers tied the game at 14:01 of the second when sophomore forward Lyndsay Barch scored her third goal of the season when her 60-footer from right wing eluded Minnesota freshman goalie Brenda Reinen.
Mercyhurst, in the middle of a line change, got assists from freshman forward Chrissy Yule and junior defender Liz Betteridge. The Lady Lakers outshot Minnesota 9-3 in the second period and 12-6 in the third but couldn’t find the back of the net again.
Mercyhurst pressed the attack in overtime and, aided by a cross-checking penalty against the Gophers, had several excellent chances but were denied by Reinen. Curtin then broke in shorthanded and her shot from 35 feet trickled by Ribble to end the contest.
Mercyhurst head coach Michael Sisti was proud of his team’s effort.
“We’ll keep plugging away,” said Sisti. “We know we can play with the best teams. We just have to find a way to start winning.”
Mercyhurst outshot Minnesota 32-29; the Gophers dressed just 15 skaters and two goaltenders.
The Gophers were 1 of 5 on the power play while Mercyhurst was 0 of 6 and allowed the shorthanded game-winner.
Mercyhurst has now lost four straight games, the last two in overtime, by a total of five goals. Minnesota visits Niagara Saturday, while the Lakers will play at Niagara on Sunday.