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Open the Floodgates: Gophers Drown Lakers

Minnesota women’s hockey team completes the Mercyhurst sweep, beating them 5-3.

Minnesota warming up at Ridder before a game. Cat Lenander

Saturday afternoon Minnesota finished their series against Mercyhurst at the Mercyhurst Ice Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. Mercyhurst kept Sarah McDonnell in goal, while Minnesota switched to Sidney Peters. The Lakers continued with the same steam they had yesterday, got a few shots on goal, and blocked all of Minnesota’s shots for the first nine minutes of the game. Unlike the day before, the referees let both teams play rough from the start, which included letting checks go uncalled. Jackie Pieper was the first Gopher to put a shot on goal, a rebound off a Tianna Gunderson attempt. After that Minnesota was finally able to start getting shots on goal with Kippin Keller making some great chances in the Mercyhurst crease.

Caitlin Reilly went to the box for checking Molly Blasen at 11:41. Alex Woken had a breakaway and nearly scored on the penalty and then Brooke Hartwick nearly scored at the opposite end of the ice. Then Summer-Rae Dobson slashed Peters, which turned it into four-on-four play at 12:42—though it took a little while for it to start, as the scoreboard operator had some issues getting the penalties in their correct places on the scoreboard. Both penalties expired harmlessly. Then Reilly got the puck to Nicole Schammel, who made a bouncing spin shot that hit Taylor Wente’s back, and the puck went into goal at 15:43. Goal went under review, but was declared good.

Samantha Fieseler downed Cara Piazza, which wasn’t called, but then Olivia Knowles was called for interference at 16:42. Maggie Knott took down Wente and was called for checking. However, before Mercyhurst could touch the puck, Katie Robinson made a slap shot and scored a shorthanded goal at 17:09. Reilly had the lone assist. Once teams were both back to full strength, Sophie Skarzynski passed to Woken for the tip in at 19:10. Sydney Baldwin had the second assist. Despite the slow start, the Gophers finished the period leading 10-9 in shots and outscoring the Lakers 3-0.

Second period Mercyhurst replaced McDonnell in goal with Kennedy Blair. The period started with a lot of players on both sides getting knocked down as Minnesota tried to clear their zone. After a little back and forth a roughing penalty was called on Peters at 1:38—Schammel served it in her place. Before killing the penalty, Piazza had a breakaway down the side and scored the second shorthanded goal of the game at 2:16. Woken and Peters assisted. Sierra Smith charged in with an attempt to score, but Blair covered before she could reach it. Then Sarah Hine earned an interference penalty at 4:38 for hauling a Gopher down. Minnesota got some puck cycling going, but couldn’t convert.

Seven minutes in the Minnesota net came off its moorings. Then Reilly tried to jam the puck into goal past Blair and got knocked down. The Gophers continued buzzing around the Mercyhurst zone until Blair covered up the puck. The Lakers got a few attempts of their own in, which ended with the puck going over the glass. Emily Brown took a penalty for roughing Celine Frappier at 10:24. Peters had to slide across the crease to block a Frappier shot and killed the penalty. However, just as Brown stepped on the ice, Sam Isbell scored at 12:26. Frappier and Morgan Stacey assisted. Gophers went back on the attack and made some great attempts on goal. Patti Marshall went for cross-checking at 16:35, which was ameliorated by Dobson going for holding off the next faceoff at 16:43, opening the ice again. Both teams made some solid shots, neither scored. In the final minute a small scuffle broke out after Blair stopped a Baldwin shot, highlighting the rough play.

Play went end to end to start third period, but only Mercyhurst was getting off shots. This cumulated in Knott scoring on Peters’s stick side at 2:24 from between the circles after getting knocked down and carrying it there from the boards. Jennifer Macaskill took a holding penalty for tossing Marshall on the ice at 3:53. Minnesota made a few shots then Skarzynski earned a slashing penalty at 4:38. The penalties expired harmlessly. As soon as Skarzynski was out of the box she stole the puck and hit the crossbar.

Grace Zumwinkle had her skates taken out and a couple minutes later Knott cross-checked Reilly, neither of which were called. Both teams continued to make the goaltenders work as they fired off shots and this went on for half the period. The Lakers pulled their goalie at 17:24 for the extra skater, which allowed Zumwinkle an empty netter off a loose puck at 17:47. The rest of the game was spent in the Minnesota zone with Peters fending off shots and Mercyhurst couldn’t find the back of the net again. Minnesota finished the sweep, beating Mercyhurst 5-2.