DULUTH, Minn. - The No. 3 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team didn't just pick up head coach Shannon Miller's 300th win Saturday night - the celebrated the milestone offensively for 60 minutes.
Using two first period goals to push away early, the Bulldogs offensively dominated No. 9 Ohio State University with an 8-0 shelling at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, improving to 9-3-0 overall and 7-3-0 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. All-time, the win gives UMD a 42-5-4 advantage over the Buckeyes in 51 meetings.
"Tonight you saw the real UMD Bulldogs and what we are capable of when we show up to play," said Miller after reaching 300 wins faster than any women's coach in NCAA history. "It was an awesome game from our net out through our entire team. I was a huge win for us."
Miller's squad flexed it's offensive muscle early and often, and it started off with a goal by junior Haley Irwin just 28 seconds into the game. Irwin's recovery of an OSU turnover on the Buckeyes' blueline created a shot and rebound finish for Irwin, a goal that would end up the eventual game-winner. UMD's second tally came from freshman Brienna Gillanders, who scored off a Irwin shot from the center circle at 9:09 in the first stanza to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
From there the Maroon and Gold - who outshot OSU 22-1 in the opening period alone - would continue to roll with a short-handed goal from Irwin and another by sophomore Katie Wilson in the second period to stretch UMD's advantage to 4-0 after two stanzas of play. Gillanders notched her second goal of the game on a power-play 21 seconds into the third period, while Irwin, Audrey Cournoyer and Elin Holmlov added goals in the final 20 minutes of action.
Irwin picked up a total of six points on the night - three goals and three assists - to have a hand in six of UMD's eight goals. Irwin's haul is the most she has recorded in her Bulldog career, knocking off her former best of five points in a skate, something the junior forward has done four other times in her UMD career, and most recently against OSU back on Feb. 14, 2009. Four other Bulldog players registered two point nights, including Holmlov, who turned in a three goal performance (1g, 2a), while Gillanders has now had at least a point (two points in each game this weekend ) in her last three games.
UMD's Kim Martin made 11 saves to earn her ninth career win against the Buckeyes. Martin is unbeaten against OSU, with a record of 9-0-1. Buckeye netminder Lisa Steffes made 50 saves on the night, but OSU, which falls to 7-6-1 overall was outshot 58-12 in the game.
"I thought we came out strong," said Irwin after her six-point performance. "When we scored, we built momentum off of it. It was a complete game for us."
The Bulldogs will travel to Madison to face top-ranked Wisconsin next weekend. Both games are scheduled for 2:07 p.m. on Friday and Sunday afternoon.