As the only east coast team that the No. 4 University of Minnesota Duluth will face during the regular portion of the 2010-11 season, the Bulldogs knew they had to use the University of Connecticut to send a message to the rest of the NCAA.
The Bulldogs did just that Sunday afternoon at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, defeating the Huskies with a 4-0 win Sunday to complete the important series sweep. UMD - who outscored the Huskies 12-0 on the weekend and is now 5-1-0 overall - is also 15-2-0 against Hockey East opponents during the Bulldogs 12 season program history.
The one and only goal of the first period came from junior forward Haley Irwin, who redirected a shot-pass from Jocelyne Larocque to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead 2:59 into the game. The goal - Irwin's seventh of the season - also continued her scoring streak, extending it to six games.
UMD netted its second tally of the game when sophomore forward Audrey Cournoyer backhanded the puck past UConn netminder Alexandra Garcia off a rebound from a Dana Gallop shot to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead at 1:36 of the second period. The Bulldogs - who entered Sunday's contest with the second-best power-play in the NCAA - finally netted a power-play goal after five unsuccessful attempts when Irwin ripped a shot from the point for her second score of the game at 17:00. Irwin's goal, assisted by Larocque and Jessica Wong, who each had two assists after two periods of play, gave UMD a 3-0 lead into the second intermission.
Cournoyer banged home her second goal of the game midway through the third period at 9:08, handing Gallop her second assist of the game and Jamie Kenyon's second point in as many days, and the Bulldogs skated away with their fourth win in a row and 15th straight against a WHEA opponent.
UMD goaltender Kim Martin turned away 21 shots to earn her third win of the season and 56th of her career, and her second shutout of the fall and 13 as a Bulldog.
Minnesota will enter the DECC next weekend to face UMD in an all-important WCHA series. Game-time both Friday and Saturday is slated for 7:07 p.m.
BULLDOGS NOTES: Junior forward Haley Irwin has scored at least a goal in each of UMD's six skates so far this season ... Irwin has had four games with two or more points, and has three times netted two goals.