In Western Collegiate Hockey Association play, a four-point weekend is a four-point weekend, no matter how the points pile up.
Just ask the No. 7 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team who picked up the shootout win against the No. 6 University of North Dakota Sunday afternoon after a 2-2 tie in AMSOIL Arena. The tie improves the Bulldogs' record to 5-3-1 overall and 1-2-1-1 in WCHA action.
"It was a huge win for us and I thought my team did a really god job of staying focused and winning footraces and just battling," said a fiery head coach Shannon Miller after the game. "I am proud of how we played and I really thought we kept our composure considering everything."
Like the previous afternoon, UMD broke open a scoreless stalemate in the second period. Rookie blueliner Bridgette Lacquette's strike from the point deflected off a UND player and past goaltender Stephanie Ney at 1:10 to give UMD the first lead of the game. After thwarting an almost five minute stretch of North Dakota power-plays, the Bulldogs took advantage of their first power-play of the stanza when Audrey Cournoyer scored her sixth goal of the season. Cournoyer walked in to the right of the UND goal and after picking up her own rebound, beat Ney under her blocker on the opposite side at 13:50 to hand UMD the 2-0 jump.
UND got on the board at the 15:12 mark on a goal off a skate that did stand. Josefine Jakonsen's shot deflected off a Bulldog skate and slowly redirected underneath UMD goaltender Jennifer Harss. Then with just 17 seconds remaining in regulation, North Dakota, with the extra skater, found the equalizer in the form of Michelle Karvinen's tip to the left of Harss' glove side.
After an inconclusive overtime, both teams took to the ice for the WCHA's mandated shootout. UMD's Jenna McParland and Lacquette were snubbed by Ney, but Winberg -- ever accustom to playing the shootout hero -- beat Ney low to her right to grab the extra league point for the Bulldogs. Harss stonewalled all three North Dakota shooters and ended up with 29 often brilliant saves in the game. Ney made 32 for UND, now 5-5-0, 2-4-0-0.
UMD outshot North Dakota 34-21 in the game and went 1-of-5 on the power-play while holding UND scoreless in four extra skater attempts. Both sides were called for 12 minutes of penalties in what was once again a highly physical contest.
A tough UMD schedule will only get more challenging as the Bulldogs will head to Minneapolis next weekend to face intrastate rivals the University of Minnesota. Friday's game at Ridder Arena is scheduled for 6:07 p.m., while Saturday's showdown is set for 4:07 p.m.