The Gophers have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
No. 2 Minnesota (11-2-1, 9-2-1-0) swept St. Cloud State (4-11-1, 2-8-0) this weekend, winning 4-3 in overtime on Saturday in St. Cloud and 7-2 on Sunday at Ridder Arena.
Right winger Grace Zumwinkle and left winger Nicole Schammel combined for five points on Sunday. Zumwinkle scored a pair of goals in the first period.
Zumwinkle opened the scoring at 4:38 of the first period, beating St. Cloud State goaltender Emma Polusny with a high wrist shot. Zumwinkle scored again at the 12:11 of the first to give Minnesota a commanding 4-0 lead.
Center Kelly Pannek put the game away for the Gophers on the power play at 19:35 of the second period. It was Pannek's fifth of the season and second of the series.
Pannek said Minnesota's ability to possess the puck for long periods of time is something special.
"We have four great lines and three solid [defense] pairs," Pannek said. "No matter who's in the lineup on a given night, we can keep rolling and going. Tonight was a great example of everyone contributing, every line building off of the one before them. It gives you more motivation to follow them up."
Goaltender Alex Gulstene didn't see much action, but she made 15 saves, winning her ninth game of the season.
Head coach Brad Frost said goaltenders have to be more mentally tough when they don't see many shots.
"Sometimes, when you're getting peppered, you're much more into the game and you're more in a groove instead of having five, six or seven minutes of not seeing the puck," Frost said. "All of a sudden, [Gulstene] has to be strong there, finding ways to stay focused and getting ready to play."
Heise wins game one for Gophers
Center Taylor Heise does well against St. Cloud State. Heise scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Gophers defeated the Huskies 4-3 on Saturday in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Heise's goal came at 2:57 of overtime. It was Heise's fourth goal of the season. She's scored three times against St. Cloud State.
"All our shots on net and all our pressure ended up killing them in the end," Heise said. "It was a fun game to play."
After St. Cloud State took the lead early in the third period, Minnesota responded at 11:08 of the third. Center Abigail Boreen hit Polusny with a wrist shot, tying the game at two. It was Boreen's first collegiate goal. Minnesota retook the lead when left winger Sarah Potomak scored at 14:15 of the period.
But Potomak's goal wasn't enough to secure an easy win. Huskies right winger Hannah Potrykus banged home a rebound at 18:38 of the period as St. Cloud State played with an empty net. Potrykus' goal forced overtime, while Heise's goal gave Minnesota its first overtime victory of the season. Gulstene made 15 saves for her eighth victory of the season.
Frost said Minnesota played well right from the start even though St. Cloud's Polusny made 43 saves.
"Polusny played fantastic and kept them in the game," Frost said. "Fortunately, we were able to find a way to win in the end down 2-1 in the third. I loved how we played. If we play like that consistently, we're going to be happy."
Minnesota had 47 shots on-goal on Saturday. Heise said the new lines that the coaching staff formed worked.
"We did play the perimeter a lot [Saturday]," she said. "We didn't get it into the net as much as we wanted to, but it's a starting point. We're going to go up from here."