MINNEAPOLIS — Sophomore Maryanne Menefee scored her first collegiate hat trick in Minnesota’s 6-0 shutout of visiting Minnesota-Duluth and added a helper to her night’s work.
“She’s been quiet so far this year, and still has  goals,” coach Brad Frost said. “This was a big night for her to get that hat trick, and hopefully, it brings a little more confidence for her.”
Sarah Davis tallied twice for the Gophers (31-1-1, 25-1-1-0 WCHA), and Meghan Lorence had three points, including a goal.
Amanda Leveille turned aside 16 shots in earning her second consecutive shutout, giving her a dozen for the season.
“Whenever you can score quick like that and get up three, it makes a big difference, especially the way Amanda played tonight, stopping two breakaways and just being really sharp all over the place,” Frost said.
The Gophers were presented with their trophy for winning the WCHA season in a brief ceremony before the game.
“You never know what is going to happen when you do things before games,” Frost said. “I was really happy with how they came out.”
Minnesota-Duluth (13-12-6, 11-10-6-4 WCHA) is still in the process of putting its roster back together after the Olympics. Finnish defenseman Tea Villila got back from Russia at 3:00 a.m. and played in the game. Lara Stalder has not yet rejoined the team after winning a bronze medal with Switzerland on Thursday.
Menefee beat UMD starter Kayla Black with a couple of backhanders in the first period. Almost halfway through, she took a pass from Megan Wolfe, and Black got a piece of the puck, but not enough to keep it out of the net.
Hannah Brandt set up Menefee’s second goal, which the sophomore flipped to the top of the cage 17:55 into the game.
“[Frost] usually tells me to keep off my backhand,” Menefee said. “This season I’ve been using it a little too much, but luckily today it was working for me.”
Her third goal came on a power-play deflection.
“I told her the hat trick only counts if she gets the third one on the backhand, so in my book, she didn’t get a hat trick,” Davis joked.
Davis put the game out of reach when she scored goals 34 seconds and 2:01 into the middle period.
“We had a power play to start the second,” Davis said. “We were only up 2-0 at that point, and we wanted to take advantage and make it to three. [Rachael] Bona made a really good play to give it to me down low, and I just tried to stuff it home.”
The line of Brandt centering Menefee and Lorence combined for nine points in the contest.
“Definitely starting to pick it up now at the end, which is good since it is playoff time,” Menefee said. “Hopefully, it will stay this way for the rest of the season.”
Minnesota controlled the first 40 minutes and held a 31-9 bulge in shots.
“We started flat footed the first two periods,” UMD coach Shannon Miller said. “I think we were in awe of them; we just watched them play. In the third period, we actually stuck to the game plan. They did exactly what we asked them to do for the last 20 minutes. They did it, and we had success. We had five scoring chances; they had four.”
The teams conclude their regular-season schedules Saturday with a puck drop scheduled for 4:07 p.m. CST.
“Tomorrow night, if we can start the game and stick to the game plan —- we know they’re more talented, we know they’re faster,” Miller said. “We know all of that, so you’ve got to have a good plan. You’ve got to stick to the plan.”