MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota led by seven before the game’s halfway point and cruised to a 10-0 victory over visiting Bemidji State on Friday night.
After the game, Gophers’ coach Brad Frost spoke succinctly of his team’s effort.
“Well obviously, as you look at the score, our team played very well tonight,” Frost said. “Second period was the key for us, scoring all those goals in a four-minute span there.”
Sarah Davis, Rachael Bona and Hannah Brandt scored a pair of goals apiece for the Gophers (27-1-1, 21-1-1-0 WCHA) and Kate Schipper, Kelly Terry, Maryanne Menefee and Bethany Brausen found the net as well.
Davis, Bona, Schipper, and defenseman Rachel Ramsey had four-point games.
“I thought [Ramsey] played really well here tonight,” Frost said. “I think she’s been playing really good for us for an extended period of time here, so that’s nothing new, but [she made] a lot of really nice plays to get that lead extended.”
Amanda Leveille contributed 21 saves to earn her 10th shutout of the season.
“Amanda has been playing fantastic all season, especially today,” Ramsey said.
Gophers’ backup goaltender Shyler Sletta hasn’t played since Thanksgiving weekend.
“If Amanda didn’t have the shutout going, she would have gotten some time here tonight, but it’s a big deal when a kid gets a shutout, so we wanted to keep that intact,” Frost said.
Bemidji State (9-17-3, 6-15-2-1 WCHA) split the night’s work between freshman starter Brittni Mowat and senior Jessica Havel and each was touched for five goals on the night.
The Gophers opened the scoring in the first period with a couple of goals of the go-to-the-net variety. Schipper was crashing at the edge of the crease when a Davis centering pass went off of her and eluded Mowat at 9:26.
The lead grew to 2-0 two minutes later when Dani Cameranesi scored off the rebound of a Megan Wolfe shot. The puck wound up behind Mowat and Terry poked it over the line.
In the second period, Minnesota broke the game open with four goals over a 3:33 span and made it 8-0 by the intermission. The Beavers turned up their forecheck pressure coming out of the locker room, but that increased the tempo and ultimately worked in the Gophers’ favor.
“They had a little bit of pressure on us early there,” Frost said. “Offensively, I thought we did a really good job of getting people to the net, which is a hard thing to do against them. We did that and were successful and able to put the puck in.”
Ramsey set up the game’s third and fourth on one shift with five minutes gone in the middle frame that totally changed the complexion of the game, first stepping up to pick off a pass and feed Brandt.
“It was a beautiful goal by Hannah to put it in,” Ramsey said. “It was Hannah Brandt. She puts everything in the net. All you have to do is get it to her.”
The Gophers don’t expect the same type of contest in the series finale.
“Bemidji is always either a blowout or it’s an overtime or a down-to-the-wire game,” Ramsey said. “We won’t take them lightly at all.”
Saturday’s faceoff is set for 4:07 p.m. CST.
“We know it’s definitely not going to be an easy game tomorrow,” Frost said. “There’s a lot of pride in [the Bemidji State] locker room and I’m pretty sure they’ll come out better than they did today.”