MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The No. 1 Minnesota women's hockey team skated to a 4-1 win over visiting St. Cloud State in game one of the WCHA first round best-of-three series at Ridder Arena Friday night.
Junior Meghan Lorence (Mounds View, Minn.) led Minnesota (33-1-1) with three points on a goal and two assists, while Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top-10 finalists Rachael Bona (Coon Rapids, Minn.) and Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) each recorded two assists.
St. Cloud State (4-26-5, 3-21-4-2 WCHA) received 39 saves from junior goaltender Julie Friend as Minnesota outshot the Huskies, 43-17. Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille (Kingston, Ont.) made 16 saves for the Gophers.
After the teams played a scoreless first period, the Gophers and Huskies combined for four goals in the second period. Minnesota added one goal in the third period to seal the victory.
Sophomore Maryanne Menefee (Lansing, Mich.) gave the Gophers a 1-0 lead when she scored her fifth goal in her last three games at the 25-second mark of the second period. Lorence and Brandt assisted on the play.
Lorence extended Minnesota's lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal at 14:25 of the second period. Bona and sophomore Milica McMillen (St. Paul, Minn.) picked up assists as Bona registered her 100th career point as a Gopher.
The Gophers extended their lead to 3-0 on a power-play goal by freshman Kate Schipper (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) at 17:30 before St. Cloud State got on the board with a tally by Julia Gilbert at 18:02. Minnesota took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
Junior Rachel Ramsey (Chanhassen, Minn.) scored her 10th goal of the season to extend Minnesota's lead back to three at 4-1 with 16:42 remaining in the third period.
The Gophers were 2-for-3 on the power play while holding SCSU scoreless on two opportunities with the man advantage.
Prior to Friday's game, the Gophers welcomed 2014 Olympians Lee Stecklein and Anne Schleper back to Ridder Arena. The duo earned silver medals with Team USA in Sochi, Russia, along with fellow Gophers Megan Bozek, Amanda Kessel and Gigi Marvin. Finnish Gophers Noora Raty and Mira Jalosuo also competed in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Minnesota and St. Cloud State face off at 4:07 p.m. CT Friday in game two of the best-of-three series. If necessary, game three will be played at 4:07 p.m. CT Sunday. The winner of the series advances to the 2014 WCHA Final Face-off March 7-8 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn.