Minnesota scored five-straight power-play goals to start the weekend to help lead the No. 1 Gophers past the No.3/4 University of North Dakota women's hockey team, 3-1, on Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
UND goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie kept the team in the game, making a season-high 39 saves. She also made 19 saves in the third period, a career-high mark for the sophomore netminder.
North Dakota is now 16-7-3 (13-6-3-2 WCHA) and remains third in the WCHA standings with 44 points, while Minnesota improved to 26-1-1 (20-1-1-0 WCHA) and increases its lead in first place with 61 points.
The Gophers took a 1-0 lead late in the first period, when Dani Cameranesi capitalized on Minnesota's fourth-straight power play of the weekend with 10 seconds remaining on the advantage. Besides the lone special-teams tally, it was an even first period of play, with North Dakota unable to convert on either of its two power plays.
Minnesota started to take control of the game in the second period. Cameranesi scored her second of the game, again on the power play, to put the Gophers up 2-0 a little more than halfway through the period.
Meghan Lorence added another goal for the Gophers to give them a 3-0 lead less than five minutes into the third period.
UND started to gain some momentum towards the end of the period and Gracen Hirschy got the team on the board with about three minutes remaining in the game. Hirschy scored off of a scramble in front of the Minnesota crease to cut the lead to 3-1, ending a possible shutout for Minnesota netminder Amanda Leveille.
North Dakota travels to Duluth, Minn., next for a series against Minnesota-Duluth on Feb. 8-9.