DULUTH, Minn. - There is something about a season opener that has always brought out the best in the University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team and Saturday afternoon at AMSOIL Arena was no different.
The No. 7 Bulldogs used four second period goals to bury No. 5 Boston College 7-2 in the season opener for both squads. UMD (1-0-0) is now 12-1 all-time in season starting skates and remains undefeated against the Eagles in four all-time contests.
"It was a very solid performance from the entire team," said head coach Shannon Miller, who has is now 16-2 all-time against teams from the Hockey East. "We won foot races, we won battles and we attacked with speed. Jenny Harss also gave us great goaltending when we needed it."
After a silent first period, the Bulldogs erupted offensively in the second period with four goals. Senior Haley Irwin started the scoring landslide with a power-play tally at 3:15, followed by Katie Wilson's first strike of the season at 8:49. Junior defenseman Jessica Wong stretched the UMD lead to three goals at 15:05, and rookie forward Zoe Hickel netted the first goal of her Bulldog career 2:10 later, an unassited tally that gave the Maroon and Gold a 4-0 lead heading into the second intermission.
The Eagles attempted to mount a comeback with a power-play goal by Blake Bolden a mere 25 seconds into the third period but Pernillia Winberg and UMD muted that effort with a power-play tally 1:58 later to give the Bulldogs back the four goal lead of 5-1. BC struck again in traffic at 7:44, Meagan Mangene's first goal of the season but 16 seconds later Wong carried the puck end to end to score her second goal of the night and seal UMD's opening night delight.
The Bulldogs benefitted hugely from Harss' netminding effort, as the senior made 33 saves, including 18 in the final period alone. The win was No. 38 for Harss, who is now 3-0 against BC in her career. Eagle goaltender Corinne Boyles made 30 saves for BC, who falls to 0-1-0 on the young season.
Both teams will be at it again tomorrow afternoon at AMSOIL. The puck is set to drop at 3:07 p.m.
BULLDOG NOTES: Jessica Wong's five point outing (2-3=5) was a career-high for the junior defenseman in points...Wong's point outburst is the most points by a Bulldog since Pernillia Winberg rang up five points with four goals and an assist last season against St. Cloud State on Feb. 18, 2011...Haley Irwin's goal extends her current scoring streak to six games, dating back to Feb. 18 of last season...Irwin has compiled 12 points (2-10=12) in those last six skates...Four Bulldog players notched two or more points in the game and nine players in all registered points, including three freshmen...UMD has now won eight-consecutive season openers dating back to the 2003-04 season and is 16-2 all-time against Hockey East opponents...The Bulldogs have not lost to a Hockey East member since the 1999-00 inaugural season.