It was a big weekend at AMSOIL Arena, as the Stanley Cup rolled into town and the UMD women’s hockey team swept Connecticut for Shannon Miller’s 350th win as the team’s head coach. Fans started lining up Friday afternoon to see the Stanley Cup, and those who stuck around saw quite the show from the Bulldogs in their season opener.
Junior Jenna McParland wasted no time getting the scoring started for the Bulldogs, blasting a shot by Connecticut goaltender Elaine Chuli 13 seconds in.
“Our game plan tonight was take the puck to the net and use the outside drive,” Miller said. “The first time we outside drove the puck to the net, we scored.”
And it didn’t get much better for the Huskies from there.
UMD dominated the first battle in front of the opening-night crowd. Zoe Hickel added a short-handed tally at 4:15 of the first period to make it 2-0, before Meghan Huertas scored UMD’s third of the night.
Freshman defenseman Lara Stalder scored UMD’s lone second-period goal at 10:10 — her first as a Bulldog. Stalder’s play thus far hasn’t gone unnoticed by Miller.
“Stalder is an amazing player — there’s no question about that,” Miller said. “She’s really good defensively, very gifted offensively. She really helps us open up the game. When you have a defenseman like that, she really helps with the way I like to play. She’s pretty amazing.”
The third period started the same way the first period did, only this time, McParland took 37 seconds to get one past Chuli. The third period featured more Bulldog goals, as forwards Jordan Krause and Bailey Wright added tallies to push the difference to 7-0. Sophomore goaltender Kayla Black was stellar in the net and finished with a shutout.
Game two was dominated by UMD as well, and resulted in Miller’s 350th win behind the Bulldog bench.
UMD jumped in front again in game two after a pair of power-play goals in the first period by senior forward Jamie Kenyon. The Bulldogs made it 3-0 when Ashleigh Brykaliuk put one past Connecticut goaltender Sarah Moses, who started the game after coming in as relief during the third period Friday.
This time, UMD couldn’t completely silence the Husky offense. Junior Sarah MacDonnell got the puck by UMD’s sophomore goaltender Karissa Grapp, who played in net Saturday instead of Black.
The Bulldogs controlled the scoring for the last two periods, as sophomore forward Alivia Del Basso scored her first goal in a UMD uniform, as did sophomore forward Katherine McGovern. Bailey Wright added another goal, her second of the year, to make it 6-1 and complete the opening-weekend sweep for the Bulldogs (2-0).
“We truly just stuck to our game plan, kept our feet moving, got the puck to the net,” Miller said. “It’s worked out really well.”
UMD will play its first WCHA games this weekend, traveling to North Dakota for a two-game set Saturday and Sunday.
BY NICOLE BRODZIK firstname.lastname@example.org