MANKATO, Minn. --- Minnesota State pulled within one after the second period but was ultimately unable to overcome No. 4/5 North Dakota as UND scored twice in the first and third periods to claim a 5-2 victory Friday evening at All Seasons Arena.
MSU slips to 6-11-0 overall and 3-10-0 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play, and UND improves to 11-4-2 on the year and 8-3-2-1 in the league.
North Dakota jumped out to a two-goal lead after 20 minutes of action with a pair of markers in the final five minutes of the first period. Freshman Gracen Hirschy buried a centering pass from sophomore Meghan Dufault between the pads of sophomore netminder Erin Krichiver (Chicago, Ill.) at 16:17. Then UND connected on the power-play at 18:55 when Dufault found sophomore Becca Kohler who slipped a wrist shot from the slot between Krichiver's glove and the right post.
Minnesota State trimmed the deficit to one at 3-2 in the second period as goals by a pair of MSU juniors bookended a UND marker. Junior Casey Hirsch (Maple Grove, Minn.) converted her first goal of the season after a North Dakota turnover when she beat sophomore goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie high on the left side at 12:27. UND junior Andrea Dalen answered back at 15:40 with a wrist shot off the left post and in, but the Mavericks fired back with just 39 seconds remaining in the frame. Senior Kari Lundberg's (Woodbury, Minn.) shot from the right circle was stopped by Amsley-Benzie, but junior Natalie Stoltz (St. Paul, Minn.) slammed home the rebound to bring MSU within one.
However, the Mavericks were unable to complete the comeback as North Dakota added two additional goals in the third period to cement the 5-2 victory. After a MSU turnover, Dufault added an insurance goal at 6:03 with a wrist shot into the right side, before senior Michelle Karvinen chipped in an empty-net tally at 19:21.
Krichiver stood tall for the Mavericks in net all night amassing a career-high 40 saves for Minnesota State who was unable to convert on three power-play opportunities. North Dakota ended one-of-one on the advantage, while Amsley-Benzie stopped 15 saves for UND.
The pair of conference foes will conclude the series tomorrow afternoon at 3:07 p.m., back inside All Seasons Arena.