The Whitecaps began the 2015-2016 season with a strong showing against the defending NCAA National Champion Minnesota Gophers. The Whitecaps scored first and last, in a 5-4 loss in front of 500 fans at Ridder Arena.
Allie Thunstrom put the Whitecaps on top halfway through the first period, as she scored an unassisted goal at 10:32. The Gophers responded with two goals of their own late in the period, as both Kelly Pannek and Hannah Brandt found a way to beat Whitecaps goaltender and former Gopher, Noora Raty. Pannek tipped a shot from Milica McMillen, while Brandt was in the right place at the right time, as a Sarah Potomak centering pass deflected off Brandt's skates with 49 seconds left in the period.
The Gophers scored twice in the second, on another Brandt goal and Pannek power play tally, before Thunstrom struck again for the Whitecaps at 12:04 of the middle frame. She tipped a shot off the stick of co-captain Winny (Brodt) Brown. Rachael Bona was credited with the second assist.
The Whitecaps outscored the Gophers in the final period, as Jocelyn Lamoureux fired a wicked wrist shot past goaltender Sidney Peters at 5:13 on a Whitecaps power play. Kate Schipper buried the eventual game-winner for the Gophers about six minutes later on a breakaway to put her team up 5-3. But with the goaltender pulled, the Whitecaps continued to battle, and co-captain Brooke White-Lancette buried a pass from Meghan Lorence with 5 seconds left in the game to make the final score 5-4.
The Whitecaps travel to St. Cloud State University to take on the Huskies on Saturday, September 26th at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, MN. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm, and the game will be broadcast locally on Charter channel 823.