GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The University of North Dakota women's hockey team opened WCHA play tonight, losing 4-0 to Minnesota Duluth, the league-favorite and current No. 1 team in the nation.
UND (1-2-0, 0-1-0 WCHA) had chances early, but Bulldog goaltender Kim Martin was solid in net with 23 saves in the shutout.
The Sioux expected their team to still be work in progress early in the season with all of the new staff, new players and especially with its first six games coming against highly-ranked opponents. But after reviewing tonight's game tape the frustration will be left in missed opportunities.
"We talked about not beating ourselves and I think we made some costly mistakes," head coach Brian Idalski said. "You have to credit them. They finished off some plays and capitalized off our turnovers. That is what good teams do."
The Bulldogs outshot the Sioux 36-23, but the big number in the game came in blocked shots as UMD got in front of 17 attempts with many of them coming on the penalty kill. Total shots attempted in the game finished with UMD edging the Sioux 50-48.
Before the game Idalski also said "getting off to a good start and feeding off the home crowd". Neither of those came to fruition in front of the fourth largest crowd in program history (2,366).
Sophomore Jorid Dagfinrud (Sarpsborg, Norway) had her strongest game of the season making 32 saves, although allowing four goals, with the first coming at 10:36 of the first period for the early Sioux deficit. On the penalty kill, Dagfinrud was able to make an initial save from the point but was unable to cover the rebound and Jocelyne Larocque got just enough of the rebound to flip it over the netminder.
The Sioux closed out the first period strong looking to get the crowd into the game but with multiple odd-man rushes including a pair of breakaway opportunities, Martin was able to make the stops needed to keep all the momentum on the side of road team.
Including their win over Boston University to open the season, the Sioux have yet to put together a complete game and have struggled to minimize damage at key points in games with opposing teams having strung together at least back-to-back goals in all three games.
Tonight it was four unanswered goals, with three of them coming in the second period, including two goals within a 35-second span.
In what has become a heated rivalry between the two teams, things got physical in the third period behind Sioux net after Katherine Wilson was called for charging the goaltender. Both teams were called for a pair of minor penalties after the minor scrum.
The two teams will face off again on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Ralph Engelstad Arena.