DULUTH — Last spring, Minnesota was knocked out of the NCAA tournament on its own ice by Minnesota Duluth in a regional final. On Saturday, the WCHA-leading Gophers enacted a bit of revenge by finishing off a regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs via a 4-3 victory at Amsoil Arena.
The Gophers took 11 of 12 league points from the Bulldogs this season, including all six over the weekend in Duluth. The Bulldogs took Minnesota to overtime in their first meeting on Nov. 4 at Ridder Arena, losing 3-2, but since then fell 5-3 on Nov. 5 in Minneapolis, 3-1 on Friday in Duluth, and then again Saturday.
“A really solid weekend for us,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “Tonight was a lot different from last night in that it was very special-teams heavy. We did a good job on both the penalty kill and the power play. It was a very physical game and both teams wanted it very badly. I’m very proud of our team to be able to take all six points from a sixth-ranked Duluth club.”
Sophomore wing Peyton Hemp finished with two goals and an assist Saturday to lead No. 3-ranked Minnesota, which also got goals from freshman wing Josefin Bouveng early in the second to put No. 6 Minnesota Duluth down 2-0 and from fifth-year senior wing Abigail Boreen in the third to put the Bulldogs behind 4-2.
“We have to be able to piece it together if we want to beat teams like that,” Bulldogs coach Maura Crowell said. “I have to give credit to Minnesota. I thought they played really, really well both games here this weekend. We’ll probably see them again somewhere down the line and we’ll be ready for it.”
Boreen’s unassisted goal at 9:31 in the third period was the game-winner as the Gophers improved to 22-3-2 and 19-2-2 in the WCHA.
Sophomore wing Gabby Krause, senior center Mannon McMahon and fifth-year senior wing Taylor Anderson scored for the Bulldogs (19-8-1, 13-8-1), with all three pulling UMD within a goal of the Gophers, but no closer.
Krause cut the Gophers’ lead to one midway through the second period, McMahon made it a one-goal game early in the third and Anderson scored on a 6-on-4 advantage for the Bulldogs with 2:30 left in regulation after UMD pulled fifth-year senior goaltender Emma Soderberg for the extra attacker on a late power play.
“Today we played much better and we were really happy to see that Friday to Saturday, we were able to step up more, but I think we want that one back,” Anderson said of Saturday’s loss. “There are certain plays we really want back, but just to see that we can put pucks in late during the game is really important. I think we showed ourselves a lot there, at least.”
UMD finished 2 for 6 on the power play Saturday in a physical, chippy game that featured 11 called penalties, totaling 22 minutes. The Gophers, meanwhile, finished 1 of 4.
The Bulldogs were without fifth-year senior center Kylie Hanley on Saturday. Hanley left Friday’s game with a non-contact injury and did not return. Crowell didn’t have an update on Hanley after Saturday’s game, only saying the injury is not believed to be season-ending.