Freshman forward Amanda Kessel scores two goals for Gophers

Amanda Kessel scored two goals for the Gophers

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The eighth-ranked University of North Dakota women's hockey team fell short tonight trying to battle back from 3-0 first-period deficit to the third-ranked Minnesota Gophers. The Sioux would make a run cutting the lead to within one goal, but an effective Gopher power-play proved too much skating to a 5-3 decision tonight in front of 3,158 fans at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Sara Dagenais (Montreal, Quebec), Monique Lamoureux-Kolls (Grand Forks, N.D.) and Jocelyne Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) scored for UND while Amanda Kessel had a game-high two goals for the Gophers.

Lamoureux's goal was a beauty on a breakaway scoring with a spin-o-rama that might make Denis Savard jealous. Check out the video highlights of tonight's game.

The Sioux drop to 17-11-3 overall and 15-9-2-0 in the WCHA but have already clinched the fourth spot and home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs next weekend.

After a failed power-play opportunity early in the first period for UND, the Sioux were called for the games next five penalties with all of them coming in the first period. The Gophers (23-7-2, 18-7-2-1 WCHA) took little time taking advantage scoring on their first power play as Megan Bozek scored for the game's first goal.

Although taking until the fourth Minnesota power play to clear the puck, the Sioux killed the next three Minnesota power plays but gave up another special team's goal. Two seconds after Lamoureux returned to the ice after skating 4-on-4 the Gophers were already on a 2-on-1 rush towards UND netminder Stephanie Ney (100 Mile House, British Columbia) and Kessel would finish it off for the shorthanded tally.

Following UM's third goal by Terra Rasmussen, Dagenais would score on a bad-angle shot driving wide towards the net that found its way off a UM defenders skate and past Minnesota's Finnish-Olympian goaltender Noora Raty. Raty would finish the game with 16 saves on 19 UND shots.

Lamoureux-Kolls would cut the lead to one goal with a power-play shot that found its way from the point through traffic and into the net at 7:41 of the second period.

The 3-2 score would hold then until early in the third period when Dagenais was called for a game-misconduct checking from behind ensuing to a five minute power-play for the Gophers. They would tally two goals during that time by Sarah Davis and Kessel's second of the night and would finish the game 3-for-9 on the power play while holding the Sioux 1-for-7.

After Lamoureux's goal that brought the crowd to its feet at 8:01 of the third stanza, the Sioux would fail to pull any closer. UND pulled Ney down by two goals and with two Gophers in the penalty box for nearly two minutes of 6-on-3 but failed to score.

Ney would finish the game with 29 saves.

The Sioux and Gophers close out the regular season tomorrow night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena with a 7:07 p.m. start.