Hockey: Gophers Sweep St. Lawrence
MINNEAPOLIS – The No. 2 Minnesota women's hockey team broke open a one-goal game with three tallies in the third period to earn a 5-1 win and secure a non-conference series sweep over St. Lawrence at Ridder Arena Tuesday night.
Minnesota (18-1-2, 11-1-2-0 WCHA) was led by senior Rachael Bona (Coon Rapids, Minn.), who had three points on two goals and one assist. Senior Meghan Lorence (Mounds View, Minn.) and sophomores Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) and Lee Stecklein(Roseville, Minn.) each had two assists in the win as well.
The Gophers scored one goal in each of the first two periods before St. Lawrence made it 2-1 early in the third period. Junior Maryanne Menefee (Lansing, Mich.) scored once and Bona scored twice in the final 7:59 of the game to seal the win.
"Obviously it was a much different game tonight than Sunday, and we knew it would be," head coach Brad Frost said. "We knew St. Lawrence was too good to roll over. They came out with a lot more passion, pride and heart, and we didn't.
"St. Lawrence really carried the play for stretches of the game. When we got pushed and they cut it to 2-1, I thought we really picked it up and put the game away but it took way too long to get that momentum going. It's a good win obviously, but we need to be better, particularly this coming weekend."
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead at 2:47 of the first period on freshman Kelly Pannek's (Plymouth, Minn.) fourth goal of the series when the rookie buried a feed from Bona and Lorence. Junior Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) then scored her WCHA-best 18th goal of the season in the final minute of the second period to make it 2-0 after two.
St. Lawrence (9-7-2, 5-3-1 ECAC) got on the board with a goal by Brooke Webster 2:45 into the third period, cutting the Gophers' lead to one and ending a shutout streak of 223:03 stretched over five games for Minnesota. The late goals from Menefee and Bona sealed the Gophers' 18th win of the season.
Minnesota held St. Lawrence scoreless on four power play opportunities, including 1:10 of a 5-on-3 advantage for the visitors in the first period. Meanwhile, the Gophers were 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
Junior Amanda Leveille (Kingston, Ont.) made 21 saves on 22 shots, and SLU received 38 saves from Brooke Wolejko as the Gophers outshot the Saints, 43-22.
With the win, Minnesota closes out regular-season non-conference play with a perfect 7-0 mark, including a non-conference meeting with St. Cloud State. The Gophers are perfect in regular-season non-conference games dating back to scoreless tie at Harvard on Dec. 5, 2009.
Pannek (4g-2a) and Bona (5g-1a) each finished the series with six points, and Pannek takes a team-best seven-game point streak into this weekend's series against Wisconsin.
The Gophers resume WCHA action when they host the No. 3 Badgers (17-2-1, 13-2-1-0 WCHA) this Saturday and Sunday. The border rivals face off at 4:30 p.m. CT Saturday and 2 p.m. CT Sunday.