DULUTH, Minn. - Aiming to hand the University of Minnesota its first defeat in 20 months, the University of Minnesota Duluth gave the top-ranked Gophers all they could handle through two periods of play Friday night. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, who trailed 1-0 heading into the final frame, Minnesota broke the contest open with three third-period tallies to notch a 4-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory before 1,479 at AMSOIL Arena.
UMD received a huge effort from sophomore goaltender Kayla Black, who settled into a groove after coming up with several big saves early. The Gophers fired 13 attempts on net in the first period, and continued to pepper the Blyth, Ontario., native throughout as she finished with 36 saves on 40 shots. The Bulldogs recorded 26 shots but could not solve Minnesota's Amanda Leveille, who recorded the shutout in goal.
After the two clubs spent the majority of the first period battling to get on the board first, the Gophers did just that at the 15-minute mark, slipping one past Black from inside the left circle. Minnesota pressed hard to extend its edge and outshot UMD 14-to-6 in the middle segment, but found itself clinging to a 1-0 lead at the second intermission. The stress of that situation for the visitors dissipated when Meghan Lorence found the back of the net just nine seconds into the third period before the Gophers went on to add a pair of insurance markers.
"That was a tough one. It hurt," said Bulldog senior captain Jamie Kenyon. "We had them on the ropes and they were flustered in their zone. Then they came out in the third period and scored nine seconds in. We kept our heads up and tried to come back from it. You try to keep your head up and keep going, but it's hard when they get up 3-0."
Each team collected two penalties on the evening, with both clubs going 0-for-2 with the player advantage. UMD (2-2-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the WCHA) has yet to surrender a power-play goal in 25 chances faced this winter. Minnesota (5-0-0; 1-0-0) now owns a 37-24-6 advantage in the all-time series.
The two teams wrap up the two-game set Saturday night with the puck-drop slated for 6:07 p.m.