St. Cloud, Minn. --- Senior netminder Ashley Nixon (Blaine) backstopped the St. Cloud State women's hockey team (0-13-1, 0-10-1-1 WCHA) with 39 saves while rookie forward Molli Mott (Colorado Springs, Colo.) scored the lone goal of the shootout period to lift the Huskies past the #3/4-ranked Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (10-4-1, 8-4-1-0 WCHA) in a 1-0 shootout victory on Friday, Dec. 3, in the National Hockey Center.
Mott led the way for SCSU, scoring a goal and dishing out an assist in the 2-2 overtime tie against the Bulldogs. Nixon stopped all three UMD shots in the shootout to secure the extra league point for the Huskies.
St. Cloud State is now a perfect 2-0 against Minnesota Duluth in shootouts. The first shootout win over UMD came back on Oct. 17, 2008, when SCSU edged UMD 2-1 in the shootout at the NHC.
"Ashley (Nixon) played fantastic tonight," said SCSU's head coach Jeff Giesen. "She kept us in the game, made the saves she needed to make and gave us a chance to win. This is the Ashley Nixon who we've come to know and we really needed this effort from her tonight."
St. Cloud State's Julia Gilbert (Hermantown) netted her second goal of the season early in the second frame at 1:03. Following the end of a Bulldog power play, Nixon made a save in net and pushed the puck to Mott near the blue line. Mott found Gilbert flying out of the Husky penalty box. Gilbert gathered up the puck in neutral ice and went the distance on the break-away, faking to the UMD's goalie Jennifer Harss' left and stuffing the backhand to the back of the Bulldog net to give SCSU the go-ahead goal at 1-0.
Nixon and Mott were awarded the assists on the SCSU score. With the goalie assist, Nixon now has three helpers in 2010-11, which surpasses her old school record of two goalie assists in a season back in 2008-09.
Less than five minutes later, St. Cloud State upped its lead to 2-0 with a power play tally from Mott at 5:56. First year defender Michelle Burke (London, Ontario) fired a shot on net and Mott, who was waiting on the back door step, pounded the puck past the goal line on the rebound for her second career goal. Sophomore Haylea Schmid (Oak Grove) was awarded the second assist on the play.
The defending national champion Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs would not back down as Jessica Wong (Baddeck, Nova Scotia) charted two unanswered goals at 17:33 of the second and 5:51 of the third period to knot the game at 2-2 and send the contest into overtime.
Following a scoreless overtime period, the Zamboni drivers returned to the ice to prepare the ice for the shootout. Nixon held UMD's Wong, Haley Irwin and Elin Holmlov each scoreless in the shootout to lift the Huskies past the Bulldogs following Mott's shootout goal.
St. Cloud State's penalty kill also came ready to play this evening as the gritty Huskies blanked the Bulldogs on the skater advantage, 0-5. Coming into tonight's contest, UMD had a .246 power play conversion percentage.
"I have to credit tonight's penalty kill game plan to our new assistant coach Brita Schroeder," said Giesen. "Brita's responsibility this week was to reorganize our penalty kill, and she did an excellent job."
In a contest where 16 combined penalties were assessed, UMD out-shot the Huskies 41-23 in the overtime tie.
St. Cloud State will complete the weekend series against Minnesota Duluth tomorrow evening, Saturday, Dec. 4. Game time is slated for 7:07 pm in the National Hockey Center.
"We need to come ready to play tomorrow," added Giesen. "Minnesota Duluth is a great team and they'll come loaded."