GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A five-minute major for checking from behind in the first period was a decisive factor in Saturday's game against Ohio State, as the University of North Dakota women's hockey team conceded a two-goal lead in the opening frame and was unable to recover, losing 2-1 to the Buckeyes at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
"I thought that (Ohio State) came out with a lot of energy, and obviously that five-minuter to put us down five-on-three was a big turning point in the game," head coach Brian Idalski said. "We even felt like in the second that if we got pucks to the net and we were patient, that we were going to get opportunities."
North Dakota was outshot, 11-10, in the opening period, but proceeded to outshot OSU, 27-7, in the final two periods.
After giving up an early goal off a defensive-zone turnover, UND found itself on its second penalty kill of the game. Unfortunately, just 21 seconds into the PK, Sam LaShomb was called for checking from behind, which carries a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
The ensuing five-on-three power play for Ohio State proved to be too much for UND to kill, as Taylor Kuehl tapped in a backdoor goal to give the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead.
North Dakota buckled down to finish of the remainder of the period while on the PK, as the five minute major overlapped into the second period.
With the two-goal deficit to start the second, UND began to right the ship, outshooting OSU, 12-4, in the second and, 15-3, in the third.
However, as North Dakota created ample scoring chances in the final 40 minutes of play, the age-old phenomenon of 'puck luck', or lack thereof, began to haunt UND.
Meghan Dufault fired a shot that came loose from the pads of OSU goalie Lisa Steffes, but only fell underneath her in the crease. Freshman forward Susanna Tapani had a wide open net to shoot at in the third period, but shot a bouncing puck that hit off the crossbar. Amy Menke had a chance in the second period at a backdoor attempt, but her shot hit the post.
It wasn't until the final four minutes of play that UND finally erased its goose egg off the scoreboard.
While on the power play, UND goalie Shelby Amsley-Benzie headed to the bench for an extra attacker. With a two-man advantage, Halli Krzyzaniak threw the puck on net. In a wild scramble in front of Steffes, Jakobsen got a stick on it, but Dufault crashed in late and poked the puck into the back of the net.
With the deficit now down to just one goal, UND was revitalized and could sense another goal was near. Unfortunately, time expired on the North Dakota rally.
The loss is the first for UND this season, and the 4-1-1 record still marks the best start through six games in program history.
Amsley-Benzie made a total of 16 saves in the contest, including seven shorthanded during the first period. Steffes made 36 saves in her first start of the season.
North Dakota now hits the road for a series at St. Cloud State, Oct. 25-25. UND won't return to Ralph Engelstad Arena until Nov. 22-23 for a series against Wisconsin.