MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota converted on four of nine power-play opportunities and Amanda Leveille only had to deny 10 shots to pick up her national-best 13th shutout and third straight as the Gophers downed Minnesota-Duluth 6-0 Saturday night.
“Real, real solid win here tonight,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said. “Great opportunity to honor our seniors before the game.”
Minnesota-Duluth (13-13-6, 11-11-6-4 WCHA) played a more competitive game early, but was never able to generate much offensively.
Kate Schipper scored the only goal of the first period, just after a UMD power play came to an end. Seconds after Rachael Bona missed the net on a two-on-one break with Sarah Davis, Bona collected the puck behind the net and fed Schipper coming down the slot for her sixth goal of her rookie season.
The Gophers (32-1-1, 26-1-1-0 WCHA) added three power-play goals in the second period. Rachel Ramsey scored on a bomb from the point, Maryanne Menefee converted while skating five-on-three and Milica McMillen hammered a shot from the blue line.
“The points were wide-open,” Ramsey said. “It’s really fun for games like this for us to get some shots through. Everyone did an absolutely fantastic job of actually getting pucks through and getting it to the net, so that was good to see.”
The fourth goal came just nine seconds after Megahan Huertas was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct. Minnesota’s Megan Wolfe was dismissed for the same infraction in the third period.
Minnesota completed the scoring in the final stanza with a transition goal by Jordyn Burns and Dani Cameranesi depositing a rebound off of the end boards.
For the game, Hannah Brandt had three assists, Ramsey had a pair of helpers with her goal and Cameranesi and Kelly Terry had two-point games.
“I think that we have another notch that we can push a little bit further here,” Ramsey said. “I think we’re really excited to see exactly what that is once playoffs start next weekend, but this is the best we’ve played so far.”
The Gophers have won 12 straight and are undefeated in their last 20 games.
“Duluth is always a good opponent,” Minnesota senior captain Bethany Brausen said. “As you can see, they’re probably just about the most physical team we’ve played all year. They’ve got some talented girls on that team as well. They bring a lot to the table, obviously, and I think that’s a great series going into playoffs here.”
The Gophers will host St. Cloud State in a best-of-three series beginning Friday, while the Bulldogs entertain Ohio State.
“Looking forward to playoffs here,” Frost said. “It’s a fun time of year.”