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Gopher Women’s Hockey Hounds St. Cloud Huskies

Minnesota beat St. Cloud State 2-1 Friday and 5-0 Saturday.

Christa Moody (St. Cloud) swipes at Caitlin Reilly’s (Minnesota) stick for the puck at Ridder Arena during the  Oct 27th, 2016 game.
Christa Moody swipes at Caitlin Reilly’s stick for the puck.
Cat Lenander

A much-depleted Minnesota team visited St. Cloud this weekend. Joining Dani Cameranesi and Alex Woken on the injury list were Kate Schipper and Cara Piazza, who were injured during the Ohio State series. Then Emma May was scratched due to illness. However, May wasn’t the only sick goaltender, as St. Cloud’s Janine Alder and Taylor Crosby, were also out with illness.

This left senior goaltender Madeleine Dahl, record of 0-1, starting in her third game for St. Cloud State against Minnesota’s Sidney Peters Friday night. Shortly after the game started Christa Moody collided with Nicole Schammel and lost her helmet, which caused a brief pause in play. Then Sydney Baldwin took a checking penalty for downing Janna Haeg in the corner. On the penalty kill Megan Wolfe handed the puck off to Kelly Pannek and she carried it up to St. Cloud’s backboards. Pannek fed the puck to Kippin Keller between the circles, who then put it in goal, high on the glove side, at 4:06, thus making her first collegiate goal a shorthanded goal.

After that the Gophers kept the puck mostly in the Huskies zone, but they couldn’t keep the puck on their sticks—which would be a problem throughout the game—and only made a few shots. Their best chance to score again happened when Dahl came out of the crease 40 feet to corral the puck and accidentally turned it over, but Minnesota’s shot went wide. Payge Pena put a hard shot on goal, which ricocheted off Peters’ stick straight to Hannah Potrykus, but the rebound was so fast couldn’t react. Then Katie Robinson took a tripping penalty, which harmlessly expired twenty seconds into second period.

Minnesota was on the attack again second period. Kayla Friesen checked Williamson from behind and went to the box for cross-checking at 1:36. They made some good attempts, but the Gophers’ power play continued to flounder as it has for the last few weekends and they were unable to convert. Perhaps more impressively, the Huskies continued to foil Minnesota’s shot attempts and generally kept the game stymied despite using their third goaltender. Still, Dahl impressively dove for the puck and knocked it back to neutral ice off a Gopher’s stick. St. Cloud had been winning faceoffs left and right all night, especially when Friesen took them. So it was unsurprising when Friesen won the draw in Minnesota’s left circle, but then she knocked it to Pena at the top of the circle, and she scored, high on Peters’s glove side at 7:31.

This put the Huskies on the attack and they buzzed around for a while, though they didn’t make many shots. Caitlin Reilly was grabbed without call. Then Potrykus hooked Robinson down, which earned her a penalty at 12:10. St. Cloud killed it. Things were not clicking for the Gophers—perhaps it was St. Cloud’s international sized ice sheet affecting them, because their passing angles were wrecking havoc on their play and nothing the Gophers did seemed to reach the crease. Near the end of the period after an excellent attempt by Pannek, Sarah Potomak, and Kelsey Cline, Cline knocked the puck into goal well after the whistle. This move didn’t start any issues on the ice, but it was a clear sign about how frustrated Minnesota was, as at the period’s end they had been held to only 13 shots in a 1-1 tie game.

Kelsey Saelens nearly scored off a bad turnover right after third period started. The Huskies kept knocking puck off Gopher sticks. However, they couldn’t manage to steal it from Megan Wolfe as she carried the puck off the backboards, passed it to Nicole Schammel high in the slot, and she scored at 7:29. Lee Stecklein had the second assist. This goal sent Minnesota buzzing and they made multiple similar shots in hopes of replication. Sydney Baldwin took an interference penalty at 11:27, which harmlessly expired two minutes later.

Then Schammel set up Sophie Skarzynski and Lindsay Agnew for a wonderful series of chances, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. Pena made a wraparound attempt on Peters, which was blocked. Minnesota used their timeout at 17:14 after icing the puck and Dahl was pulled at 18:44, but the score remained the same. Huskies impressively kept Minnesota to just 24 shots—the lowest all season and only the third time they made less than 30 shots in a game—but the Gophers still won 2-1.

Saturday saw the same goalies in goal. Today the Gophers came out shooting and stayed on the attack for several minutes. When Julia Tylke finally got a shot off for St. Cloud, she was immediately dinged for tripping at 5:11. The Huskies killed the penalty by repeatedly blocking shots, but that didn’t deter the Gophers continued to dominate on shots and possession long after the power play expired. Moody and Friesen managed to shoot on Peters, which she blocked, but then the Minnesota attack resumed and continued for almost the rest of the period. The Gophers put 18 shots on goal to the Huskies’ 4, but first period ended scoreless.

The teams traded shots to start second period. Potomak scored off the rebound, tipping the puck into goal from just outside the crease, with an assist from Pannek at 5:02. Minnesota continued hammering away at Dahl, despite the Huskies’ best efforts. Eventually Stecklein brought the puck to the net, shot, Dahl deflected, but at 7:47Williamson scored with a backhander on the rebound. Since Potomak got the first assist, she must have touched it at some point as well. Keller took a hooking penalty at 8:20. St. Cloud puts some shots on Peters, but near the end of their power play Lauren Hespenheide hooked Pannek, tripping her on a breakaway. This resulted in a penalty shot at 10:00, which Dahl denies, before the penalty continues and expires.

Back at full strength the Gophers resume their assault. Stecklein feeds the puck to Reilly on the right side; she carries it up and passes to Schammel, who scores top shelf at 11:58. The Maroon and Gold Machine grinds away at St. Cloud, putting shots on goal, and mostly hitting Huskies, for the rest of the period. The best chance for another goal came when Tianna Gunderson had the puck and an open net, but she missed and Dahl made the save. By the time second period ended Minnesota had put an additional 21 shots on goal for a total count of 39-9 and were up by three. The team was finally clicking like they had before the break and the run of injuries.

After being intercepted a Husky on neutral ice, Stecklein got the puck and shot a wrister from between the blue line and the top of the left circle, beating a screened Dahl on the glove side at 2:11. Skarzynski and Schammel had the assists. A few minutes later, Reilly shot from the side of the net, and Gunderson redeemed herself by scoring her first collegiate goal on the rebound at 6:07. Anna Barlow had the second assists, which was also her first point of the season. Minnesota’s lines were shuffled after that and the lower lines were played more for the experience and ice time. This allows St. Cloud to fight back and put a few shots on Peters despite the Minnesota dominance. Pena earns a tripping penalty at 12:34 and the Huskies block a lot of shots until they successfully killed it. When the final buzzer sounded shots were 55-12 in Minnesota’s favor and the Gophers won 5-0, earning Peters’ her sixth career shutout.