DULUTH, Minn. - It was the first time in program history the No. 7 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team entered a game ranked lower than the No. 6 University of North Dakota and the Bulldogs play Saturday afternoon spoke volumes of what they thought of that ranking.
UMD used three goals in the second period to break open a scoreless contest and never looked back in a 6-1 scoring route of UND at AMSOIL Arena. While the shots were never heavily in favor of either squad - the Bulldogs finished with 38, North Dakota with 32 - the physical skate was all UMD from the first face-off.
"We put a complete game together offensively and defensively and that is key," said head coach Shannon Miller, who is now 34-4-0 all-time against North Dakota. "We prepared our team for a very fast and physical game, and we showed them a lot of game tape on North Dakota. For the most part, I thought we were really disciplined."
UMD opened the second period with three unanswered tallies in the first ten minutes, the first of which came just 1:19 into action. Rookie defenseman Brigette Lacquette drove to the net and junior forward Katie Wilson buried the puck in traffic to give the Bulldogs the 1-0 lead. Then 2:06 later, freshman forward Jenna McParland intercepted the puck inside UND's defensive zone and walked in alone on North Dakota goaltender Stephanie Ney. McParland beat Ney over her left shoulder to double UMD's advantage. Pernilla Winberg stretched the Bulldog lead to 3-0 at the 9:04 mark on a short-handed goal - UMD's first of the season. UND was unable to clear the zone and the puck sat down just inside North Dakota's blueline when WInberg pounced on it and skated in to slot it to Ney's lower left side.
"When you are winning 2-0, the next goal for either team is huge," said Miller. "To get that goal on penalty kill was significant, it gives your team a huge lift and it gives you a lot of confidence."
Wilson struck again 5:10 into the third period with a goal in the outside of the crease through chaos. North Dakota finally got on the board at 10:59 with a power-play tally by Jocelyne Lamoureux, but Wilson notched the second hat-trick of her career 4:22 later. The power-play goal sealed UMD's 6-1 win, and the Bulldogs got their second win against a top-ranked team this season.
With 32 minutes of penalties between the two teams, including 20 minutes on 10 penalties charged to UMD, the Bulldogs held North Dakota to just 1-of-9 on the power-play, while going 1-of-5 in their own right. UMD netminder Jennifer Harss made 27 saves for the Bulldogs, who improve to 4-3-0 overall and 1-2-0 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while Stephanie Ney had 26 stops for now 5-4-0, 2-3-0 North Dakota.
Both teams will face-off again tomorrow afternoon at AMSOIL, with a 3:07 p.m. scheduled start. The Bulldogs won both their opening series games against UND a season ago, but dropped the second contest of each series, something UMD knows it can't afford to do Sunday.
"I think this game especially, we listened to our coach and did what she told us, to do," said Wilson after the game. "I think we had a really good talk after the game about bringing two good games back-to-back. It is really important we go home tonight and focus and finish the weekend off."