MINNEAPOLIS - Special teams led No. 1 Minnesota to a second-straight 6-0 win and series sweep over visiting Minnesota Duluth on Senior Night at Ridder Arena Saturday evening.
The Gophers scored four power-play goals (4-for-9) and shut down UMD on five opportunities with the man advantage en route to their third-straight shutout victory.
Junior Rachel Ramsey (Chanhassen, Minn.) and sophomore Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) led Minnesota with three points each, and sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille (Kingston, Ont.) made 10 saves in her 13th shutout of the season.
"It was a real solid win here tonight with a great opportunity to honor our seniors before the game," head coach Brad Frost said. "That first goal got us going, and we were able to continue to apply the pressure the rest of the game with our speed. Our back pressure was great. Amanda wasn't really tested all night, which is perfect for us. Our power play was really good, and our kill as well. We're looking forward to playoffs. It's a fun time of year."
Minnesota (32-1-1, 26-1-1-0 WCHA) honored its four seniors prior to the start of the game. Seniors Bethany Brausen (Roseville, Minn.), Sarah Davis (Paradise, N.L.), Baylee Gillanders (Kyle, Sask.) and Kelly Terry (Whitby, Ont.) were recognized for their decorated careers as Gophers so far.
The Gophers took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Freshman Kate Schipper (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) gave the Gophers a 1-0 lead at 10:40 of the first period. Davis and junior Rachael Bona (Coon Rapids, Minn.) got through on a two-on-one but couldn't connect in front of the net. However, Bona fed Schipper from just below the red line, and Schipper buried a point blank opportunity from the top of the goal crease.
Minnesota extended its lead to 4-0 with three power-play goals in the second period. Ramsey and sophomore Milica McMillen (St. Paul, Minn.) each scored their ninth goals of the season, and sophomore Maryanne Menefee (Lansing, Mich.) tallied her fourth goal of the weekend. Brandt picked up assists on all three of the Gophers' second-period goals.
The Gophers added two goals in the third period to seal the 6-0 win as junior Jordyn Burns (Chanhassen, Minn.) scored her second goal of the season to make it 5-0, and freshman Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) netted her NCAA-best eighth power-play goal of the season to seal the 6-0 win.
Minnesota Duluth (13-13-6, 11-11-6-4 WCHA) received 22 saves on 27 shots from Kayla Black before Karissa Grapp played the final 14:20 in net. Grapp made seven saves on eight shots, and the Gophers outshot the Bulldogs, 35-10, for the game.
The victory extends Minnesota's nation-best unbeaten streak to 19-0-1. The Gophers are 81-1-1 in their last 83 games, dating back to the start of the team's NCAA-record 62-game winning streak (Feb. 18, 2012 through Nov. 16, 2013). Minnesota wraps up its 2014 regular season at 32-1-1 (26-1-1-0 WCHA).
The WCHA postseason begins with four best-of-three, first-round series next weekend. The top-seeded Gophers host eighth-seeded St. Cloud State at Ridder Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 and 4 p.m. Saturday, March 1. Game three, if necessary, will be played at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 2.