Once the first goal went in for Emily Oden, the second came much easier.
The freshman forward scored her first two collegiate goals against St. Cloud State to help lead the Gophers to a weekend sweep. No. 3 Minnesota finished the home half of a home-and-home series with a 4-1 victory over the Huskies at Ridder Arena.
The Gophers controlled puck possession throughout Saturday’s series finale, out-shooting St. Cloud State by a 45-6 margin.
“It’s really great to get the first one out of the way. It relieves a little stress. Our team was playing so well offensively just controlling the game,” said Oden, an Edina native. “Feeding off the team controlling the game I was able to put (two) away.”
Minnesota (5-0-1, 3-0-1-0 WCHA), for the second straight game, was able to get an early lead and hit the locker room ahead by a three-goal margin. All three goals came from three different lines.
“It’s one thing to say it, it’s another to have it happen. We just trust all four of our lines,” Minnesota head coach Brad Frost said. “Whoever is on what line they are competing, they are playing and they are playing pretty free. It’s a lot of fun to watch.”
Freshman forward Amy Potomak needed 2:10 to put the Gophers ahead 1-0 on her second goal of the season.
Oden, who had come close on several chances in the last two weeks, completed a cycle that left her in front of the net. She turned around, had the puck in front and beat St. Cloud State (2-4-0, 0-2-0-0 WCHA) goaltender Janine Alder with her first goal.
“It’s awesome. Some of the other freshmen had scored their first one so you start maybe pressing a little bit and start wondering when yours is going to come,” said Frost. “Great job staying in front on that rebound and firing it into the net.”
On a day honoring her city, Red Wing native Nicole Schammel set up Minnesota’s goal. The redshirt senior fed a wide open Grace Zumwinkle, who tapped in the puck for her fourth goal of the season.
St. Cloud State, however, got the only goal of the second period despite being out-shot 14-1. Jenniina Nylund scored her second goal of the season on a Huskies power play after Taylor Wemple’s shot went wide and off the boards directly to her.
Oden restored the three-goal lead in the third period when she made a goal scorer’s move, crashing the net to put the puck past Alder, who finished with 41 saves.
“It’s just a little less stressful. Then you just know,” she said. “You got one, now it’s just working hard to get another.”
The Gophers played Saturday without sophomore center Taylor Wente, who missed the game with an illness. Sydney Scobee got the start in goal for the third consecutive series finale.
Minnesota remains at home next weekend when No. 5 Ohio State comes to Ridder Arena for a two-game series Friday and Saturday. Puck drop Friday is at 7 p.m. while Saturday’s starts at 4 p.m.
“Being able to get the sweep this weekend is really big for us,” Oden said after the victory. “Especially coming off the tie the last game we had.”