It seemed the ice was especially slippery at Ridder Arena Saturday afternoon as Minnesota and St. Cloud started the game by repeatedly falling down all over the rink. The falls continued throughout the rest of the game, though later that seemed to be more due to other skaters’ assistance. The Huskies did a much better job getting the Gophers away from their goaltender, Janine Alder, first period and even pushed into Minnesota’s zone fairly regularly to attempt shots on Alex Gulstene. Minnesota’s shots came closer to scoring though, like when Alex Woken redirected Katie Robinson’s point shot and it went just wide of the goal. Still Gophers seemed to have some issues recognizing where their teammates were on the ice as Woken then accidentally ran Robinson over while chasing the puck across the rink and a Husky had to stuck around to ensure that Robinson was able to get up and off the ice.
Grace Zumwinkle flew down the left side into Husky territory and just as she was preparing for a shot, Taylor Wemple hauled them both down to the ice. This sent Wemple to sit for holding at 9:05 and on the resulting power play, Minnesota created chaos and Taylor Wente nearly scored on an open backdoor, but hit the netting instead. As soon as the penalty expired Zumwinkle nearly scored with a slapper from the blue line, but the shot went wide, and then Sophie Skarzynki made a great attempt that ended with her crashing the net. Olivia Knowles took a checking penalty at 14:52, but it harmlessly expired two minutes later. Hannah Bates had a solid shot down the center, which Gulstene blocked, and then Patti Marshall had a right point shot that went right into Alder’s glove.
Second period started with Marshall and Dana Rasmussen crashing into Minnesota’s backboards and then a lot of puck chasing from end to end of the ice. There was a massive mess at St. Cloud’s crease with half the players prone on the ice, but the Huskies eventually cleared the puck. Then Minnesota had the puck sliding through their crease, which sent Gulstene slide back and forth from pipe to pipe as St. Cloud had a flurry of their own. A little later Janna Haeg zipped down the right side, passed to Wemple, and Wemple fired into Gulstene’s central mass. It was almost a surprise when Sydney Baldwin swooped through St. Cloud’s zone and banged the puck home, unassisted, from the right side at 12:55 to put Minnesota on the board. A few minutes later the Gophers got caught with too many players on the ice, which Tianna Gunderson served for the team, at 16:21. Minnesota killed it and then carried their one goal lead into second intermission.
Third period began with more Minnesota puck cycling and making shots that went wide. Zumwinkle had another near tip in that Alder stopped. A little later Kippin Keller made a snap pass from the left side to Emily Brown, who was just in front of the crease, and Brown smacked the puck so that it went into goal just under the crossbar, earning her first collegiate goal at 6:04. Zumwinkle had the second assist. Then Nicole Schammel soared down the left side, faked out Alder, and got her stick around the goaltender to tap the puck into the back of the net at 8:40. Baldwin had the lone assist.
Gopher fans were riding high, as it seemed Minnesota was about to crack St. Cloud wide open, which was when Emma Bigham scored for the Huskies at 10:43. Julia Tylke and Brittney Anderson assisted. Minnesota showcased some nice passing as they tried to line up some shots. Keller came in for a shot of her own and Wemple took her down—earning a hooking penalty—but Keller kept battling Alder for the puck as she was sat on, got out from under Wemple and back onto her skates, then was slammed into the backboards, which finally started the penalty at 13:04. The penalty ended when Zumwinkle made a shot from the right circle and Schammel tipped it in on the back door as Caitlin Reilly screened the play. Wente had the second assist on this power play goal, which came at 14:58.
In the last two minutes of the game the wheels seemed to come off for Minnesota. The Huskies were rabid in Minnesota’s zone. They didn’t stop puck cycling until Alyssa Erickson’s shot landed the puck in bottom right corner of the net at 18:43. Emma Turbyville assisted on the goal. Then St. Cloud pulled Alder before play could resume. With the extra skater there was so much chaos in Minnesota’s zone that Laura Kluge’s shot from the right side, which came right after a back pass by Abby Thiessen, beat Gulstene, putting the Huskies within one at 19:42. Minnesota immediately used their timeout, locked down their defense, and limped out of the game with their win intact. The Huskies can be proud of how they played, but the Gophers finished on top, winning 4-3 and exiting the series with all the points.
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