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Gophers Finish Final Ridder Regular Season Game with Overtime Win

Minnesota celebrates their seniors during their final home game of the season with a tightly contested 3-2OT win over Minnesota State.

Cat Lenander

Saturday afternoon the Gophers hosted the Mavericks at Ridder Arena for their final home game of the season. Before the match began Minnesota honored their eight seniors—Tianna Gunderson, Emma May, Kelly Pannek, Jackie Pieper, Nicole Schammel, Sophie Skarzynski, Sierra Smith, and Taylor Williamson—on the ice. Sadly, that was the only time May took to the ice, as Sydney Scobee started in goal for Minnesota and proved essential between the pipes. Minnesota State again started Abigail Levy.

Skarzynski made the first shot of the game just 34 seconds in, which Levy stopped cold. However, the Gophers weren’t getting anywhere near as many shots as they’d like on goal, as the Mavericks were playing physically and doing their best to push their opponents off their game. That didn’t stop Taylor Wente from passing to Schammel as she reached the left circle to score top shelf at 3:24. Before the goal was even announced it looked like Schammel slid the puck under Levy into goal again, but the puck didn’t cross the goal line.

Both teams got some nice chances. Throughout the entire game Minnesota kept setting up these stellar plays, but couldn’t finish the follow through to actually score. Once such example of this was when Alex Woken wrapped around MSU’s net and passed into the crease so that Williamson could bang it home, but they couldn’t connect. On and off the Gophers seemed to have real issues keeping the puck on their sticks, which the Mavericks took advantage of by forcing them out of their zone at every chance.

At 15:32 Emily Brown went for holding. During the power play Brooke Bryant made a lateral pass to Rebekah Kolstad in the left circle and she scored at 16:23 with the puck hitting the crossbar as it made its way to the back of the net. Soon after Anna Wilgren nearly put the Mavericks in the lead, but her shot hit the pipe instead. Emily Antony took a slashing penalty at 18:23 and Minnesota made many strong attempts on goal, but MSU killed the penalty early second period.

Amy Potomak took a checking penalty at 1:24 and the Gophers easily killed the penalty by keeping the Mavericks out of their zone. Amy Potomak then flew down the right side and made a shot that looked like it went in from the stands, but actually went wide. Then Kolstad had a shot that flew up after it hit Scobee and fell into the crease, but Scobee managed to cover it before an incoming Maverick crashed into the net and knocked it off its moorings. Scobee wasn’t so lucky when Bryant’s shot bounced off Skarzynski and, though it was going slow enough for her to swat at it, slipped past the goaltender at 7:58.

The teams traded shots for a while as the Gophers pushed hard to try and retie the game. Mavericks weren’t about to let them and instead pushed to widen the gap. During one such attempt Scobee had to make a sliding toe save on an Antony shot during a short Maverick flurry. Pannek also made a solid attempt from just left of the Levy’s crease after carrying the puck from her own zone, but got denied. That play kicked off absolute chaos in MSU’s zone with the Gophers whirling around as fast as they could, but no one could get a shot directly on goal and Levy eventually killed the play. Near the end of the period Tristen Truax hooked Amy Potomak, which sent her and Jordan McLaughlin tumbling into the boards. Truax received her penalty at 19:05, but Amy Potomak got a minor as well and she was not happy about the holding charge.

Third period started with 4-on-4 play. Then Jordan Jackson checked Pannek in front of the penalty box and wound up on the other side of the Plexiglas at 1:03. Minnesota immediately used their timeout to ensure they had a solid game plan, as this was their best chance to tie the game and with a two-skater advantage they made a lot of shots, but allowed both penalties to harmlessly expire. In the first half of this period the Gophers finally and dramatically pulled ahead in shots as they simply piled them on, refusing to allow Minnesota State puck possession. Eventually their hard work had Levy down on the ice after a save and before she could get back in position Sarah Potomak knocked the puck into goal at 10:40, retying the game. Amy Potomak and Brown had the assists, but it was a full team effort.

Minnesota didn’t let up, but MSU didn’t let them get another goal in regulation. On the other hand, the Mavericks could not convert again either—not even during the tripping penalty Emily Oden took at 15:32. When regulation ended the scoreboard still said 2-2, which of course meant a little free hockey.

Once overtime began Minnesota swarmed Levy. It was a nonstop assault as they desperately pushed to overcome the Mavericks, refusing to allow them any respite. Then Amy Potomak zoomed along the left side and shot into Levy, but the goaltender didn’t cover the puck, which allowed Wente to bang home the rebound at 1:27, winning the game. Minnesota came back to beat Minnesota State 3-2 in overtime after outshooting them 41-24.