Junior Amanda Kessel ignited the University of Minnesota women's hockey team just 24 seconds into the game as the Golden Gophers skated to a 6-3 triumph. Kessel netted four goals in the game and tallied her third hat trick of the season and eighth of her career.
Minnesota continued to put pressure on North Dakota after taking the 1-0 lead as freshman Hannah Brandt lit the lamp 10:57 into the first period. Kessel and Meghan Lorence receive assists on the goal.
The 2-0 lead was carried over into the second period, which saw another pair of goals from the Maroon & Gold.
Junior Kelly Terry ricocheted a shot off the UND goaltender's pads to put Minnesota up 3-0 8:07 into the second period, and Kessel notched her second goal of the game with under two minutes left in the period on a Gopher power play.
Kessel's hat trick came just 3:21 into the third period as she stole the puck from a UND defenseman behind the opponent's goal and slipped it under the goalie. The Madison, Wis. native's goal makes it two-straight games with recording a hat trick since she did so in the final game of 2012 against Bemidji State (Dec. 8).
Despite trailing 5-0, North Dakota didn't lie down and tallied three goals in the final seven minutes. Sandwiched in between those goals was Kessel's fourth goal of the game, which came at 17:34.
For the first time this season, the Gophers were outshot with UND putting 35 shots on net to the Maroon & Gold's 25, which is a season low.
The win continues Minnesota's NCAA record winning streak with 29 straight. UND is the last team to defeat the Maroon & Gold, which happened on Feb. 17, 2012.
The two WCHA rivals face-off again tomorrow night as the Gophers look to sweep North Dakota for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Puck drop is slated for 4 p.m.