Friday night the Gophers played the Mavericks at the Verizon Center in Mankato. From puck drop Minnesota made a point of piling shots on goaltender Chloe Crosby, though Sidney Peters had to stay alert at the other end of the ice as the Mavericks spent a fair amount of the period near her. Crosby made a rather large save for her team as she had to butterfly down for a block and then slide across the crease to keep the rebound from going in as well. Cara Piazza drew a tripping penalty on Lindsey Coleman at 12:53. Minnesota made some great plays as the cycled the puck around Mankato’s zone, though the penalty harmlessly expired two minutes later.
Right after going back to full strength, Maverick Sara Bustad flew down the right side, passed to Jordan McLaughlin and nearly scored on Peters, but she kept the puck out. During that play Caitlin Reilly also earned a double minor for high sticking at 15:52 near the Minnesota crease. However, Mantako was unable to make a single direction shot on goal during power play and the period ended scoreless, with Minnesota leading 12-3 in shots.
Just 1:22 into the second period Grace Zumwinkle scored. Piazza and Kippin Keller had the assists. Minnesota didn’t let up, which turned into another goal by Piazza at 3:16. This time Zumwinkle and Keller had the assists. Then Corbin Boyd took a faceoff interference penalty at 4:45. It ended at 6:08 when Sydney Baldwin fired from between the circles into goal on Crosby’s stick side. Sophie Skarzynski and Olivia Knowles assisted. Reilly went to the box for checking Anna Keys along the boards at 8:47. Brittyn Fleming made a fantastic shot on goal, but Peters just barely blocked a shot with a quick toe save and killed the penalty.
Hannah Davidson took a hooking penalty at 12:02. A bit of passing around the zone, then Taylor Wente passed to Zumwinkle in the right circle, who gave it to Nicole Schammel between the circles, and she knocked it home at 12:45, ending the power play. A couple minutes later Piazza earned a hooking penalty at 14:30. Peters killed the penalty with her impression of a brick wall with a strong assist from the team in front of her. The rest of the period was fairly quiet, with each team recording one more shot so that the period ended with shots 23-14 in Minnesota’s favor along with the score.
Minnesota started third period by making some chances. Then Amanda Conway had a good shot, but Peters sent it wide. The start of the period was spent racing back and forth across the ice with comparatively few shots on goal by Minnesota. At 5:39 Sierra Smith scored, assisted by Jackie Pieper and Emily Brown, from close to the goal with a low shot from the right side. Then Keys had to sit for checking Reilly into the boards at 6:04. The Gophers did a fair amount of puck cycling, but couldn’t convert. Boyd had a great chance on goal after coming down the left side, which ended in Peters swatting the puck away. Rebekah Kolstad earned an interference penalty for tossing Emily Brown into Minnesota’s net and accidentally punching Peters in the face at 10:45. Mankato killed the penalty.
Play roughened as the clock ran down and several players hit the ice without any call. Reilly nearly scored with a wraparound attempt. Shoving broke out at MSU’s crease when Skarzynski shoved Jessica Kondas into the net and ultimately resulted in a Skarzynski checking penalty at 15:29. The Mavericks got some puck cycling going, though nothing crossed the goal line. A bit of wild passing around the Minnesota resulted in a pass from Bustad at the backboards to Boyd, who drove it home from between the circles at 17:45. Emma Wittchow had the second assist. Moments later Zumwinkle carried it into Mankato’s zone and made a lateral pass to Keller for the backdoor tip in at 17:56. Piazza had the second assist. Mankato continued to press in the last minutes of the game, but couldn’t find the back of the net again. The game ended with the Gophers outscoring the Mavericks 6-1, shots 32-24, also in their favor.
Saturday the series resumed with both teams switching goaltenders, Alex Gulstene in net for Minnesota and Katie Bidulka for Minnesota State. After spending a fair amount of the opening minutes in MSU’s zone, Zumwinkle made a lateral pass from the right circle to Piazza on the doorstep for the goal at 4:45. Megan Hinze took a Zumwinkle shoulder to the head, went down, and stayed down for a while even after the whistle. Trainer called for additional help, but she was able to eventually get up and skate off the ice under her own power. Robinson pulled down Fleming, which got her sent to the box for holding at 10:03. On the power play, the McLaughlin put the puck on Gulstene at the doorstep and then Coleman caught the rebound at the left corner of the crease and knocked it past Gulstene’s leg into goal at 10:44. Jordan Jackson had the second assist on this tying power play goal.
Piazza came crashing into the Mankato crease after trying to skate between two defenders and they took her down. This turned into a hooking penalty against Keys, which started at 14:12, and ended two minutes later. Minnesota continued pressing MSU for a goal and spent the rest of the period on the offense. In the dying seconds of the period there was a mess in the crease with two defenders and Bidulka down on the ice. This allowed Wente to toss the puck over the bodies into the back of the net from just to the left of the crease at 19:42. Patti Marshall and Reilly had the assists. With that last minute goal Minnesota went into the locker room leading 2-1 and outshooting MSU 10-3.
Second period started with both teams putting a couple of shots on goal. Then McKenzie Sederberg took an interference penalty at 2:36. The Gophers kept moving, but didn’t create any solid chances on the power play. Baldwin helped Bustad to the ice and went to the box for checking at 5:59. This penalty was killed as well. Fleming earned a slashing penalty at 10:40. Just after it started Reilly came into the crease and the puck bounced off her into the net at 11:03 as she hit Bidulka, knocking her to the ice. The play went under review and was declared no goal due to goaltender interference. Bustad and Kolstad made a pretty play, but Gulstene blocked the shot.
Alex Woken’s far shot hit Bidulka’s leg, but then Agnew swooped in and put the rebound into goal at 14:22. Skarzynski had the second assist. Right after that Conway tripped Reilly just after and Kondas took out a Gopher, which put Kondas to the box after a noticeably delayed checking penalty at 15:22. Minnesota had some stellar chances on goal, but the Mavericks kept the puck out, and eventually killed the penalty. Gophers spent the rest of the period in Mankato’s zone and Bidulka had just gloved the puck when the buzzer sounded.
Shortly after puck drop a Gopher caught on the Minnesota net and accidentally pulled it off its moorings as she crashed into the backboards. There were a few minutes of back and forth. Piazza and Wittchow engaged in a little physicality, without call, then the teams went back to puck chasing. Mess at the Minnesota net with the puck loose after the initial save, but Gulstene eventually covered up. Boyd won her first faceoff of the game, then Bustad tossed the puck to Davidson between the circles and she deflected the puck into goal at 9:26. Wente then carried the puck into MSU’s zone on the left side and made a lateral pass to Schammel for the tip in on the right side at 12:12. Reilly had the second assist.
Brown knocked a Maverick down in a corner and just after that Minnesota scored again. This time from Skarzynski, assisted by Woken and Baldwin, at 14:03. Minnesota used their timeout at 15:19 after icing the puck. Mavericks spent this period catching up on shots, making 12 of their 21 game total in this period alone. Gophers had a couple more great chances and puck cycled through Mankto’s zone. Then Wente and Coleman both went to the box for slashing at 18:03, ending the game in four-on-four play. Despite the open ice, neither team scored, so Minnesota won 5-2, completing their third in a row road sweep.