The University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team knew they needed a win after being idle for the last month and fortunately for the Bulldogs, their veterans delivered.
Junior forward Jamie Kenyon scored two goals and forward convert Jessica Wong added two assists as UMD grabbed the 3-1 win over St. Cloud State University Saturday afternoon at AMSOIL Arena. The win puts the Bulldogs at 8-8-3 overall and back in the hunt of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association at 7-7-1. UMD is now just two points behind North Dakota for fourth place in the WCHA, with a chance to take over the spot tomorrow afternoon.
"We knew it would be disjointed, we just needed to win," said head coach Shannon Miller after the game. "We had two practices with the whole team, and I just said play as hard as you can, control the puck as much as you can and just figure out how to win."
It didn't take long for Wong to acclimate to her old forward roots. Wong drove to the outside of the SCSU net and her shot rebounded off the Huskies goaltender Julie Friend and right to Kenyon, who buried the puck just 3:05 into the first period.
"My linemates were really supportive today and I think Wong and I really connect," said Kenyon, who was dealing with flu-like symptoms between shifts during the game. "Wong had the puck and drove wide, she had a lot of speed going and I just knew to go to the net because either she is going to score or she is going to shoot for a rebound. I just knew to go to the net with my stick on the ice and the puck hopped right out and put it away."
The Bulldogs went up 2-0 in the second period when senior forward Pernilla Winberg sprung free with the puck wide on the St. Cloud blueline. Winberg skated directly at Friend, finding the twine above her shoulder for her eighth goal of the season at 4:31.
SCSU's Alex Nelson answered just 24 seconds later, however, collecting her own breakaway rebound against Kayla Black to pull the Huskies to within one goal at 4:55.
After outshooting St. Cloud 31-19 in the first two periods, UMD finally cashed in late in the third period on Kenyon's second tally of the night, an empty net shot from the SCSU blueline that iced the contest at 3-1 and helped UMD draw to .500 on the season.
Black made 24 saves for the Bulldogs in net, while her counterpart for the Huskies, Friend, made 36. Both teams went 0-of-3 on the power play and UMD outshot SCSU 38-25.
Both teams will hit the ice again tomorrow afternoon at AMSOIL to wrap up the series. The game is slated to start at 3:07 pm.
BULLDOG NOTES: UMD raised $5,850 for the Essentia Health Breast Fund with its pink jersey auction Saturday afternoon.