Kelly Pannek, the nation's leading scorer among freshman, had the winning goal and two assists as the No. 2 Gophers beat Ohio State 3-1 on Saturday afternoon at Ridder Arena in WCHA women's hockey.
The Gophers' five points this weekend — the teams tied 3-3 on Friday, with Minnesota winning the shootout — clinched home ice for the first round of the conference playoffs.
"We gave a great effort tonight," Gophers coach Brad Frost said. "I'm very proud of the way our players responded, competed and battled. I was really excited to see them respond after getting outbattled for a lot of the game yesterday.
"Great five points on the weekend, and we're looking forward to the week coming up." Minnesota travels to North Dakota next.
Pannek's 11th goal of the season gave Minnesota (24-1-4, 17-1-4-2 Big Ten) a 2-0 lead at 12 minutes, 13 seconds of the middle period.
The 5-8 forward out of Benilde-St. Margaret's also had assists on Kate Schipper's goal at 8:57 of the opening period and Hannah Brandt's power-play goal at 14:50 of the second. Brandt's 24th goal of the season gave the Gophers a 3-0 lead.
"That first goal was a great finish by Schipper," said Frost, who now had 248 career victories in eight seasons. "That was a big goal for her. She needed it. She's been fighting it a little bit."
Schipper's goal was her fifth of the season. She scored on a rebound.
Pannek has 27 assists now for 38 points, which is third on her team behind Brandt (57) and Dani Cameranesi (47).
Defenseman Rachel Ramsey also had two assists.
Ohio State (14-11-3, 9-10-3-1) ended Amanda Leveille's shutout bid when Claudia Kepler scored at 5:29 with both teams a player down.
Leveille made 16 saves as the Gophers extended their unbeaten streak to 19 games, Kassidy Sauve had 41 stops for the Buckeyes.