MINNEAPOLIS — Hannah Brandt opened the scoring with a pure hat trick in Minnesota’s season-opening, 7-0 victory over Colgate on Friday.
“They were all just in front of the net in the right place at the right time and I just got lucky and was the one that was able to bang it home,” said Brandt, last season’s winner of the Ms. Hockey award in Minnesota high school hockey.
“We knew that she’s going to be a strong contributor for us, and she showed that tonight,” said Gophers coach Brad Frost.
Greg Fargo, in season one of coaching the Raiders (0-1), got his first look at his new team in NCAA competition.
“It’s a long year,” Fargo said. “We start the season out playing a great team like Minnesota for a reason. We learn from things and we move on.”
In the third period, Minnesota (1-0) got a pair of goals from senior Becky Kortum, matching her goal total from her junior season. Senior defenseman Mira Jalosuo and junior Amanda Kessel each lit the lamp once.
“I did like some things that we did today, to be honest,” Fargo said. “I thought we competed real hard for the first 40 minutes. We stuck to the game plan for 40 minutes. We’re going into the third period, we’re down 3-0. They have two power-play goals. We were feeling good about ourselves and what we were doing to that point. We got away from the game plan a little bit in the third, and the wheels fell off a little bit.”
Minnesota had a strong night on special teams, converting on half of six power-play chances while surviving four power plays by the visitors, including a minute of five-on-three at the end of the middle stanza.
“Overall it was just solid,” Frost said. “Still a lot of things that we need to just get better at as we get going through the season, and that will just come with repetition.”
Brandt was credited with her first goal for the Gophers on the power play at 8:46 of the first period, when she got her stick on a close-in shot by Maryanne Menefee before it slid over the goal line to put Minnesota up 1-0. Milica McMillen had the other assist on the all-rookie scoring play.
“It was awesome to be out there on the ice for the first goal of the season, whether I got the goal or not,” Brandt said. “It was fun and kind of a dream come true to be out there on the ice with the Gopher jersey.”
The Vadnais Heights, Minn., native deflected in a shot by McMillen on another power play five minutes into the second frame to up the lead to 2-0 and completed her hat trick by converting the rebound of a Rachael Bona attempt.
“It definitely made the transition a lot easier and I felt more comfortable out there because I know I’ve played with these girls before,” Brandt said. “It kind of brought back some memories of playing with Bethany Brausen — I played with her a lot growing up — and even some of the other freshmen I’ve played with a lot growing up.”
Senior Noora Räty denied all 20 Raiders shots to record the shutout.
“Noora played really well,” Frost said. “Picked up where she left off the last few years, which is fantastic.”
Colgate’s Susan Allen made 42 stops on the other end.
“Susan was fantastic tonight in net,” Fargo said. “When the puck was around our crease a lot of times, we were there, but we weren’t picking anyone up or moving anybody out of the way. You can’t let teams like that get second and third chances at pucks.”
The puck drops for game two at 4:07 p.m. CDT on Saturday.
“We’ve just got to come out strong again, because we know that they’re going to come out strong,” Brandt said. “No one likes losing 7-0, so we’ve just got to be ready for that and know that they’re going to come out hard tomorrow.”
The visiting coach doesn’t plan to make many changes for the series finale.
“Just stick to the game plan for 60 minutes, and if we do that, we’ll be just fine,” Fargo said.