The No. 1 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team faced a Minnesota Whitecaps squad at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center that had three former Bulldogs on it, but familiarity didn't soften UMD's opponent in Friday night's exhibition game.
The Whitecaps - with alums Jenny Potter, Iya Gavrilova and recently graduated Saara Tuominen - took the Bulldogs into penalty shots after a 3-3 tie, but UMD was able to prevail after 14 shooters, 3-2 in penalties.
"We knew we'd probably struggle in our own zone as we learn a new system," said head coach Shannon Miller, who introduced her "Torpedo" system earlier this week to her squad. "It will take at least six games for them to get used to it, but they love it, and once they get it down, it will be a good fit for this team."
Sophomore forward Audrey Cournoyer started the high-scoring first period off in UMD's column, carrying the puck up the right side of the ice and beating Whitecap goaltender Sanya Sandahl with right-sided top-shelf.
Just 1:06 later, Megan McCarthy found a loose puck in the slot to even the score at 1-1, and UMD alumn Potter put the Whitecaps ahead 2-1 just 33 seconds later. The Whitecaps doubled their lead at 14:11, when Ali Sanchez followed her own shot into the crease, and the Bulldogs trailed 3-1 into the first intermission.
UMD chipped away at the scoreboard and pulled within a single goal on a tally from junior forward Haley Irwin, who finished a passing sequence from Elin Holmlov and Pernilla Winberg. The score, which came at 5:08, was the lone point of the second period.
After 18 minutes of scoreless play in the third period, the Bulldogs forced the game into overtime when sophomore forward Jessica Wong scooped up the puck outside the crease and beat Kim Hanlon with just 1:27 remaining in regulation.
The five-minute overtime didn't settle the score, so the two teams went to penalty shots to determine the end result. After a first round which featured goals from UMD's Holmlov and Winberg, and the Whitecaps' Potter and Meghan Pezon, the two squads went four skaters deep each before Bulldog junior forward Laura Fridfinnson found Hanlon's five-hole for the winning shot.
Kim Martin, skating for the first time at the DECC since Jan. 11, 2009, made 21 saves for the Bulldogs. Sandahl and Hanlon turned away a combined 31 shots on the evening.
Both teams will drop the puck again tomorrow afternoon at the DECC. The contest will get underway at 3:07 p.m.