Waffles run away from St. Thomas at first programs reunion – Twin Cities
The Minnesota and St. Thomas women’s hockey teams played for the first time on Saturday as the Tommies this season take the Division III MIAC giant leap to Division I’s top conference, WCHA.
The Gophers greeted their closest new rival with 58 shots on goal.
âIt was fun,â said St. Thomas goaltender Alexa Dobchuck.
Most goaltenders, if not all, wouldn’t think so, but 2021-22 has been a unique season for St. Thomas as they ride the wave of unique opportunity and relish gradual improvement.
Dobchuk stopped 50 shots in Minnesota’s 8-0 win at Ridder Arena, the first of a two-way series that continues to 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Thomas Ice Arena. May be.
Both teams were without key players on Saturday after COVID testing. The Gophers took two off the ice during warm-ups and played a good chunk of Saturday’s game with four on the blue line.
âWe’ll see where it all leads,â Gophers coach Brad Frost said.
The two teams await the results of the tests on Sunday morning.
“Things change hour by hour,” said Marty Sertich, one of the two assistants who run the Tommies program while Joel Johnston coaches the US Olympic team. “We definitely plan to play tomorrow.”
The fifth-seeded Gophers (15-5-1, 10-4-1 WCHA) are eager to maintain the momentum they’ve built since recovering from a 1-3 start. Saturday was their first game since a 2-1 win over No.8 Minnesota Duluth on December 11. COVID issues have derailed the Gophers’ 2020-21 season with player absences and scheduling issues. In the end, Minnesota was excluded from the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006-07.
This is unlikely to be the case this season. Minnesota has already claimed victories over the Bulldogs, Wisconsin in first place and Colgate in third place. The Gophers on Saturday took a 4-0 first-period lead thanks to goals from Madeline Wethington, Savannah Norcross, Abigail Boreen and Peyton Hemp and kept the pressure on all night.
âIt felt good,â said Abigail Boreen, who scored two goals. âWe resumed training last Saturday and got to work. In the second half we have to get to work.
Norcross finished with two goals and Wethington added two assists. Ella Huber and Amy Potomak also scored goals for the Gophers, and Maggie Nicholson had three assists.
Still, the Tommies felt good afterwards. They were down 4-0 after two periods and felt good to have been better on Sunday. They are 4-14-1, 2-12-1 in WCHA, but they are enjoying the race and are optimistic about the future.
âThe second half, we were going. We were going, âsaid Breija Parent, a sophomore at Tommies, who was playing her first game since transferring from Minnesota Duluth. âAnd we have so much more to contribute. Every period we’ve improved, and if we play the way we can I think it could be a different game. I think we will learn from today and improve a lot.
Dobchuk, a junior from Eden Prairie, stopped just about every type of shot – slapshots, wrist shots, fumbles, deflections and three in one on none. Halfway through the first period, Minnesota had a slim lead in shots on goal, 7-6, but by the end of the game it was 58-16 Gophers.
âWe had a month’s hiatus andâ¦ had captain’s practice because the coaches couldn’t be on the ice,â said Dobchuk. âEveryone got involved and worked hard, and I think that’s kind of what our team is all about.
âYeah, everyone has a varied background, but we’re going to work hard, we’re going to show up every day, and we’re going to do that little extra, and if you get your hands on the puck, we’re gonna be everywhere. I think that’s kind of what we can expect for the rest of the season.
This weekend marks the end of a 10-game glove against female hockey royalty, the top teams in the nation’s best conference: No.1 Wisconsin, No.2 Ohio State, No.5 Minnesota and No.8 Minnesota Duluth. The Tommies are 0-9 against those four teams, outscored 54-5, but there have been wins in there too – in the standings and elsewhere.
âObviously, we didn’t know what to expect at the start of the year. But from day one it’s a really special group with an amazing work ethic and attitude no matter what, âsaid Sertich. âWe’ve had so many little wins along the way, and I’m not talking about wins and losses – although we did have a few wins, which were great. But the gratitude for being a part of this program and this adventure has been such a fun thing to be a part of, and it’s being led by these players.