GRAND FORKS, N.D. — On Sunday, No. 1 Minnesota outlasted No. 8 North Dakota to pull off its fifth sweep of the year. Junior Amanda Kessel led the top-ranked Gophers to a 4-2 victory by recording a pair of goals and an assist.
Kessel, who sat out Saturday’s game due to an injury, made up for lost time and put the Gophers on top during her first play by slicing the puck past a UND defenseman and through the five hole of Shelby Amsley-Benzie, giving Minnesota the early 1-0 lead.
The Maroon & Gold held North Dakota scoreless the remainder of the period, despite losing the shot battle 7-4. The shot advantage would dramatically change in the final two periods as Minnesota only allowed 11 UND shots while the Gophers tallied 29.
In the second period, the teams traded a pair of goals to increase the score to 3-2. UND was the first to score when Meghan Dufault recorded a goal at 4:12.
Kessel again snagged the lead for Minnesota at 12:52 off an assist from senior Mira Jalosuo. Kessel received and backhanded the puck over the goalie’s leg. Jalosuo and freshman Hannah Brandt were credited with the assists.
Kelly Terry added a power play goal as she rushed the left side of the goal and had her initial shot blocked by Amsley-Benzie. The rebound bounced to the backside of the goal, and Terry flicked in a shot to give Minnesota a two-goal lead. Kessel and senior Megan Bozek were tagged with the assists.
Following the Gopher goal, UND was given a power play opportunity, and Dufault again found the back of the net to pull North Dakota within one.
Minnesota was 1-for-5 on penalty kills while they notched two goals on six power play chances, including a goal in the third period by Milica McMillen.
UND held the Gophers at bay most of the final period, but after a scramble the puck slipped out to McMillen at the face of the goal. She took a wrist shot that saucered under the crowd of players and across the goal line. Brandt and Bozek received the assists on the goal.
The 4-2 victory improves the top-ranked Golden Gophers to 10-0-0 to start the year, which hasn’t happened since the 2004-05 season.
Garnering three points in the game, Kessel is now tied with Gopher alum Emily West for 10th in Minnesota history for career points with 158.