Gopher Women Sweep Top Ranked Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. – Senior captains Rachel Ramsey (Chanhassen, Minn.) and Rachael Bona (Coon Rapids, Minn.) scored late goals and junior goaltender Amanda Leveille (Kingston, Ont.) made a career-high 40 saves to lead the No. 2 Minnesota women's hockey team to a 2-1 overtime victory and a series sweep over top-ranked Wisconsin at LaBahn Arena Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota (5-0-1, 3-0-1-0 WCHA) scored two late goals to secure the overtime win after Wisconsin (6-2-0, 4-2-0-0 WCHA) held a 1-0 lead for most of the second and third periods. Ramsey netted the game-winner in overtime after Bona tied the game with 1:28 remaining in regulation.
"Just an incredible win on the road, something that I know our players are going to cherish," head coach Brad Frost said. "To be down 1-0 with a couple minutes left and tie it up and then win it in overtime was big for this team. Coming back to win on the road against a really good team like Wisconsin was pretty special."
Leveille kept the Gophers in the game with a career-best 40 saves as Wisconsin held the advantage in shots on goal for the game, 41-35. Goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens made 33 saves for the Badgers.
The Badgers got on the board first, capitalizing on their third power-play opportunity of the game and taking a 1-0 lead when Sarah Nurse banged home a rebound off a shot by Emily Clark at 7:34 of the second period. Clark scooped up a loose puck in the slot and Leveille made the initial save, but Nurse was positioned to bury the rebound.
"The first two periods, we looked a little sluggish," Frost said. "We were losing a lot of races and battles. Credit Wisconsin, they played exceptional those first 40 minutes."
The Badgers were poised to hand the Gophers their first loss of the season, holding onto the 1-0 lead late into the third period. However, the Gopher captains rose to the challenge and led Minnesota to the series sweep after the team defeated UW, 4-1, in the first game of the series Friday night.
"We challenged our big time players between the second and third period to be a little better, and they absolutely did that," Frost said. "For Bona to get her first goal of the year and have it tie the game up was big for our team, and huge for her as well. Then with Ramsey getting the game-winner after jumping in on the rush, your big time players have to show up at big time moments, and those two did that tonight."
Bona scored her first goal of the season with 1:28 remaining in regulation to tie the game. Fellow senior Meghan Lorence (Mounds View, Minn.) and sophomore Kate Schipper (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) assisted on the game-tying power-play goal.
The teams then exchanged scoring opportunities in overtime before Ramsey netted her first goal of the year, burying a feed from sophomore Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) and junior Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) with 1:00 remaining in the extra frame.
"Overall, I'm happy with the win and three huge points," Frost said. "To get a sweep on the road against the number one team in the country is a big task for our team, and they did it. They should be really proud."
The Gophers were one-for-six on the power play as the teams combined for 13 penalties in the game. Meanwhile, Wisconsin was one-for-five with the man advantage.
Minnesota returns to Ridder Arena to host North Dakota (4-2-0, 3-1-0-0 WCHA) in a Friday-Saturday series next weekend. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. CT Friday and 4 p.m. CT Saturday. Friday is Student Night at Gopher women's hockey.