MINNEAPOLIS -- The No. 3 University of Minnesota women's hockey team opened the 2018-19 season with a non-conference series sweep, cruising to a 5-0 win over No. 10 Mercyhurst in game two of this weekend's series at Ridder Arena on Saturday after securing a 4-2 win in game on Friday.
Minnesota (2-0-0) was led by Grace Zumwinkle (2g), Nicole Schammel (2a), and Patti Marshall (2a) and also received goals from Alex Woken, Sarah Potomak, and Taylor Heise. Sydney Scobee earned her first career shutout as a Gopher with 17 saves as the Golden Gophers outshot the Lakers 43-17 for the game.
"Well it was a great game tonight, a full sixty minutes of hockey," head coach Brad Frost said. "We started much better today than we did last night and were able to put a lot more pressure on scoring that first goal, which is always important, but I think the pressure we were able to apply in the first and continue onto the second was really important. Really happy with the sweep against a really good team. Non-conference games are so important down the road and at the end and I'm happy with the sweep."
The Gophers took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission after Zumwinkle scored her first of the season at the 12:17 mark of the opening period. Zumwinkle stuffed the puck past Mercyhurst goaltender Kennedy Blair off a centering pass from Taylor Wente down low, and Nicole Schammel picked up the second assist on the play. The Maroon & Gold had a 20-4 advantage in shots on goal over the game's opening 20 minutes.
Scobee stopped a flurry of shots by Mercyhurst (0-2-0) in the opening minutes of the second period, beginning with a breakaway by Molly Blasen, to keep the visitors off the board. Midway through the period, Alex Woken extended Minnesota's lead to 2-0. She caught a pass from Patti Marshall at neutral ice, carried the puck into the Mercyhurst zone, and cut to the slot where she beat Blair stick-side at the 10:41 mark of the middle frame. Zumwinkle then added her second of the game at the 14:48 mark before Potomak scored her first goal of the season with 3:24 remaining in the period to give the Gophers a four-goal lead heading into the third period.
"It's absolutely amazing to get the shut out," Scobee said. "Playing for this team is a dream, and playing in front of my family and friends is amazing. And with the team in front of me, I'm so confident. They work so well with me. We're always talking with each other, we're always saying we have each other's backs, and honestly it's a lot of confidence between all of us. The team is great in front of me, so they make it really easy."
Heise iced the win, scoring her first collegiate goal with 4:26 remaining when she ripped a shot in the slot off a feed from Taylor Williamson.
Both teams were scoreless on the power play with Minnesota going 0-for-3 and Mercyhurst going 0-for-2. Blair finished with 38 saves for the Lakers.
Minnesota opens WCHA play next weekend by traveling to Minnesota Duluth for a series with the No. 9 Bulldogs. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. CT Friday, Oct. 5 and 3:07 p.m. CT Saturday, Oct. 6 at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn.