The debut of freshman defenseman Madeline Wethington has been long-awaited by Minnesota fans. On Friday night, she finally took the ice in her first official game for the Golden Gophers and it didn’t take long for the three-time U18 gold medalist, Minnesota Ms. Hockey winner, and WCHA preseason rookie of the year to start living up to her considerable hype.
Just past the midway point of the first period, Wethington broke up a Colgate rush in her own zone, grabbed the puck, and skated it down the ice into the offensive zone. As she crossed into the Colgate zone, she let loose a heavy wrist shot that fooled Colgate goalie Liz Auby and trickled past the goalie for a score.
That was the game’s first goal, and would stand as the game-winner as Minnesota opened their season with a 2-0 victory over Colgate.
Sarah Potomak finished off a nice pass from center Taylor Wente for the game’s other goal in the second period, and goalies Alex Gulstene and Sydney Scobee combined for a 14-save shutout.
Minnesota moves to 1-0-0 on the young season, while Colgate, who opened the season with a victory over Holy Cross last week, falls to 1-1-0. The two teams will complete their series on Saturday evening.
Notes and Thoughts:
-Minnesota senior defenseman Patti Marshall was listed on the line chart pre-game, but did not dress for the game. With her out, Minnesota rotated their five defensemen throughout the game, and they had a really strong game.
They potentially have another option in senior Katie Robinson, who has been a defenseman in the past, but Robinson stuck with Minnesota’s fourth forward line all night, which I believe only played one shift in the game.
Meanwhile, Alex Gulstene got the start in goal, but was replaced by Sydney Scobee after the first period, and was not on the bench for the rest of the game.
-There was a little bit of early-season sloppiness for Minnesota in the first period. Colgate, who had already played a real game, came out really hard and aggressive and did a nice job forcing some turnovers in the Minnesota zone. I felt like the game’s first goal, which wasn’t necessarily a terrible goal, but probably a puck that should be stopped, really took some wind out of Colgate’s sails.
In the second period and third period, Minnesota was able to sustain some more pressure in the Colgate zone, and while Colgate’s defense did a great job at limiting quality chances, it eventually led to Potomak’s second goal.
-Overall, it was a really solid effort by Minnesota against what I think will be a very good Colgate team. The Raiders are incredibly young. Besides senior goalie Auby, Colgate only dressed three juniors and one senior. Their top power play unit was four freshman and a sophomore. They brought in the top-ranked recruiting class in the country—granted, that is helped by some of the traditional powers bringing in small classes—and while I don’t think they have a real superstar player in the group, they have probably four or five really, really good freshmen that are going to carry their program over the next four years.
I think they lack a real high-end scoring threat, but their depth should put them in a position that they’re competing for an NCAA berth at the end of the year.
12:07 Madeline Wethington unassisted 1-0 Minnesota
Wethington broke up a Colgate rush in her own zone, and then skated the puck up the ice and through the neutral zone. She took a long wrist shot as she crossed the Colgate blueline that found a way to sneak through Colgate’s goalie.
18:44 Sarah Potomak from Taylor Wente and Amy Potomak 2-0 Minnesota
Wente got the puck at the left side of the net and fed a pass across the front of the net to a wide open Potomak at the right side for an easy goal.