Bemidji, Minn. - The Gophers have one of the best power plays in the country.
And they scored on it twice in the second period to beat North Dakota 3-1 on Saturday in the championship game of the WCHA’s Final Face-off at the Sanford Center.
Defenseman Rachel Ramsey tied the score at 10 minutes, 48 seconds and Hannah Brandt, the conference’s Player of the Year, scored the winner at 14:12.
Brandt’s goal was her team-leading 22nd of the season. Ramsey had one of the assists, Dani Cameranesi the other.
Cameranesi added an empty-net goal with 1:16 to play in the third.
The Gophers were 2-for-3 on the power play, UND 1-for-1, scoring after Sarah Davis took a tripping penalty. Minnesota came into the game scoring on 32.9 percent of its power play — almost nine percent higher than anyone else — while North Dakota was 15th at 16.7 percent.
With the victory, the No. 1-rated Gophers (36-1-1) get the WCHA’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Not that there was any doubt Minnesota, the two-time defending NCAA champion, would get in even with a loss.
North Dakota (20-12-4) took a 1-0 lead in the third minute of the middle period on Josefine Jakobsen’s power-play goal. But Gophers goalie Amanda Leveille stopped everything else and finished with 20 saves.
Shelby Amsley-Benzie was much busier in the UND net. She made 41 saves, 17 in the second period.
The Gophers beat Minnesota Duluth 4-1 on Friday in the semifinals, North Dakota upset second-seeded Wisconsin 1-0.
Saturday’s victory extended the Gophers unbeaten streak to 24 games (23-0-1) since a loss to North Dakota in November which seems like a long time ago.