Minnesota advances in WCHA playoffs
Kessel notches hat trick, propels No. 2 Gophers by St. Cloud St.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- No. 2 Minnesota earned a 6-0 shutout against St. Cloud State on Saturday, clinching a spot in the WCHA Final Faceoff next weekend. Amanda Kessel had three goals in the game, while Emily West added two goals. Jen Schoullis recorded three points in the game with three assists for the Golden Gophers.
On a power play eight minutes into the game, West put the Gophers on the scoreboard on a goal assisted by Kelly Terry and Rachel Ramsey. The power play goal came during the only penalty of the first period. Kessel made it 2-0 for Minnesota with a goal four minutes later. Rachael Bona and Kelly Seeler had assists on Kessel's goal.
West found the net again with three minutes remaining in the period, sending Minnesota to intermission with a three goal lead. Sarah Erickson had the assist on West's second goal of the game. St. Cloud State put just two shots on goal in the opening period to Minnesota's 21.
Both teams were scoreless in the third period, with the Gophers continuing to have an advantage in shots on goal. In the second period, the Gophers tallied nine shots to three for the Huskies. Each team had one power play chance with both teams putting one shot on goal during power play opportunities.
The Gophers added three goals in the third period. Kessel scored seven minutes into the period while Terry was in the penalty box, getting her first shorthanded goal of the season. Schoullis had the assist. Kessel and Schoullis teamed up again six minutes later, giving Minnesota a 5-0 lead on a goal by Kessel. Seeler also assisted on Kessel's goal.
The goal came just seconds after St. Cloud State switched goalies and put Tayler VanDenakker into the game. VanDenakker was replaced after just 21 seconds and one goal against as Julie Friend went back into the net after Kessel scored. With her third goal of the game, Kessel earned her fourth hat trick this season.
In the last two minutes of play, Meghan Lorence scored a goal to put the Gophers ahead 6-0 where the score would remain. Schoullis and Bethany Brausen had assists on Lorence's goal.
Minnesota goalie Noora Raty got her eighth shutout of the season and 24th of her career with the win. Raty has a 28-5-2 record in net this season.
Minnesota tallied 47 shots on goal in the game, compared to just 15 for the Huskies. The Gophers now have a record of 29-5-2 and 22-5-2 in WCHA games. St. Cloud State ended its season with a 5-29-2 overall record and 4-25-0 in the WCHA.