Golden Gophers Start 20-0 on Strength of Amanda Kessel's Hat Trick

Mark Staffieri@@MarkStaff100Contributor IIDecember 9, 2012

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Only one word can define the Minnesota Golden Gophers' 20-0 start to the season: WOW!

The latest team to fall at the hands of the Golden Gophers was the Bemidji State Beavers. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that the contest was on the road. Amanda Kessel logged a hat trick to give her 25 goals on the season as the Golden Gophers dumped the Beavers by a convincing 5-0 tally. The shutout gave Noora Raty a career shutout of 34, and a career win of 94, as she inches closer to breaking Hillary Pattenden’s all-time wins record of 100.

For most of the first period, the Beavers played a stout defensive contest. They even managed to take the first three shots of the contest.

Gophers skater Sarah Davis was called for a penalty at the 55 second mark. Not intimidated, the Gophers successfully killed the penalty along with a slashing call to Becky Kortum. Gophers senior defender Mira Jalosuo opened the scoring for the powerhouse Gophers at the 17:12 mark. With 40 seconds left in the period, Amanda Kessel scored on Jessica Havel.

Heading into the second stanza, Amanda Kessel extended the lead by a 3-0 mark. With a slashing penalty to Natasha Kostenko, she would capitalize on the power play.

The third and final frame found the first fifteen minutes consist of scoreless play. Despite the Beavers' best efforts to neutralize the Gophers attack, Becky Kortum made it 4-0 at the 15:53 mark. One minute and forty seconds later, Kessel would get the hat trick, as Hannah Brandt earned her second assist of the contest.

A point of concern was five penalties on the part of the Gophers. In addition, the Gophers only won 22 of 43 faceoffs. With the second half featuring North Dakota, Wisconsin (who held Hannah Brandt pointless on December 2) and a surprising Ohio State Buckeyes team, the Gophers will need to be very disciplined and not commit careless penalties.

The fans at the Sanford Center also watched history as their Bemidji State Beavers fell on December 7 by a 5-1 mark. The December 7 loss represented the Gophers extending their road record wins streak to a sterling 16 contests.

Five different Gophers scored in the contest, including Hannah Brandt, who logged number 19 on the season. Although Natasha Kostenko broke up Noora Raty's bid for a shutout, the Gophers prevailed by a 5-1 mark.

January 11, 2013 will mark the Gophers' return to the rink. Ridder Arena will host the Lamoureux twins and the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. The Lamoureux twins played for the Gophers in the 2008-09 season, and this will be the last time the Lamoureuxes will play at Ridder as North Dakota members. The dynamic duo may be the best chance at ending the Golden Gophers' magical run.