MINNEAPOLIS - The No. 1 Minnesota women's hockey team skated to a 6-0 win over the Japan National Team in its first exhibition game of the season at Ridder Arena Thursday night.
Junior forward Meghan Lorence (Mounds View, Minn.) led the Gophers with three points on two goals, including the game-winner, and one assist. Seniors Bethany Brausen (Little Canada, Minn.) and Kelly Terry (Whitby, Ont.) each posted two points, and sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille (Kingston, Ont.) made 13 saves in the shutout win.
"Obviously with this being a new team and a new year, everybody was ready to go, even though we didn't get a whole lot of practices in before," head coach Brad Frost said. "We need all the exhibition games and practice games we can get with a young team. Last year it wasn't as important with a veteran group, but with all of our freshmen this year, it gives us a chance to put them in different spots."
Eight Gophers recorded points in the exhibition victory as Minnesota outshot Japan, 43-13.
Lorence tallied the game-winner just 5:23 into the first period, burying a shot off a feed from senior Sarah Davis (Paradise, N.L.). The Gophers took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission despite outshooting Japan 12-0 in the opening frame.
Minnesota tallied three goals in the second period as sophomore Milica McMillen (St. Paul, Minn.), freshman Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) and junior Rachael Bona (Coon Rapids, Minn.) found the back of the net.
Terry scored off a feed from Brausen at the 2:20 mark of the third period to extend Minnesota's lead to 5-0 before Lorence tallied her second of the game to make it 6-0 with 3:59 to play.
Minnesota went 0-for-6 on the power play while holding Japan scoreless on three power-play attempts.
At the end of regulation, the teams played a five-minute overtime session of four-on-four hockey, followed by a shootout. There was no scoring in the overtime session, and Minnesota won the shootout, 2-1, with goals by sophomore Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) and freshman Kate Schipper (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)
"Four-on-four and shootouts are always nice for us because we'll probably face some of those situations throughout the year," Frost said. "Overall, it was a good start to the year."
Leveille's 13 saves included eight in the third period. Japan's Nana Fujimoto recorded 27 saves in relief.
The Gophers host the University of British Columbia in their second and final exhibition outing tomorrow night. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at Ridder Arena. Minnesota opens the regular season on the road at Colgate Oct. 4-5 before returning to Ridder Arena to host No. 6/7 Wisconsin on Oct. 11-12.