Saturday the Minnesota Gophers took to the road to play the St. Cloud State Huskies at the Herb brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud. This was the start of the second home and away series with St. Cloud for the Gophers this year and they aimed to make it a sweep like they had the first, though it had been a tight battle. Unsurprisingly, that lead to Minnesota putting Alex Gulstene in goal, while St. Cloud went with Emma Polusny.
Early in the period Alex Woken took an interference penalty at 1:36 for hacking at the stick in Emma Bigham’s hands. On the penalty kill Kelly Pannek had a breakaway and hit the pipe, which bounced the puck back onto her stick, and she scored shorthanded with her own rebound at 2:32 unassisted. Once Gophers were back to full strength they rained down shots and rarely allowed the Huskies even a single shot. This lasted until Julia Tylke was hooked by Katie Robinson during a breakaway, Gulstene made the initial save, and was rewarded a penalty shot at 13:21. Tylke took the shot, which resulted in another Gulstene save. Empowered by the penalty shot results, Minnesota continued to dominate for the rest of the period.
Second period started with the Huskies making a few shot attempts then the Gophers were on the attack. Polusny accidentally put the puck into her own goal, but it happened after the ref whistled play down, which kept the Gophers from increasing their lead. Still this pushed Minnesota into a solid flurry, though they couldn’t find the back of the net. Eventually a bad Minnesota turnover in the high slot resulted in a Brooke Kudirka goal at 12:29, tying the game. Rachel Herzog knocked Woken to the ice and went to the box for interference at 16:07, but the Gophers couldn’t convert on the power play, despite a large number of shots including a beauty by Crystalyn Hengler.
At 1:48 of the third period Taylor Wemple shot from the top of the circle and Jenniina Nylund redirected the puck so that it flew just under the crossbar into goal, putting the Huskies into the lead. Woken immediately had a breakaway attempt, but got denied. Minnesota hammered away at Polusny for a long while and eventually Abigail Boreen scored her first collegiate goal at 11:08. Emily Brown had the lone assist. This was followed up by a Sarah Potomak goal at 14:15, assisted by Pannek and Brown.
Then Brown took a tripping penalty at 16:36 and St. Cloud immediately used their timeout. Just as Brown’s penalty expired, but before she was out of the box, the Husky flurry also ended when Hannah Potrykus banged home the puck on an extra attacker goal at 18:38. Nylund and Abby Thiessen assisted. Taylor Wente nearly scored off her teammate’s pass, but Polusny made the save, pushing the game into overtime.
Both teams looked dangerous in overtime. Amy Potomak nearly scored, but hit the post. Instead, it was Taylor Heise who ended the game by slipping the puck just inside the net at 2:57. Woken and Patti Marshall assisted on the game winning goal. Despite their best efforts, St. Cloud lost to Minnesota 4-3 in OT after being outshot 47-18. Gophers look to finish the sweep at Ridder Arena tomorrow at 2:00 pm.