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Minnesota steamrolls Hamline in rare D-I/D-III match-up

Taylor Heise, Grace Zumwinkle, and the Potomak sisters shone as brightly as ever in this in-state exhibition game

NCAA HOCKEY: MAR 24 Div I Women’s Championship - Minnesota v Wisconsin Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a rare mid-week game, the Golden Gophers toppled D-III neighbor and fourth ranked Hamline University in a nine goal blowout that ended in a perfect game for untested freshman goaltender Makayla Pahl.

Pahl, a Minnesota native, clocked all sixty minutes and made 13 saves for the Gophers, while Hamline cycled through a different netminder each period in an effort to both refresh their net and try to stem the bleeding.

Gopher Amy Potomak drew first blood on sophomore goaltender Jaela O’Brien — and showed no signs of slowing down after her shootout stunner vs. Wisconsin the previous weekend — by scoring the game-winner just seven and a half minutes into the first frame. Shortly after, the goals began to add up, as junior phenom Grace Zumwinkle and sophomore powerhouse Catie Skaja tallied points within a minute of each other to make the score 3-0. With an unassisted rocket of a shot, Taylor Heise notched her first of the evening just minutes later, and you’ll have to take a look for yourself at the ease of Heise’s shot.

In came junior goaltender McKenna Hulslander for Hamline, and she was able to quench the onslaught a little bit, but not enough for the Pipers’ offense to get going. Two minutes into the second period and Zumwinkle notched her second goal of the game, bringing the score to 5-0. Abigail Boreen then managed to tuck a loose puck in behind a sprawling Hulslander for her first of the game, and not a minute later, Heise tacked on another goal off a behind-the-net feed from Sarah Potomak.

The third period saw freshman Maddie Nickell take the ice for the Pipers. The Gophers were still hungry, though, and just six minutes into the final frame, hats came raining down in Minneapolis as Heise tallied her third of the game and her fourth point of the night. Eight wasn’t enough for the Gophers, and sophomore defender Crystalyn Hengler wanted in on the action too. She scored her first of the season to bring the score to a crushing 9-0.

The Pipers are coached by US Olympian, Hall of Famer, and former Golden Gopher Natalie Darwitz. Darwitz is in her fifth season at the helm of the team, and looks to lead Hamline to its third consecutive D-III Frozen Four appearance in 2020. Despite the tough loss, Hamline opens the season ranked fourth behind SUNY-Plattsburgh and Adrian and Elmira Colleges.