MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Nicole Schammel scored twice and Sydney Scobee made a career-high 37 saves to lead the No. 2 Golden Gopher women's hockey team to a 3-1 win over top-ranked Wisconsin in front of a sold-out crowd at Ridder Arena on Saturday evening.
Minnesota (22-3-1, 12-3-1-0 WCHA) bounced back to earn a series split following a 2-1 loss in game one of the Border Battle series on Friday. Along with Schammel's three-point game (2g-1a), the Gophers received two points each from Sophie Skarzynski (1g-1a) and Grace Zumwinkle (2a).
Scobee made 37 saves in her seventh win of the season as the Gophers were outshot for just the third time this season. Wisconsin (21-3-0, 11-3-0-0 WCHA) had a 38-25 advantage in shots on goal and received 22 saves from Kristen Campbell. Sophie Shirley scored the Badgers' lone goal.
"It was an awesome game tonight in an awesome atmosphere," head coach Brad Frost said. "I loved the compete level from our team today, as compared to yesterday. We were much more composed, we were able to break the puck out better, and we performed better offensively.
"Great performance by Sydney Scobee in the net, helped by some big goals from Nicole Schammel and that line. We made some changes to our line, and we seemed to produce a lot more. I thought Kelly Pannek was as good as she's been all year. I'm really proud of our team. We played the way that we know we can, and the result showed. We're very excited about the win here today."
"It feels really great to win," Scobee added. "You can't help but thank your teammates. They did so much in front of me and overall this was a great team win. We really wanted this one. If we see them again down the road, hopefully we play with the same intensity."
The Gophers took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission off Skarzynski's third goal of the season. Schammel dropped a pass back to Skarzynski as she moved into the UW zone, and Skarzynski fired a shot from the top of the circle that beat Campbell with 4:16 remaining in the opening period. Zumwinkle picked up the second assist on the play.
The teams exchanged goals in the second period. Schammel extended Minnesota's lead to two at the 12:38 mark of the middle frame with a wild goal that bounced off Campbell straight up the air and found its way into the net behind her on the way down. However, Shirley got one back for the visitors just 21 seconds later.
Minnesota entered the third period leading 2-1, and the Gophers improved to 19-0-0 when leading after two periods. Schammel scored her second of the game and ninth of the season off a cross-ice pass from Zumwinkle at the 6:08 mark of the third period to once again extend the Gophers' lead, and the Maroon & Gold did not look back.
"It was an overall great team performance," Schammel said. "I was lucky enough to score a couple of goals, but my linemates did a really good job of getting me the puck and overall our team just played really hard. We dropped the game yesterday, so we knew we wanted to come out hard, so that's always great."
Two of the nation's top special teams units collided in the Border Battle series with both teams' penalty kills outdoing the opposition's power plays. Minnesota was 0-for-4 on the power play but held the Badgers scoreless on five power play opportunities.
"Our team was blocking shots, we were getting great saves from our goaltender, and we were clearing pucks," Frost said of Minnesota's penalty kill. "We did a much better job of being aggressive on those loose pucks here tonight, being able to clear them."
Minnesota travels to Columbus, Ohio, for its second series of the regular season with No. 5 Ohio State next week. The Gophers and Buckeyes face off at OSU Ice Rink at 5:07 p.m. CT Friday, Jan. 25 and 2:07 p.m. CT on Saturday, Jan. 26.