In her first collegiate game, Amanda Kessel scored a hat trick to lead the University of Minnesota women's hockey team to an 8-0 exhibition win over Manitoba, today at Ridder Arena. Along with Kessel, the Gophers had 13 student-athletes tally a point in the win. The Golden Gophers open the regular season against Clarkson, Oct. 2-3 in Postdam, N.Y.
The Gophers got on the board early when Kessel scored her first of three goals on an unassisted play at 3:48 in the first. Minnesota outshot the Bison, 12-1 in the first period producing the one goal.
Minnesota opened the floodgates in the second period scoring four goals in the stanza. Emily West and Sarah Erickson connected at 5:04 in the second. Erickson and West combined for a two-on-one when Erickson served up a cross-ice pass in front of the crease as West buried the puck. Jen Schoullis added to the lead when she wound up for a shot at 11:08 in the second period. Kelly Seeler found Schoullis at the blue line and she skated in and wound up for a shot, which went straight through the five-hole of Tara Lacquette. It was Schoullis' first action since the 2009 Frozen Four after missing the 2009-10 season due to a red-shirt season. Becky Kortum scored on a tip off of Katie Frischmann's shot from the point at 14:18. Terra Rasmussen added the second assist to put the game at 4-0. Nikki Ludwigson lit the lamp at 15:43 when her shot trickled past Bison goalie Leiette Klassen. Seeler and Bethany Brausen assisted on the play.
Kessel scored her second goal of the game at 1:44 in the third off of a rebound attempt from Sarah Erickson. She then completed the hat trick at 12:30 in the third period when she lifted the puck over Klassen's left pad for a short-handed goal. West netted her second goal of the game at 16:32 on a power-play attempt at 16:32 in the third to close out the Gopher scoring at 8-0.
Head coach Brad Frost used the exhibition game to mix and match players together, going with different lines each period.With only five practices heading into the exhibition game, the Gophers used this as a tool to find a certain chemistry between players.
The Gophers split goaltenders Noora Raty and Alyssa Grogan each playing a period and a half. Raty started the game and had three saves, while Grogan had nine saves to close out the shutout.
The Gophers will face the Golden Knights next weekend. It will be the fourth and fifth time the Golden Gophers and the Golden Knights have played each other in the past two years. Clarkson visited Ridder Arena three times last year. Minnesota earned a two-game series sweep over the Golden Knights last November and followed with an NCAA Regional win in March to advance to the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four. Game times for next weekend is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start Friday and at 3 p.m. Saturday.