EDINA, Minn. — Minnesota scored three times in the span of 4:40 in the latter stages of the second period and went on to a 5-3 victory over Minnesota State in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Women’s Faceoff Classic.
“A really fun atmosphere here today and a real good hockey game,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said. “That second period for us was tremendous.”
The Gophers (16-3-2, 12-2-2-2 WCHA) were able to build a three-goal lead and withstand a late push by Minnesota State (6-15-2, 3-12-1-0 WCHA).
“We made a couple of turnovers, a couple of situations where we didn’t get the puck out of our end, a power-play goal against, and they showed their offensive abilities in that second period,” Mavericks coach John Harrington said.
With top goalscorer Dani Cameranesi out with an injury and a couple of other forwards away playing for Canada, Frost patched together a top line of Megan Wolfe, usually a defenseman, with Kelly Pannek and Kate Schipper, and the trio combined for four goals and five assists.
“There’s something about this arena,” Pannek said. “I loved playing here in high school.”
As a freshman, she scored her first college hat trick in Braemer Arena. Back in the facility versus MSU, she accounted for two tallies and a pair of helpers.
“It’s always fun when you can go to these community rinks,” Pannek said. “There’s just a sense of freedom playing out here.”
Pannek set up Schipper for the game’s first goal in the opening frame.
“I was thinking I was going to pass to Megan on the back door, but then she was covered, so I was like, ‘I got to shoot,'” Schipper said. “I just aimed low and it went in.”
Despite the line’s heroics and the first collegiate goal for Gopher Katie Robinson, the outcome was still in doubt until Wolfe hit an empty net in the final seconds.
“I’m really proud of the way we battled back in the third,” Harrington said.
The Mavericks capitalized on a couple of transition opportunities to pull within 4-3 on goals by Hannah Davidson and Corbin Boyd, the second goal of the game for the latter.
“I think we got back to the way we were playing in the first period,” Harrington said. “They got the empty netter at the end to make it 5-3, but I thought there were some real positive things that we can build on now as we get back into the WCHA schedule next weekend against North Dakota.”
The Gophers were competing in the Hall of Fame game for the third straight season, facing the Mavericks for the first time in the event.
“Quite frankly, being a member of the Hall of Fame, that’s important to me and exciting for me,” Harrington said. “You play in a rink like this and the crowd is on top of you, there’s that noise, that excitement. I know our players are excited, because that’s what they remember from their high school days.”