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Minnesota Women’s Hockey: Gophers Return to WCHA Play vs St. Cloud

It’s Alumni weekend as MN celebrates their first ever Natty Champ team!

Amy Potomak had a pair of goals last Saturday for Minnesota
Harrison Barden

The Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s hockey team returns back to WCHA play this weekend when they host the St. Cloud State Huskies for a pair of games at Ridder Arena. Minnesota will also celebrate Alumni Weekend and will honor their first ever National Championship team, the 1999-2000 AWCHA Champs.

The Gophers remained undefeated so far this season with a sweep of Robert Morris in Pittsburgh last weekend. They needed to work for it Friday afternoon pulling out a 4-3 overtime win in a penalty littered affair. A combined 32 penalties were called on the two teams, and it was Minnesota’s special teams play that got them the win. The Gophers were just 2-8 on the power play, but one of those goals was Taylor Wente’s OT winner. The Gophers were a perfect 6-6 on the penalty kill against the Colonials. Sarah Potomak, Alex Woken and Gracie Ostertag scored the other three goals for the Gophers. It was the first career goal for sophomore defenseman Ostertag. Sydney Scobee made 24 saves to pick up the win.

Saturday was also a tight game until the Gophers blew it open with four unanswered goals in the third period. The Colonials got up to an early 1-0 lead before sophomore Amy Potomak would score back to back goals up to put Minnesota up 2-1 in the second period. After Robert Morris ted the game just 1:15 into the third on a power-play goal, it would be all Gophers down the stretch. Madeline Wethington, Sarah Potomak, Woken and Catie Skaja would add the final four goals in a 6-2 Minnesota win. Scobee made a season high 31 saves in running her record to 5-0.

The Gophers return to WCHA play after a week off. The Gophers are 2-0 after an early season sweep of Minnesota State in Mankato two weeks ago. St. Cloud State comes in at 2-2 overall, but 0-2 in the Big Ten after a sweep by Ohio State two weekends ago. Minnesota obviously is the more talented team this weekend and shouldn’t be tripped up too much by the Huskies. Minnesota is 87-3-3 all time against SCSU, and 40-0-2 all time at Ridder Arena. and has won eight straight games in the series.

The Gophers will look to continue to get great play from their blue line. Minnesota leads the country in scoring from their defensive corps with eight goals. Scoring has not been a problem for this Minnesota team as they lead the WCHA averaging. 5.5 goals per game. It’s assumed Scobee will start both games in net for Minnesota once again as Alex Gulstene is still presumed out after she suffered an injury on opening night. It would not be a surprise to see Gopher freshman goalie Makala Paul see some time in net this weekend though. She played a period in the Saturday game in Mankato and allowed one goal on thirteen shots.

The Huskies have split time between their two netminders in Emma Polusny and Janine Alder. Both are 1-1 on the season with Alder having the better goals against average at 2.04 compared to 3.53 for Polusny. Klara Hymlarova leads SCSU in points with five through four games, while Hallie Theodosopoulos and Abby Thiessen each have three goals on the season to lead the Huskies.

Minnesota will have its annual Alumni game Sunday morning.

During the Sunday afternoon game the Gophers will honor their first ever National Championship team from 1999-2000. Under the direction of head coach Laura Halldorsen, the 1999-2000 Gophers became the first women’s team to win a national title in Minnesota history. After defeating rival Minnesota Duluth by a score of 3-2 in the national semifinal, the Gophers went on to defeat Brown, 4-2, to claim the national title. Halldorsen and Kris Scholt were on the Gophersports podcast this week talking about that team.

The Gophers and Huskies will face-off Saturday afternoon at 4, and Sunday afternoon at 2 from Ridder Arena. Both games will stream on BTN+ and FloHockey ($$). Free audio can be heard here.