BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Kelly Pannek scored her third career hat trick and Sophie Skarzynski added two goals of her own to lead the No. 2 University of Minnesota women's hockey team to an 8-2 win over No. 8 St. Lawrence in game one of the Windjammer Classic hosted by Vermont at Gutterson Fieldhouse on Friday.
Along with multi-goal games from Pannek (3g-1a) and Skarzynski (2g), Minnesota (12-2-1, 9-2-1 WCHA) received multi-point efforts from Olivia Knowles (1g-2a), Sarah Potomak (2a), Patti Marshall (2a), and Gracie Ostertag (2a) in the win. Alex Gulstene made 16 saves, and the Gophers outshot the Saints, 43-18.
St. Lawrence (8-6-1, 3-0-0 ECAC) received goals from Nadine Edney and Rachael Smith along with 35 saves from netminder Grace Harrison.
"It was a really solid game," head coach Brad Frost said. "When you get to these tournaments and you're on the road playing a different opponent, it's always fun. We're really proud of our team. Offensively, we were very good with a lot of pressure on the puck, and we created quite a few turnovers. To score eight on a great goaltender like that is difficult. We're really proud of our team and excited about advancing to the championship tomorrow."
Taylor Wente opened the scoring for the Gophers at the 16:54 mark of the first period, scoring an unassisted shorthanded goal with Minnesota on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. The Gophers extended their lead to two when Alex Woken scored her fifth goal of the season off a feed from Taylor Williamson with 1:20 remaining in the period.
The second period saw the teams combine for four goals. Skarzynski extended the Gophers' lead to three, scoring the eventual game-winner, when she buried a feed from Ostertag at the 4:48 mark of the second period. Abigail Boreen picked up the second assist on the play when she started the play by winning a faceoff back to Ostertag.
SLU's Edney put the Saints on the board at the 11:52 mark of the second stanza, but Knowles pushed Minnesota's lead back to three 59 seconds later. Pannek scored her first of the game, and the Gophers' second shorthanded goal of the game, with 1:15 remaining in the period, and the Gophers took a 5-1 lead into the second intermission.
Minnesota outscored the Saints 3-1 over the final 20 minutes to clinch the 8-2 win. Pannek and Skarzynski scored in the opening five minutes of the third period before Smith scored for the Saints at the 7:39 mark of the third period. Pannek completed her third career hat trick with 4:15 remaining to seal the win.
Minnesota was 0-for-2 on the power play while holding St. Lawrence to 1-for-6 with the skater advantage along with scoring two shorthanded goals.
The Gophers will face the winner of Friday's second semifinal at the Windjammer Classic between host Vermont and Syracuse on Saturday.