The top team in all the land showed little rust in defeating rival North Dakota, 6-3, on Friday night at Ridder Arena. The rest seemed to do Amanda Kessel some good, as she scored four of the Gophers six goals. Noora Raty held onto a shutout up until the third period when North Dakota had an outburst of goals. The Gophers are now 21-0 on the season with just 13 regular season games left.
The scoring started quickly for the Gophers. Hannah Brandt was able to get a pass over to Amanda Kessel right near the crease for a bang-bang play to start things off. Kessel's 26th goal came just :24 into the period. The lead doubled for Minnesota when Brandt sniped one into the top corner past starting goaltender Jorid Dagfinrud. UND would actually outshoot the Gophers, 13-10 in the period, but UND could not capitalize on their chances as the Gophers did. A sharp goalie helped as well. Noora Raty came in being fresh off an international tournament over the break called the Meco Cup, in which she had a bronze medal with Finland.
Kelly Terry got the Gophers to a 3-0 after she banked one off of Dagfinrud from behind the net in kind of a 'good luck ' shot. The goal came at 8:07 and was Terry's sixth on the year. Minnesota would add to the lead right before the end of the period. The top ranked power play would get the goal as Kessel was set up and delivered a one-timer right past Dagfinrud. The second period would be the last action Dagfinrud would see. Warraod alum Shelby Amsley-Benzie would take over for the third period.
The Gophers would strike again to start the period. This time Kessel would complete her hat trick with an impressive individual effort. She took the puck away from a UND defender from behind the net and quickly sweep it in past Amsley-Benzie to make it 5-0. A Michelle Karvinen power play goal got UND on the board, but they weren't done. Meghan Dufault also added two goals, making the score much more respectable. UND scored three goals in six minutes, but in between that, Amanda Kessel nabbed her fourth goal of the game and 29th of the season. A wild third period ended at 6-3.
Head coach Brian Idalski thought his team played well, even though they were down by five at one point. He commended the Gopher defense along with Noora Raty for keeping UND out of the net for much of the game. UND outshot the Gophers 35-25, the first time all season anyone has outshot Minnesota. The 25 shots was a season low for the Gophers.
The Gophers' top line was responsible for all but two points and five of the six goals. Meghan Lorence had a career high four assists.
Minnesota keeps it going with 29 straight wins, heading for a possible 30th today at 4pm.
Check out the boxscore here.
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