DULUTH, Minn. - The University of Minnesota Duluth will have to wait at least another week to notch its first Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory of the season. Top-ranked Minnesota used a powerful offensive display to make sure of that on Saturday, upending the Bulldogs by a 6-3 margin to put the finishing touches on the series sweep at AMSOIL Arena.
Special teams proved to be the difference in the contest, as the Gophers (6-0-0 overall and 2-0-0 in the WCHA) cashed in on three of their six power-play opportunities while No. 7 UMD (2-3-1; 0-3-1) came up empty in six chances of its own. Coming into Saturday, the Bulldogs had successfully killed off all 25 short-handed situations faced this winter.
After spotting Minnesota a 1-0 lead less than five minutes in, UMD pulled even on sophomore center Hannah Bramm's first marker of the year. The Gophers wasted no time striking back moments later, grabbing a 2-1 lead and taking it into the first intermission. Two straight Gopher goals to open the second made it 4-1 Minnesota before Jenna McParland (who set Bramm up in the first) got the Bulldogs within a pair on her team-leading fifth tally of the season.
The Gophers quickly stretched their lead to four goals in the third, burying once at even-strength and again in on the power-play to go up 6-2. UMD continued to battle down the stretch, eventually getting rewarded on rookie defender Sidney Morin's first collegiate goal 14:16 to go in regulation. The Bulldogs, however, would not get any closer before the final buzzer sounded.
Minnesota piled up 37 shots on goal on the night, forcing UMD sophomore netminder Kayla Black to make 31 stops. Amanda Leveille made 27 saves on 30 shots faced to record the win in net.
Next up for the Bulldogs is a weekend on the road to lock horns with Minnesota State University-Mankato. The puck will drop on that two-game WCHA set next Friday at 7:07 p.m.