MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota dressed eight skaters that had yet to reach double digits in points for the season in the first game of its WCHA quarterfinal series, and seven of them contributed in the scoring column in a 6-1 win over visiting St. Cloud State.
Kelly Terry led the way for those counted on to score for the Gophers (28-5-2, 21-5-2 WCHA) with a goal and two assists. With her team down a skater with Megan Bozek and Becky Kortum out of the lineup with injuries, Terry pulled double duty, centering both the third and fourth lines and setting up goals with each.
Minnesota coach Brad Frost said Terry has a great energy level, and is in the best condition of anyone on the team.
His team started quickly when Baylee Gillanders’ shot from the left point found its way through traffic and into the net 1:51 into the game. It was the sophomore defenseman’s second goal of the season; Terry had the only assist.
“Getting off to that quick start was huge,” Frost said.
Without Bozek’s usual offensive contribution from the blue line, Minnesota got contributions from other sources in its defensive corps. Kelly Seeler, Mira Jalosuo, and Anne Schleper each had an assist, and Katie Frischmann, taking Bozek’s spot in the rotation, had two helpers.
Gillanders said that Bozek didn’t give her any lucky equipment, just a few words of advice. Beyond that, she thought the key was that her team “got lots of shots to the net.”
St. Cloud State (5-28-2, 4-24-0 WCHA) coach Jeff Giesen looked at the score sheet and lamented the fact that his team had done a good job on the Gophers’ top guns, but was done in by the people farther down the depth chart.
At 5:41 of the first period, Rachael Bona finished a goal-mouth pass from Amanda Kessel for a 2-0 Gophers lead.
Emily West made it 3-0 later in the period, losing control of a puck that slid off her stock on a break, only to have it find the five-hole on Huskies’ goal Julie Friend.
Giesen said that was a play where Friend needs to do a better job. The freshman finished with 32 saves in her first postseason appearance.
Minnesota also got goals from senior Nikki Ludwigson, her first of the year, and Bethany Brausen.
Molli Mott had the lone goal for St. Cloud State in the final minute of the second period, burying a shot from the mid-slot on a nice play by Abby Ness and Brittany Toor.
Giesen said the Huskies need more of that to prolong the series, but they’ll also need a better start than they had in game one.
Frost said he is hoping for another outcome like Friday’s game.
The puck drops at 4:07 p.m. for the second game on Saturday, and if necessary, a third contest on Sunday as well.