Meghan Lorence scored the game-winning goal and had two assists as the Gophers defeated St. Cloud State 4-1 Friday at Ridder Arena in the opener of a best-of-three, first-round WCHA playoff series.
The victory for the No. 1-rated Gophers (33-1-1) was their fifth over the Huskies this season and extended Minnesota’s unbeaten streak to 21 games.
Maryanne Menefee put the Gophers ahead 1-0 at 25 seconds of the second period. Two power-play goals — by Lorence at 14:25, her fifth in three games, and Kate Schipper at 17:30 — increased Minnesota’s lead to 3-0.
Outshot 18-4 in the second, the Huskies’ Julia Gilbert scored with 1:58 left in the period.
Defenseman Rachel Ramsey scored early in the third for the Gophers.
“A good way to start off the playoffs,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “A hard-fought win there tonight. We were inches off from a couple goals there in the first. In the second to get one quick was obviously big and a couple power-play goals there.”
Sophomore goalie Amanda Leveille of the Gophers made 16 saves. Julie Friend stopped 39 shots for St. Cloud State (4-26-5).