No. 3 Minnesota earned a series sweep over No. 4 Minnesota Duluth as the Gophers won 3-2 at Ridder Arena. The Gophers move to 10-2-0 on the season and 8-2-0 in WCHA games while Duluth falls to 4-5-1 overall and 1-4-1 in conference action.
Minnesota took the lead early, getting a goal from senior Jen Schoullis just 52 seconds into the game, with an assist by Amanda Kessel. The goal was the fastest by Minnesota this season. The Gophers added a second goal when Kessel scored, unassisted, with just under two minutes remaining in the period. Minnesota outshot Duluth 13-8 in the first period, and the game was closer than the score indicated. Minnesota's goalie, Noora Raty, made some important saves to hold the Bulldogs scoreless.
The Gophers were shorthanded early in the second period as Sarah Erickson went to the penalty box for interference just four seconds into play. Duluth capitalized, scoring to narrow Minnesota's lead to one goal as Erickson's penalty expired. Bridgette Lacquette tallied the goal for the Bulldogs to bring the score to 2-1. Minnesota responded with a goal by Erickson three minutes and 24 seconds later, giving the Gophers a 3-1 lead. Kessel got her second assist of the night on Erickson's goal. Minnesota gave Duluth two power play opportunities in the remainder of the period, but the Bulldogs couldn't convert and the period ended at 3-1 in favor of Minnesota.
Minnesota again had a penalty early in the period, with Mira Jalosuo getting called for hooking four minutes into the period. With just 17 seconds remaining, Duluth capitalized on its one-player advantage, scoring its second power play goal of the game. Duluth brought the score back within one goal when Brienna Gillanders scored for the Bulldogs five minutes, 43 seconds into the third period. Mariia Posa and Vanessa Thibault had assists on the goal. Minnesota managed to hang on to its lead for the remainder of the game, and did not give Duluth another power play chance in the game. The Bulldogs held Minnesota scoreless in the final period, marking just the seventh scoreless period for the Gophers this season.
The Gophers held an advantage in shots in all three periods, but the Bulldogs kept it close in the final period as the tally was 11-10 in the third. For the game, the Gophers held a 33-24 advantage in shots.
The Golden Gophers have next weekend off while three members of the team travel to Sweden for the Four Nations Cup. Jen Schoullis and Amanda Kessel will represent the United States while Mira Jalosuo will play for Team Finland. The Gophers return to action Nov. 18 and 19 when they play a two-game series against New Hampshire at home.