Women’s hockey: Grace Zumwinkle’s hat trick leads Gophers

Women’s hockey: Grace Zumwinkle’s hat trick leads Gophers

Gophers senior Grace Zumwinkle is playing like she doesn’t want her career to end.

“Yeah,” she said, “that’s the goal.”

Grace Zumwinkle (University of Minnesota)

Zumwinkle scored a hat trick, and freshman Abbey Murphy added a goal and two assists as No. 4 Minnesota overwhelmed Bemidji State 6-1 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji on Friday.

It was Zumwinkle’s third collegiate hat trick, and she leads the Gophers with 15 goals with one regular-season game remaining. She has six goals and an assist in her past six games and is tied for 10th in program history with 82 career goals, matching Emily West (2007-12).

“She’s been our most consistent forward all year, and not just because she’s scoring goals,” coach Brad Frost said. “She just plays with such speed, she pressures the puck and uses her size to her advantage. Those are all great attributes that she has.”

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Gophers (10-7-1), who vacillated between great and terrible while getting swept by No. 2 Ohio State last weekend at Ridder Arena. In Sunday’s 3-2 loss, they scored two goals in the first period and gave up three in the second period.

On Friday, the Gophers never let up against the scoring-challenged Beavers (2-13-2). The WCHA’s last-place team has three goals in its past six games.

“We learned the hard way against Ohio State in the second period,” Zumwinkle said. “We scored three in our first nine shots and we kept the pedal down. Last week we didn’t, and it bit us in the butt.”

Crystalyn Hengler and Abigail Boreen also scored goals for the Gophers, and blue liner Olivia Knowles added two assists. Goaltender Lauren Bench stopped 15 shots against her former team.

Taylor Nelson scored for Bemidji State.

The Gophers finish the regular season with a 3:07 p.m. puck drop against the Beavers (2-13-2) on Saturday, then they’re off until the WCHA Final Faceoff semifinals March 6 at Ridder.

“We continued to stay with it and extended the lead,” Frost said. “That’s what we wanted to see tonight. We played a complete hockey game here tonight.”

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