The Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s hockey team capped their first-ever game on Hockey Day Minnesota with a victory.
Many men’s and women’s college teams in Minnesota have played on Hockey Day, but never outside on the same rink as the slate of high school games earlier in the day. The Gophers did so on Saturday and avenged their loss from Friday night to take the 2-1 win over Ohio State.
“[A shot] just missed high, but it happened to be in our favor,” Gophers forward Emily Oden said. “Just bounced off the glass, it came right out to me so I was just able to one-time it in.
Gophers forward Catie Skaja darted into the offensive zone and just past the blue line as she ripped a shot. That shot went high, but off the glass behind the net and popped out back in front of the Ohio State goaltender, right where Oden was to take advantage and get Minnesota its second goal of the game.
After that goal in the second period, Minnesota had a defensive job to do, especially on the penalty kill.
The Gophers took three penalties in the final 10 minutes of the game, giving the Ohio State forward corps ample opportunity to find ways to score and tie the game up at two goals apiece. In the end, though, they killed them with clutch saves from goaltender Sydney Scobee and much-needed defensive clears.
“The theme of the weekend was special teams and killing off penalties so, we were just able to hold them,” Oden said. “That was our goal, we had really good energy on the bench.”
Minnesota wouldn’t have been in the position to protect a lead if it weren’t for forward Amy Potomak. In the first period while on a power play, she received the puck at the point and crept in towards the goal before she released a seeing-eye shot that found the back of the net through heavy traffic, though it wasn’t tipped before it crossed the line.
The score was eventually tied soon after, thanks to a defensive mishap for the Gophers.
Ohio State’s Sophie Jaques answered as she received a pass all alone in front of Scobee and sent it right over her shoulder to tie the game at 1-1.
Minnesota responded, though with Oden’s goal and held it through the end. Overall, it turned out to be a good result for a team that has given the Gophers trouble in recent seasons, especially this one. Minnesota’s only two losses this season come at the hands of Ohio State, one coming on Friday night.
The weekend was salvaged as a split, though, and head coach Brad Frost said that the team improved mightily from its performance on Friday.
“We were bad [on Friday,]” Frost said. “Ohio State was good, but we were not good and that was probably the worst game we had played in years. Just to see the response [on Saturday], that was the biggest thing.