MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) – Amanda Kessel recorded two assists in her first college hockey game in almost three years, and Amanda Leveille made 29 saves in her sixth shutout of the season as the University of Minnesota women's hockey team defeated  North Dakota, 3-0 Friday night.

Hannah Brandt scored the game-winning goal on the power play midway through the first period, and defensemen Sydney Baldwin and Sophie Skarzynski added goals in the second and third as Minnesota (25-3-0, 20-3-0 WCHA) secured its 25th win of the season.

Kessel's return was the arguably the most exciting part of the night for Gopher fans. Her appearance marked her first collegiate game since playing in the 2013 NCAA national championship game on March 24, 2013. The Madison, Wis., native took a redshirt year in 2013-14 to represent the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Kessel then missed the 2014-15 season while recovering from a concussion. The 2015-16 season marks her final year of eligibility.

"When we started Kessel tonight, it was pretty emotional," Frost said. "To see our team support Amanda with their stick taps the way they did and hear the crowd -- I don't think I've heard it that loud since we won the national championship here. So many people were just so excited to see her work her way back to where she is now."

Minnesota and North Dakota wrap up this weekend's series at 4 p.m. CT Saturday afternoon at Ridder Arena.

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