Menefee’s hat trick pushes Minnesota past Minnesota State

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MINNEAPOLIS — Maryanne Menefee enjoyed the second hat trick of her career as Minnesota defeated Minnesota State and moved into first place in the WCHA.

Menefee scored in each period and tacked on an assist as the Gophers (20-1-3, 13-1-3-1 WCHA) claimed a 7-3 victory.

“She’s so smart; she knows where to go,” Gophers’ coach Brad Frost said. “Lot of nice rebound goals, things that we’ve been focusing on in regards to getting to the net a little more and getting some dirty goals.”

Minnesota State (2-18-1, 0-14-1-0 WCHA) was able to do some damage in the offensive zone, but it just didn’t spend enough time there, getting outshot 54-16.

“It just kind of depended on what was going on out there with the matchups, in terms of if we were going to have success or not,” said Mavericks’ coach Eric Means.

Menefee put the Gophers on top to stay 7:18 into the contest, taking a pass from Hannah Brandt, getting the goaltender down, and roofing a forehand.

“I started noticing that she’d kind of come out, so I tried to delay as much as I could,” Menefee said. “I thought it was going to go wide, but it hit upper corner, so it was super nice.”

Her second goal just 13 seconds into the middle period came as she buried a power-play rebound to up the lead to 3-0, and she completed the trifecta with another rebound goal early in the third frame, her 12th tally of the season.

“I found myself in the right spot, and it’s nice to get those goals when they don’t happen all the time,” Menefee said.

Both of her linemates, Brandt and Dani Cameranesi, finished with three assists. The Gophers also got goals from Meghan Lorence, Cara Piazza, Sydney Baldwin and Rachel Ramsey, but hit a number of lulls in the game.

“It’s definitely hard to get going after the playing the Wisconsin series,” Menefee said.

The Mavericks countered with markers by Kathleen Rogan, Casey Hirsch, and the first collegiate goal for Sara Bustad.

“I thought our younger girls did some good things tonight,” Means said. “The biggest positive I’ve taken out is our younger girls competed.”

For Rogan, it was her third goal since returning from injury after the new year.

“Getting Kathleen back, she’s managed to get a point in every game she’s been back,” Means said. “She adds not only an offensive element, but she’s got speed and she’s extremely smart out there. It’s been nice getting her back.”

The home-and-home series concludes Saturday at All-Seasons Arena.

“We know it will be a lot tougher down in Mankato tomorrow – a tough place to play,” Frost said. “But we’re looking forward to it.”