Maryanne Menefee scored two goals, only 1 minute, 43 seconds apart early in the second period, to lead the No. 2-ranked Gophers over Minnesota State Mankato 5-1 on Saturday afternoon at Ridder Arena.
With the victory, Minnesota (31-2-4) wins the best-of-three WCHA quarterfinal series. The Gophers won 10-0 on Friday.
“Win and advance is kind of the theme as you get to the playoffs,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “Obviously, we had just a terrible start here.”
The Mavericks outshot the Gophers 15-3 in the scoreless opening period.
“We really lacked energy, lacked jump,” Frost said, “and on the flip side, Mankato played extremely hard, as any team would when their season is on the line.”
Kelly Pannek gave the Gophers a 3-0 lead at 16:12 of the second period. Hannah Brandt, who had a hat trick in the first game, and Rachael Bona scored for the Gophers in the first 10 minutes of the third.
Minnesota State Mankato (3-32-1) avoided shutout on Kathleen Rogan’s goal at 11:23 of the third.
Goalies Amanda Leveille and Shyler Sletta combined for 34 saves for the Gophers. Erin Krichiver had 31 saves for the Mavericks.
Next the Gophers advance to their 16th consecutive WCHA Final Faceoff, where they are the three-time defending champions, on Saturday and next Sunday in Grand Forks, N.D.