MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Taylor Williamson and Catie Skaja scored goals and Alex Gulstene made 18 saves in her first collegiate shutout as the No. 3 University of Minnesota women's hockey team defeated No. 4 Ohio State by a score of 3-0 at Ridder Arena Friday night.
Minnesota (6-0-1, 4-0-1-0 WCHA) took a 1-0 lead in the second period on Williamson's first goal of the season before Skaja teamed up with Grace Zumwinkle to double the team's lead with 3:00 remaining. Williamson iced the win with an empty-net goal, and Gulstene held off the Buckeyes in her first career shutout.
"Great team win here tonight," head coach Brad Frost said. "We talk about our depth and contributions from different lines and to have two goals from our fourth line tonight was a special moment. I thought after the first period we really started to get up on our toes a little more and play with a little more intensity. Credit their goaltender for making some great saves, but from our standpoint, Alex Gulstene with her first shutout of her career -- she was really solid and I'm happy for her -- and ultimately happy for the win."
The Gophers dominated in shots on goal, outshooting the Buckeyes 47-18 for the game, including a 19-3 advantage in the third period. Ohio State (5-2-0, 2-1-0-0 WCHA) received 44 saves from freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli.
"It feels awesome. It's one of the best feelings you can have as a goalie, and I'm so proud of my team for stepping up," Gulstene said. "They were back checking hard and blocking shots. It was amazing to get that win as a team. I knew Ohio was going fast and hard for that game, so a lot of it is just knowing where the players are and trusting your defense and the team is important. They did their job and I did mine, and at the end of the day it's all about trust and finding joy and knowing what you're doing out there ... Tonight wasn't just my shutout; it was the team's shutout."
Williamson put the Gophers on the board at the 11:12 mark of the middle frame after the teams played a scoreless first period. Tianna Gunderson set up the play when she fired a shot on target and OSU's Braendli made the initial save, but Williamson crashed the net and buried the rebound.
"I think the biggest thing was just utilizing our depth and our speed," Williamson said. "We really blew it away in that second period, getting the shots on net was huge. And obviously using our speed to put it in the net. It felt awesome. It was a huge relief to get that first goal, and it was super fun to be able to get the ball rolling for our team. We really settled in and got used to their speed and intensity as well. They're a great team and for sure the best we've played this season."
Minnesota then scored twice in the final three minutes of the game as Skaja scored her second goal of her career before Williamson ice the win with an empty-net goal after the Buckeyes pulled Braendli for the extra attacker.
Both teams were scoreless on the power play as Minnesota was 0-for-2 and Ohio State was 0-for-1.
The Gophers and Buckeyes meet in game two of this weekend's WCHA series at 3:07 p.m. CT Saturday at Ridder Arena.