Leveille shuts out Minnesota-Duluth in 3-0 win for Gophers

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Amanda Leveille turned in a 26-save shutout and Dani Cameranesi and Hannah Brandt took care of the offense as Minnesota won its first road game of the season, 3-0, over Minnesota-Duluth.

“Overall, it was one of those WCHA games on the road against a very good club,” Minnesota (3-0-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) coach Brad Frost said. “We’re happy with the three points, we’ll put them in the bank, and, hopefully, be a little better tomorrow.”

Cameranesi opened the scoring in the first period and assisted on both of Brandt’s third-period goals.

“They’ve been very productive and done what we needed them to do,” Frost said.

The Gophers’ power play stayed productive as well, scoring on two of its three opportunities.

“That’s good and we’ve got to keep that up, but five-on-five we need to generate a little bit more,” Brandt said.

With Minnesota pressuring on its first power play, a UMD (1-3-1, 0-3-0 WCHA) skater covered the puck in the crease and the Gophers were awarded a penalty shot. Rachael Bona faked and went to her forehand, but Kayla Black stuffed the attempt with her pad.

The Gophers converted on the remaining power play when Cameranesi deflected a pass from Milica McMillen through the five-hole.

“There was literally like five seconds left, and I was like are you [kidding me,]” coach Shannon Miller said.

That proved to be a key sequence in the game.

“After that, just to get the momentum back, we kind of struggled a little bit in the first period, so just to end the period well was big for us,” Brandt said.

The game was five minutes old before Minnesota got its first shot on goal.

“We started a little slow here tonight and had our moments where we had a few lulls, but overall, really gutted it out,” Frost said. “Going into the third with a 1-0 lead and to get two to kind of ice it was big for us.”

Brandt tipped in a Kelsey Cline shot with eight minutes gone in the third period to provide some insurance.

“Our offense was a little lacking today, so we were really looking for that second goal and we finally got it then,” Brandt said.

She picked a corner with 75 seconds remaining to yield the final margin.

While the Gophers were on their heels, Leveille held the fort.

“I thought she was the difference there tonight,” Frost said. “She was by far our best player and made some great saves there.”

One key save in particular was when Leveille denied Jenna McParland in close early.

“I didn’t see her down low, so I got really fortunate that that hit my pad,” Leveille said. “I didn’t play it the greatest, but it didn’t go in the net.”

Black finished with 35 saves.

“We will often have fewer shots than an opponent,” Miller said. “Even the Gophers and Wisconsin, they’ll do that, come over the blue line and just put it on net. So they get more shots than we do, big deal. We’re trying to win.”

The series concludes Saturday at 6:07 p.m. in Amsoil Arena.

“We did a lot of really good things,” Miller said. “The game plan will be similar; we’ve got to continue to stick to the game plan, and then come on, we need a bounce.”