Hockey is sometimes a game of lucky bounces, and until last weekend, the UMD women have been on the wrong side of those bounces. The Bulldogs’ four power-play tallies and nine total goals against Minnesota State-Mankato Friday and Saturday ensured UMD a sweep and its first WCHA wins of the year.
“You’ve got to stick to the plan and keep chipping away at it,” head coach Shannon Miller said. “This weekend it went in. That’s the only way I can explain it. Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn’t, but we’re doing the exact same things.”
The Mavericks were the first to score in the first period Friday night, but the Bulldogs dominated the rest of the way. It took 2:40 for captain Jamie Kenyon to answer with a power-play goal and tie it 1-1.
UMD’s power play added two more goals in the second period, including freshman Ashleigh Brykaliuk’s second of the year and Kenyon’s second of the game. The Bulldogs converted on 75 percent of their power plays Friday night, a big improvement over their season average.
Kathleen Rogan scored the first goal of the third period, which would be the last goal of the night for the Mavericks. The final frame also featured a goal from UMD freshman Demi Crossman and two from junior Zoe Hickel, including an empty netter, to make it 6-2.
“Friday night’s game we did play well, and we were rewarded,” Miller said. “We played well and we worked hard. Mankato came out really hard and they battled, and it forced us to sprint and battle as well.”
Saturday’s game was a much closer matchup.
Minnesota State-Mankato was first to light the lamp when Nicole Germaine netted her third of the year halfway through the first period.
The Bulldogs came into the second firing, as freshman defenseman Sidney Morin scored her second of the year on a power play 1:21 into the period. The score stayed knotted into the third period, but UMD controlled the pace, outshooting the Mavericks 39-25 on the night.
With less than three minutes left in the third, Morin’s shot from the point made it through traffic to beat Maverick goaltender Danielle Butters for her second goal of the outing. Kenyon added an empty-net goal at 19:46 to seal her team’s 3-1 win.
UMD’s play on the defensive side was credited by Miller as one of the keys to winning the series.
“They really, really stepped up this weekend,” Miller said. “I think they learned a lot from Minnesota and North Dakota. Our defensemen were really good. They were getting back quickly, moving their feet, and moving the puck. I was really impressed with them.”
The Bulldogs (4-3-1, 2-3-1-0 WCHA) take on St. Cloud State this weekend at AMSOIL with a chance to move over .500 in the conference with a sweep.
BY NICOLE BRODZIK firstname.lastname@example.org