|2nd||1:18||STC||1-0||EV GW||Molly Illikainen (16)||Brittney Anderson/15, Julia Tylke/12|
|St. Cloud State||0||1||0||1|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|St. Cloud State||8||7||6||21|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|St. Cloud State (12-14-4)||0/1||0/0||0|
|North Dakota (14-10-5)||0/0||1/2||0|
|St. Cloud State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Katie Fitzgerald (W, 11-14-4)||60:00||0||9||10||20||39|
|North Dakota Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Shelby Amsley-Benzie (L, 12-9-4)||58:53||1||8||6||6||20|
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - A sluggish start was the deciding factor Friday night, as the UND women's hockey team dropped a 1-0 decision to St. Cloud State at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
With the loss North Dakota (14-10-5, 11-9-5-3 WCHA) remains in fourth place, but falls four points behind Bemidji State in the league standings. St. Cloud State now improves to 12-14-4 (8-13-4-3 WCHA) on the year and gains a three-point lead on Minnesota Duluth for fifth place in the conference.
The game had a quick tempo to it, as only one goal was scored and only one penalty was assessed during the 60 minutes of play. It also marked the second time this season that an opponent of UND has not been penalized during the game.
UND opened up the contest, conceding the first shots on goal to the Huskies, but managed to regain some leverage before the first intermission. Even though the Fighting Hawks led SCSU 9-8 in shots on goal after the first period, the Huskies had a couple of close scoring opportunities in the frame.
The dagger to the sluggish start came in the opening minutes of the second period. After goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie made the first save on a shot from the point, two Huskies were able to crash the net for the rebound and Molly Illikainen netted her 11th goal of the season to put SCSU on top. Of the five goals St. Cloud State has scored against UND this season, four have been from Illikainen.
With a deficit early in the second period, North Dakota snapped out of its funk and began to retake control of the game.
UND went on to out-shoot SCSU 10-7 in the second period and then really upped the pressure in the third period, out-shooting the Huskies 20-6 in the final 20 minutes of play. However, the Fighting Hawks were unable to dig themselves out of the hole they were in.
North Dakota did have two close chances in tying the game up in the third period. Once when a hard wrist shot from Layla Marvin hit off the underside of the cross bar, but bounced out; and the other when Amy Menke had a breakaway while on UND's lone penalty kill. Menke made a great move to her left, but SCSU goaltender Katie Fitzgerald was able to stretch out and get her blocker on the puck.
After the Huskies gained the lead, they were able to play comfortably on defense - clogging up the middle of the UND offensive zone and making it hard for shots to get through to Fitzgerald. St. Cloud State ended the night with a total of 20 blocked shots.
The loss marks the first defeat to St. Cloud State since Jan. 15, 2010.
North Dakota and St. Cloud State wrap up their regular-season series tomorrow back at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Game time is set for 4:07 p.m. (CT), and the eight UND seniors will also be recognized following the game.