For the 29th consecutive game, the Gophers women’s hockey team beat Minnesota State Mankato on Saturday afternoon.
But this time, it was close. Again. The No. 3-ranked Gophers edged the struggling Mavericks 3-2 to keep them winless in the WCHA this season. Junior defenseman Megan Wolfe gave Minnesota a 3-0 lead at 13 minutes, 9 seconds of the second period.
The Mavericks rallied in the third period, scoring twice. Anna Keys got the visitors’ first goal at 9:56. Teammate Lindsey Coleman made it a one-goal game with her first goal this season at 17:51.
“I thought Mankato played a very sound, disciplined game here tonight,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “They stayed within striking distance.
“We had our chances there early in the first and weren’t able to capitalize. Mankato gained some confidence and some momentum from that. Even though we got up 3-0 in the second, they did a really good job of blocking shots and their goaltender making saves even though we had quite a bit of possession.”
Amanda Leveille made 23 saves for the Gophers, Brianna Quade 32 for the Mavericks, who lost to Minnesota 11-1 and 2-1 in late November in Mankato.
The victory for the Gophers (19-3, 14-3 WCHA) extended their home unbeaten streak to 28 games and gave Frost 277 career coaching wins, one shy of the program record held by Laura Halldorson.
There were only two penalties in the game, both against MSU Mankato (3-18-2, 0-16-1), and they were costly coming 25 seconds apart in the second period.
Fifty-five seconds into the Gophers’ two-man advantage, Kelly Pannek scored at 8:11. And then, 21 seconds later with her team still one man up, Dani Cameranesi scored at 8:36.
Pannek’s goal was her 17th of the season, Cameranesi’s her 22nd.
“They chipped away at the lead and made it interesting at the end,” Frost said. “We’ll have to come out a little better here tomorrow with a little more passion and heart.”