Scoring four goals in the opening period, the No. 2 Gophers women's hockey team defeated St. Cloud State 4-1 on Saturday afternoon at Ridder Arena.
Abbey Murphy, picked the preseason WCHA freshman of the year by conference coaches, scored her second and third goals of the season in the final three minutes of the opening period. Catie Skaja and Taylor Heise had Minnesota's first two goals, four and 11 minutes into the game.
The 5-5 Murphy, a native of Evergreen Park, Ill., won an U16 national title with Chicago Mission and played on the U.S. team than won a gold medal in the U18 Women's World Championship in Russia in 2018, giving her a high profile. And this was her breakout game.
The Gophers (7-1 overall and WCHA) have now won 16 straight versus the Huskies (2-6) and are 46-0-2 against St. Cloud State on their home ice. Minnesota had to rally to win 2-1 in the first game Thursday of this unusual three-game series. The next game is in St. Cloud on Sunday.
After being outshot 19-3 in the opening period, St. Cloud State switched goalies and played a much more competitive second period. The Huskies had a 12-7 shot advantage and scored the only goal at 13:05 when Laura Kluge beat Makayla Pahl, Minnesota's backup goalie who replaced Lauren Bench after the first period.
Neither team scored in the third period when the ice again seemed to tilt the Gophers' way — they held a 15-3 shot advantage.
Two St. Cloud State goalies combined for 37 saves, two Gophers netminders for 17.