Sarah Davis is thankful for the outdoor roots her father instilled in her.
The Gophers women’s hockey forward’s comfort on the ice led to three points, a goal and two assists in the open air of the Hockey City Classic on Friday evening at TCF Bank Stadium. Her offensive outburst fueled a Gophers’ 4-0 shutout over Minnesota State Mankato.
“It brings you back to your roots. I just got a text from my dad saying, ‘I’m glad I taught you everything we did on the pond,’ ” Davis said after the WCHA game.
Davis, a senior from Paradise, Newfoundland, joked that her father taught her nothing on the pond, but the memories were enough to make Friday night’s experience that much more special.
It was special for several Gophers.
Meghan Lorence scored 5:24 into the game and gave the Gophers the only goal they would need. Goaltender Amanda Leveille made 19 saves for her seventh shutout of the season. Rachael Bona scored a goal and had an assist.
“Not many people can say they played outdoor hockey at TCF. I’m just thankful to be part of it,” Bona said.
The Mavericks had the same appreciation for the experience. Burnsville native Lauren Burns called it a “Dream come true” and coach Eric Means categorized it as a “first-class event.”
The Mavericks stayed within a goal until the final two minutes of the second period.
Then Bona and Davis scored back-to-back goals to give the Gophers a 3-0 lead into the second intermission and change the mood of the game. The Mavericks never recovered from the swing of momentum and got off just 19 shots on goal all night.
The Gophers piled up 51 shots on goal and scored two power-play goals.
The sun set over the Gophers’ end of the ice as they warmed up for the outdoor affair. The last bit had disappeared from the ice by game time. Without the sun, it cooled down quickly.
Bona touched on how her lungs burned in the chilly conditions. Davis said it felt like her lungs were bleeding and the color of her face matched the Gophers’ maroon.
It didn’t take long for the the home to adapt to the outdoor conditions, though, with the early goal from Lorence. Jordyn Burns scored the final goal with a little more than a minute left in the game.
“It was an incredible night,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “It was wonderful to be part of it.”