MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota got four goals and 10 points from the first line of Sarah Erickson, Jen Schoullis and Amanda Kessel to fuel a 6-1 victory over Union on Friday.
“The Schoullis line kind of carried us tonight a little bit on the scoreboard, but they’re our leaders, and they’re supposed to do that,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said.
The trio was able to maintain pressure in the offensive zone, find each other in open areas and quickly convert those passes into goals.
“I think we have great chemistry on the ice,” Schoullis said. “Obviously, we work well together, complete a lot of passes and have a lot of chances each game. It’s like we didn’t even skip a beat, really, just jumped from last season to this season.”
Schoullis buried two shots, one seconds after a power play had ended and the second while Minnesota (1-0) had the extra skater.
“They played together all last year, so they’re clicking and picking up right where they left off,” said Frost. “The other lines are just going to take some time to jell. Our third and fourth lines had different wingers and center all night, and that’s going to play itself out.”
Minnesota also got a goal from Emily West, as well as Rachel Ramsey’s first tally for the Gophers.
“Coming in the first and second period, I felt a little shaky,” Ramsey said. “I was showing the girls in the locker room that I couldn’t stop shaking, but going into the third, I think I started settling in. I think the other freshmen did as well.”
Union (0-1) got on the board in second period to draw within 2-1 on the first collegiate goal of Camille Corbin, a rookie wing from San Diego. Corbin used a great individual effort while on the power play to fight to the front and slide a shot through the five hole.
“This is a great team we played against, but I thought our kids worked very, very hard,” said Union coach Claudia Asano. “You get to evaluate what you need to work on and the things that you’re doing well. It’s actually a great experience.”
“I talked to Claudia after the game, and they’re one of the hardest-working teams we’ve played against in a long, long time,” Frost said. “I told her that all of a sudden they get a difference maker or two that can put the puck in the net, and they’re going to be a dangerous team. She’s doing the right things there, and that will come, I’m sure.”
For a team that won only twice last season, the opener hints at better things ahead for the Dutchwomen.
“We have a lot of freshmen in the lineup, and getting them going as quickly as you can and making sure they’re playing at the highest level is what we need to do,” Asano said. “Our kids played through the end, so it’s good.”
Saturday brings a different opponent for each team and a chance for a new test.
“Overall, [it was] a good start,” Frost said. “We’ve still got some things to work on, but we’ll try to correct those things for tomorrow.”
“We’re expecting Syracuse to be a good team to play,” Schoullis said. “I know they’re well coached. We’ve just got to prepare for that.”