BY ERIK GAFFRON | The Statesman The Bulldogs couldn’t recover from four second period goals Saturday afternoon, falling 6-2 in the final home game of the season to the No. 3 University of Minnesota.
Without junior forward Lara Stalder, who was out with a lower body injury the Bulldogs couldn’t muster enough offense to match the Gophers.
Amanda Kessel, who recently rejoined the Gophers after recovering from a concussion suffered while playing in the 2014 Winter Olympics, scored the Gophers’ second goal in the win.
Crowell said the Gophers were a stronger team than the one they faced in their October series.
“Certainly getting (Amanda) Kessel back makes them stronger,” Crowell said.
It was Senior Night for three UMD seniors: forward Michela Cava and goaltenders Kayla Black and Karissa Grapp. All three seniors made an impact in their final home game.
After falling down 2-0 early on in the game, Michela Cava opened the scoring for the Bulldogs just after the Gophers scored their second goal. She also tallied an assist on Katie McGovern’s late third period goal.
“It was nice to see (Michela Cava) score that first goal and help on the other from McGovern,” Crowell said. “She continues to contribute as she has all year.”
Black started in net for the Bulldogs and played 50:12 of the game, stopping 32 of 37 shots faced. Karissa Grapp came in late to make an appearance and stopped 12 of 13 shots to finish the game for the ‘Dogs.
“It was great to get all three of (the goalies) in there,” Crowell said. “Kayla Black played really well for us and saw a lot of pucks tonight… and Karissa going in with about nine minutes left saw about 13 shots, good for her too. She stood tall.”
The women’s hockey team is in a rut when it comes to facing the Gophers lately. UMD hasn’t beaten the Gophers since 2012, going 0-13-1 against them since that win.
While this was the last home game for the Bulldog seniors, it’s not the end of the road for the 2015-2016 Bulldogs. This weekend’s series against the Gophers marked a big challenge before heading on the road against the St. Cloud State Huskies, who they battle with for 5th place in the WCHA.
“We’ll try take some things away from this loss as we go into an incredibly important series next weekend, and playing (the Gophers) prepares us well for that,” Crowell said.