MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Golden Gophers used a six-goal second period to pull away from the St. Cloud State Huskies in route to an 8-0 victory and a sweep of their WCHA series.
“They just obviously ramped it up and played at a different level than us in the second period, and we just couldn’t weather the storm — freshman goalie not ready for that,” Huskies coach Jeff Giesen said. “We played alright in the first, and I thought we were going to build on that, but they’re pretty good.”
Amanda Kessel had a pure hat trick over an eight-minute stretch, the second three-goal game of her career for the Gophers (4-0, 2-0 WCHA), who also got a pair of tallies from Kelly Terry and goals from Megan Bozek, Meghan Lorence, and Bethany Brausen.
“Last night, I was kind of pressing, but for once tonight, it just seemed to happen,” Kessel said. “I was a little disappointed there was no hats on the ice.”
Kessel, who has seven goals through the first two weekends of the season, made her most exciting rush of the night weaving through defenders in the first period, but her shot clanged off the pipe.
“That’s how it happens; that one was a nice play and I’m thinking I’m going to score, and the other ones just seemed to come to me,” Kessel said.
Terry’s first goal came just 10 seconds after the first intermission and set the tone for the middle period.
“When they score 10 seconds into a period, you’re on your heels right away after you think you’re regrouped after a 15-minute rest,” Giesen said. “A talented team can do that to you.”
“Our little huddle at the beginning was all about how we’ve got to start strong and set the pace for the rest of the game, and that’s what we did,” Terry said.
The negative for Minnesota also came in the second stanza, as senior captain Jen Schoullis went into the boards and did not return to action.
“She’s got an upper-body injury and her status remains uncertain here for now,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said.
Frost said the team rotated their three centers with all four sets of wings during the remainder of the game looking for combinations that will work should Schoullis not be available going forward.
Noora Räty and Shyler Sletta combined to stop 11 shots for the shutout.
SCSU also used both goaltenders, with Tayler VanDenakker stopping 24 of 25 shots after relieving starter Julie Friend. The Huskies look to regroup against Ohio State next weekend in a series in Columbus.
“We’ve played well there, and hopefully we match up with everybody else there,” Giesen said. “Everybody seems to have that one player except for us that is that elite type player. At least we can key on somebody.”
Meanwhile, the Gophers travel to Madison to take on the top-ranked Badgers for a Friday-Sunday series.
“We know what to expect from them,” Terry said. “Hopefully with that attitude, we won’t be too surprised by the speed they have and the skill they have in the offensive end, because we are a very good defensive team. We haven’t had a lot of chance to show that in games yet, but I’m really confident that we’ll be able to.”
Giesen also expects Minnesota to have a strong season.
“They’re going to be a pretty good team the whole year, I think,” he said. “I don’t think they just took it to us. It’s going to be them and Wisconsin right down to the wire.”