MINNEAPOLIS — La Toya Clarke scored her second career hat trick to lead No. 1 Minnesota to a 7-1 victory over Findlay Saturday afternoon at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers are now 18-2-5, extending their unbeaten streak to 19 straight games.
Findlay struck the first blow as the Oilers scored at 5:45 of the first period, and Minnesota responded by scoring seven unanswered goals.
Clarke started the Minnesota rally at 12:53 of the first, scoring her own rebound off of Findlay goalie Erin Blair. The Gophers would another goal by Noelle Sutton to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead.
Minnesota came out strong in the second period as Clarke scored her second goal at 1:10 with the assist going to Jerilyn Glenn. Minnesota’s Ronda Curtin tallied a goal 1:01 later as the Gophers took a 4-1 lead. Clarke completed her hat trick at the 10:34 mark of the second as the Gophers went up 5-1 by the second intermission.
Minnesota senior co-captains Tracy Engstrom and Laura Slominski each contributed a goal in the third for the final 7-1 score. Engstrom’s goal, her 11th of the year, came on a rebound from Curtin, which led the Oilers to pull Blair and put in Amy Jones between the pipes.
Slominski battled for the puck on a faceoff and took a shot, finding the back of the net for the unassisted goal, the third such for Minnesota.
Rookie goalie Brenda Reinen started in her 11th game and is now 7-1-3. Reinen had 20 saves in the contest.
The Gophers will host Findlay again Sunday afternoon. Minnesota will look to go undefeated at home, posting an 11-0-3 record at Mariucci Arena.