– Team captain Kelly Pannek’s hat trick carried the No. 2 Gophers women’s hockey team to a 6-3 victory over Bemidji State on Friday afternoon in the first game of their WCHA series at the Sanford Center.

Pannek, a senior from Benilde-St. Margaret’s, scored three consecutive goals. The first, with 5 minutes, 38 seconds left in the opening period, gave the Gophers a 3-2 lead.

She followed that one with the only two goals of the second. The eventual game-winner came on a power play at 8:37. And just over six minutes later, Pannek got her hat trick, giving her 14 goals this season.

Her linemates also had big games. Sarah Potomak had a goal and two assists and Amy Potomak, her sister, three assists.

Taylor Wente had two goals for Minnesota (28-4-1, 18-4-1 WCHA), the first 26 seconds in, and an empty-netter with 18 seconds to play.

The Beavers (13-18-2, 10-11-2) tied the score at 2-all in the middle of the first period on goals from Lindsey Featherstone and Paige Beebe. Abby Halluska had Bemidji State’s other goal at 28 seconds of the third.

Alex Gulstene stopped 29 shots for the Gophers, Lauren Bench 25 for the Beavers.

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