After raising the championship banner for last year's Julianne Bye Cup and the WCHA regular season, the Minnesota women's hockey team opened their regular season play against the Colgate Raiders this weekend and dominated their competition, winning 2-0 on Friday and 8-1 on Saturday.
On Friday, the Gophers played strong out of the gate, with solid transitions allowing them to outshoot the Raiders 36-14.
At the 12-minute mark, freshman defenseman Madeline Wethington intercepted a Colgate pass in the defensive end and carried the puck to the neutral zone for the Gophers. Easily side-stepping the Raiders defense, Wethington took a shot from the high slot and scored her first collegiate goal, putting Minnesota up by one against Colgate. Wethington, an Edina native, played for The Blake School before joining the Gophers.
Minnesota's starting goalie Alex Gulstene made six saves but did not return after the first period. Sydney Scobee played the remaining two periods and was awarded the shut out after making eight saves through the second and third periods.
The Gophers doubled their lead with one minute left in the second period with a goal from left winger Sarah Potomak for a 2-0 final score.
Just as in Friday's game, the Gophers got off to a hot start against Colgate on Saturday, but, unlike Friday, they piled on after that.
Second-line center Taylor Heise found the back of the net just four minutes into the first period and Minnesota maintained pressure in the offensive zone as the first period continued. On a face-off resulting from a saved shot by Colgate, defenseman Olivia Knowles scored in the seventh minute with an assist from Heise to add another point for the Gophers.
Minnesota tallied another goal three minutes before the end of the first period, with a tip-in from Grace Zumwinkle off assists from Heise and Alex Woken to put Minnesota ahead 3-0 on Colgate heading into the first intermission.
"We had confidence in each other coming together, and I think once that first goal went in our team knew it was going to be a good game today," Heise said. "This year we have such a talented team, so many people that work hard."
Minnesota continued their second period much like the first, getting right back on the scoreboard after killing off an early penalty. Potomak put away her second goal of the season three minutes into the period.
Their efforts resulted in another goal with about seven minutes left in the period, when Brown took the puck from the left face off dot and wrapped around from behind the goal to put away Minnesota's fifth goal of the game.
"It gives our players confidence," head coach Brad Frost said. "Our non-conference games are important as well in the national picture, so really happy with how we've started off."
In the third period the Gophers added three more goals to their already padded lead, and did so in the first six minutes, including one on the power play from Heise. The only power play goal on four chances this weekend. The blowout moves the Gophers early season record to 2-0-0.
"If we can be one out of four [on the power play] all year, I'll take that," Frost said.
The Gophers will travel to Mankato to play Minnesota State for a weekend series matchup.