MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Golden Gophers started a veteran of two Olympics in its goal, while the Harvard Crimson went with a first-year netminder. That difference went a long way in telling the story of the 4-2 win for the Gophers (10-5-0, 5-5-0 WCHA).
Harvard (4-4-2, 4-2-2 ECAC) enjoyed a 37-18 advantage in shots on goal, but couldn’t score until they were already down 4-0.
“We came out of the gates flying, had a lot of good pressure, and that first goal was deflating,” Harvard coach Katey Stone said. “But we’ve got to figure it out.”
Junior Kelly Seeler opened the scoring when her bomb from the right point found twine over Harvard starting goalie Lauren Joarnt at 14:25 of the opening period.
“Upstairs is wide open; she kind of went down and we noticed that,” Seeler said. “So we tried to get more shots high.”
The Gophers power play upped the margin to 3-0. A Crimson defender got a stick on Seeler’s pass, but it still reached Sarah Erickson on the weak side, and Erickson sniped her seventh goal of the season with Jen Schoullis getting the second assist.
In the second period, defenseman Mira Jalosuo collected her second goal in as many games, taking a Sarah Davis pass in the slot and beating Joarnt along the ice. It was Davis’ second primary assist, as she also had the helper on Seeler’s opening goal.
Rookie Bethany Brausen got into the act with her first goal in maroon and gold, finishing off a rush with Terra Rasmussen at 12:44 of period two, Minnesota’s lead was four, and Joarnt was relieved by Laura Bellamy in net.
“There’s been a lot that haven’t been going my way, and the third line in particular,” Brausen said. “On that play, I saw ‘Ras’ coming up the wide boards, and I knew that if I got to the net, she’d find a way to dish it over to me. It went off the skate, and then it kind of went off the stick, and somehow went in the net.”
Harvard finally got on the board after being denied for nearly five periods when Kate Buesser coaxed the puck over the goal line during a scramble in the crease. Katharine Chute and Leanna Coskren picked up the assists on the power-play tally. It was the only time on the weekend that the Harvard PP was successful in ten tries.
“Minnesota’s got a very good kill, and I don’t want to shake that, because they do a very good job and they don’t give you a lot,” Stone said. “The best kill is the goaltender, and we know what that’s like, we had that before.”
Buesser connected again late in the third period for the final 4-2 score.
“Tonight was certainly not our best effort, but we did enough to win,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said. “We won tonight because our goaltender played better than their (goalie).”
Noora Raty stopped 35 shots in her return to the Gopher net after being injured during Friday’s contest, improving to 9-4-0 on the year.
The Gophers wrap up the nonconference portion of their schedule with a perfect 5-0 record.
“Coming into the weekend, we wanted two wins, and we came out with two,” Frost said.
Minnesota next heads to Bemidji for WCHA games Friday and Saturday afternoon.
“We’ll get there,” Stone said. “We’ve just got to piece a few more things together.”
The Crimson continue their road trip in a week at Boston College.