The No. 2 ranked Gophers women's hockey team exacted revenge on the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers over the weekend, claiming a sound victory on Saturday and winning in a shootout on Sunday. It was a stark contrast from their six meetings last season, in which the Gophers claimed only two victories.
Gophers take opener 4-2
The Gophers started slow as the first period was dominated by the Badgers, giving flashbacks of their 2-0 defeat last March in the NCAA Championship. Daryl Watts, a senior transfer from Boston College, scored her 10th goal of the season to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead.
The second period was the best hockey the Gophers have played all season, as they scored two goals midway through the period. The first goal was a sister-to-sister connection as redshirt sophomore Amy Potomak set up redshirt senior Sarah Potomak. The next goal came from junior forward Grace Zumwinkle to make the score 2-1. Zumwinkle continued that success with an early goal in the third, her second of the game and 11th of the season, stretching the lead to 3-1. The goal marked Zumwinkle’s fifth multi-goal game of the season and provided the Gophers with all the scoring they would need, as they eventually topped the Badgers 4-2.
“She’s been awesome," head coach Brad Frost said of Zumwinkle. "That’s one of the things we challenged her with is to be one of the best players on the rink every game, not just in certain games, and I believe she’s really elevated her game that way."
Sarah Potomak leads the Gophers' offense in game two
Much like Saturday, the game began slow, with both teams dueling it out defensively. It wasn’t until five minutes left in the first period that the Gophers broke through, as Taylor Heise scored to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
The teams' defenses continued to hold strong after that, as the score stayed at 1-0 until the third period, when both teams traded a flurry of goals. First, Wisconsin's Britta Curl tied it. Sarah Potomak scored her second goal of the series to take the lead back just two minutes later, but Wisconsin soon answered again to level the score, where it would stay for the rest of the period.
The scoring didn't carry into overtime, however, as neither team was able to find the back of the net, taking the game into a shootout.
The strong goaltending continued into the shootout, with only one goal scored from either side. Luckily for the Gophers, the last shot came from the stick of Amy Potomak, who fooled Badgers goalie Kristen Cambell to secure the win.
“I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous skating the way down," Amy Potomak said. "I do it in practice quite a bit but never actually during a game against a goalie as good as Campbell, but I took my time and tried to remain calm and it went in.”
“I was so into the game at this point," goaltender Sydney Scobee said of her thoughts during the shootout. "I remember last year when we went into a shootout I was so nervous, but I wasn’t today. I was ready."
Scobee saved 63 shots in the series.
"Winning the shootout and gaining the extra point was big," Frost said. "There were several chances for them to score, but Sydney Scobee was up to the task here tonight."
The Gophers move into first place in the WCHA standings by dethroning the former No. 1 Badgers.