MADISON, Wis. — Alex Gulstene earned a 27-save shutout and Emily Brown scored the game-winner on the power play as the No. 3 University of Minnesota women's hockey team secured a 1-0 win over No. 1 Wisconsin at LaBahn Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota (7-1-1, 5-1-1-0 WCHA) was perfect on the penalty kill, going three-for-three on the kill while going one-for-two with the skater advantage. Shots on goal were nearly even throughout the entire game with Wisconsin (8-1-0, 2-1-0 WCHA) coming out with a 27-23 advantage overall.
The teams battled through almost two-and-a-half scoreless periods before Brown broke the 0-0 tie with 12:07 remaining in the game when she buried a power-play goal off a feed from Nicole Schammel and Taylor Wente. Brown ripped a shot from the top of the slot through traffic that beat UW netminder Kristen Campbell, who finished with 22 saves.
"It was a wonderful hockey game tonight — two great teams, just slugging it out, back-and-forth with great chances both ways and great goaltending both ways," head coach Brad Frost said. "Both teams, I thought, just played phenomenal. I'm certainly happy that we were able to get that one on the power play. Special teams, we knew those were going to be big coming into the weekend."
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Minnesota entered the game converting on just 14.8 percent of the team's power plays so far this season at 4-for-27. Meanwhile, the Gophers' penalty kill was 12-for-17 (70.6 percent).
"Quite frankly, our special teams had been well below par coming into it," Frost said. "To kill off all those penalties and to score on the power play and have those things be the difference tonight was pretty special."
The teams played a scoreless first period, but they were not without scoring chances. Both teams posted 10 shots on goal, and Kippin Keller had an opportunity on a breakaway midway through the opening frame. The Gophers held the Badgers without a shot on goal in their first power play of the game when Emily Oden was called for hooking with 2:25 remaining, and the score remained 0-0 heading into the first intermission.
Period two was much of the same. Minnesota had a 6-5 advantage in shots on goal for the middle stanza and was held scoreless on its first power-play opportunity of the game. The Maroon & Gold then killed off a Taylor Wente penalty in the opening two minutes of the third period to keep the game locked at 0-0.
Brown's goal marked her second of the season and just the fifth power-play goal of the year for the Gophers. Desperate to find the equalizer, Wisconsin used its timeout with 1:42 remaining and pulled Campbell for the extra attacker on a faceoff in the Gophers' end. Gulstene was forced to make several big saves in the game's 90 seconds, including a stop on an attempt by Wisconsin's Sam Cogan with 35.2 seconds on the clock.
Amy Potomak took a delay of game penalty with 20.3 seconds remaining, and Wisconsin was able to attack 6-on-4 but Gulstene stopped all four shots she faced and the Gophers took home the 1-0 win.
Minnesota and Wisconsin face off in game two of this weekend's series at 2:07 p.m. CT Sunday afternoon.