Minnesota Edged by Merrimack, 4-3

Freshman defenseman Olivia Knowles posted a goal and an assist for the Golden Gophers
Prd Time  Team Score Type Scored By Assists
1st 12:11  MIN1-0 EV Kippin Keller (1)Patti Marshall/1
1st 14:31  MER1-1 EV Mikyla Grant-Mentis (1) -
1st 19:14  MIN2-1 PP Grace Zumwinkle (1)Olivia Knowles/1, Nicole Schammel/1
1st 19:30  MIN3-1 EV Olivia Knowles (1)Sydney Baldwin/1, Alex Woken/1
1st 19:47  MER2-3 EV Katelyn Rae (2)Megan Fergusson/1
2nd 3:41  MER3-3 EV Maddy Burton (1)Annie Boeckers/1
2nd 5:16  MER4-3 EV GW Jessica Bonfe (1)Emily Volpe/1
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Merrimack  2204
Minnesota  3003
Shots on Goal 1st 2nd 3rd SOG
Merrimack  96419
Minnesota  17221857
Team Stats and Records  PP PIM SHGF
Merrimack (2-0-0)  0/1 3/6 0
Minnesota (0-1-0)  1/3 1/2 0
Merrimack Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Léa-Kristine Demers (W, 1-0-0)60:003 14221854
Minnesota Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Sidney Peters (L, 0-1-0)25:164 7108
Alex Gulstene33:370 0347
Empty Net1:070     

MINNEAPOLIS -- The No. 3 Golden Gopher women's hockey team fell to Merrimack College by a score of 4-3 in the team's season-opener at Ridder Arena Friday night. Seven different players scored goals in the game, and Minnesota rookie Olivia Knowles led all players with two points.

"Well, it was certainly not the result we wanted in game one, but the kids battled and played hard," head coach Brad Frost said. "Got a lot of shots on net, you hope to score more than three when you have almost sixty, but we certainly don't want to give up four when you give up less than twenty. Obviously, there are some areas of growth for us, and with our team we've got to get better and get back to it on Sunday."

The teams combined for five first-period goals, including three in the final minute of the opening period. Sophomore Kippin Keller notched the first goal to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead at the 12:11 mark of the period, but Merrimack tied it up less than 90 seconds later with a goal by Mikyla Grant-Mentis.

Freshman Grace Zumwinkle scored her first career-goal with a power-play goal 19:14 into the period to put Minnesota back on top, and fellow rookie Olivia Knolwes followed quickly with her first goal as a Gopher at 19:30.

However, Merrimack scored again just 17 seconds later when Katelyn Rae found the back of the net, making it three goals in 32 seconds and leaving the score 3-2 in favor of the Gophers after the game's first 20 minutes.

"It's one thing to give up goals, but the timeliness of it for them and the poor timing for us," Frost said. "You get into the intermission and it's 3-1, maybe it's different. We talked as we were sending our five over the bench, 'We cannot give one up,' and it's in our net and the momentum shifts."

Merrimack (2-0-0) added two early second-period goals to take the 4-3 lead. Maddy Burton scored at the 3:41 mark before Jessica Bonfe netted the eventual game-winner at the 5:16 mark of the middle frame.

Minnesota (0-1-0) outshot Merrimack in the third period, 18-4, but were not able to find the tying goal.

For the game, the Gophers put up 57 shots to 19 by the Warriors. Senior Sidney Peters made eight saves on the game's opening 12 shots before freshman Alex Gulstene made seven saves over the game's final 33:37.

Fellow rookies Emily Brown, Olivia Knowles, Taylor Wente, and Grace Zumwinkle joined Gulstene in seeing their first game action for the Gophers. Redshirt junior Jackie Pieper, a transfer from Merrimack College, also made her first appearance in a Gopher sweater.

The Gophers were one-for-there on the power play, while holding Merrimack scoreless on one power play opportunity.

"We've got a lot of people in different positions, and that's not an excuse," Frost said. "We're embracing that, but this is our first little adversity of the season and it's in game one. We will just keep grinding out and try to be better on Sunday."

Minnesota and Merrimack will wrap up the series this Sunday at 2:07 p.m. CT at Ridder arena.