|2nd||15:14||STC||1-0||EV||Alyssa Erickson (4)||Taylor Wemple/2, Rachel Herzog/2|
|3rd||11:47||MND||1-1||PP GT||Naomi Rogge (14)||Michelle L÷wenhielm/8, Kateřina Mrßzovß/11|
|St. Cloud State||0||1||0||0||1|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||OT||SOG|
|St. Cloud State||9||9||7||1||26|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Minnesota Duluth (12-13-3)||1/3||1/2||0|
|St. Cloud State (6-17-4)||0/1||3/6||0|
|Minnesota Duluth Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||OT||Saves|
|Jessica Convery (T, 12-11-2)||65:00||1||9||8||7||1||25|
|St. Cloud State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||OT||Saves|
|Emma Polusny (T, 4-7-3)||64:29||1||8||12||12||1||33|
ST. CLOUD—A second period goal from senior forward Alyssa Erickson and freshman goaltender Emma Polusny's standout 33-save effort earned the St. Cloud State women's hockey team (6-17-4, 4-13-3-0 WCHA) a hard-fought draw, 1-1, with Minnesota Duluth (12-13-3, 8-10-2-2) on Wednesday.
The tie wrapped up a WCHA series that began with the Huskies 3-2 win on Friday, January 19. Though the Bulldogs snatched the extra point in the standings with a 1-0 shootout win, SCSU skated away with four of six points from the two-game set and finished this month with a 3-3-2 record—reason for head coach Eric Rud to believe his team is at the top of its game at the right time of year.
"We are playing our best hockey, by far, may since I have been here," he said. "In terms of our overall team game, top to bottom in our lineup, we are playing as well as we ever have."
"You have to leave the rink happy tonight," Rud added "A tie in this league at this point in the year is a good thing."
After Erickson's goal opened the scoring with just under five minutes to play in the middle frame, Polusny stood on her head to ensure the Huskies earned a point. She made 15 of her 33 saves after Erickson's tally, including 12 of 13 in a third period where she was seemingly constantly under siege as UMD poured on the pressure pushing for the equalizer.
The Mound, Minn., native finished January with a .955 save percentage in six appearances, which led the WCHA and ranked fourth in the country, and held opponents to a goal or less in four of those outings.
"She closed the door and made some really big saves," Rud said. "She made some saves look easy that were not. Our kids are very confident playing in front of her right now."
Erickson's tipped goal was her fourth of the season, and SCSU's second in as many games created by a shot from the point from freshman defender Taylor Wemple. But despite creating its fair share of chances, including a Bulldogs' glove save that robbed senior defender Brittney Anderson of an overtime winner, that was all the offense the Huskies could muster.
UMD's pressure in the final frame paid off with the game-tying goal on the power play with just over eight minutes to play. The score snapped SCSU's run of 16 consecutive successful penalty kills.
"You need to make one more play in the game," Rud said. "You have to put up more than one goal to win in this league. We did not find a way to make that one more play and that is what we are going to continue to work towards."
St. Cloud State returns to the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center this weekend for a two-game set against in-state rival Minnesota. The Huskies and Gophers will face off on Friday, February 2 and Saturday, February 3 at 3:07 p.m. Tickets for the series are available at scsutickets.com or at the arena box office on game day. SCSU students with a valid university ID, fans ages 18 and under and men's hockey season ticket holders receive free admission to all women's hockey home games.
SCSU will celebrate Senior Day prior to Saturday's game against Minnesota. The Huskies will honor the careers of their four graduating players: Erickson, Anderson, senior defender Emma Turbyville and redshirt junior goaltender Taylor Crosby.