DULUTH, Minn. - Only one team could escape the showdown between the No. 5 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team and the No. 1 and defending NCAA champion University of Wisconsin with a win, and all things considered, that turned out to be quite a shame.
The top-ranked Badgers used a short-handed goal with just over a minute remaining to sneak past the Bulldogs 4-3 at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn. Friday night in UMD's first Western Collegiate Hockey Association action of the season. With the loss, the Bulldogs drop to 3-2-0 overall and 0-1-0 in the WCHA, while Wisconsin gains a win in the all-time series which now stands at 26-23-10 in 59 meetings.
"Great first and third periods for us tonight," said head coach Shannon Miller after the game. "In fact, we won the first and third but we gave them the second period because we spent too much time in the penalty box. We made a mistake late in the game on the power-play and it cost us the game, but the good news is we outshot them 15-6 in the third period and we will build on that tomorrow."
The Bulldogs surrendered a goal to the Badgers and Brianna Decker early, just 3:36 into the game before UMD found the equalizer 4:34 later in the form of a power-play tally by Jenna McParland. McParland's score of opportunity was a rebound poked through the crease and then knocked in by the rookie to bring about the 1-1 game at 7:32. McParland again found the net at the 15:07 mark when Pernilla Winberg threw the puck out in front of the net to a hard crashing McParland who beat UW goaltender Alex Rigsby to give the Bulldogs the 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of action.
Wisconsin brought the game even again with less than five minutes remaining in the second period, a goal by Carolyne Prevost that deflected off the body of a player in front of the net to finally beat UMD netminder Jennifer Harss. Then with 38 seconds remaining in the stanza, Hilary Knight's shot banked off the back of Harss' skate to push Wisconsin into the 3-2 advantage with two periods played.
Junior Bulldog forward Audrey Cournoyer stretched her current scoring streak to five games with a goal 7:18 into the third period to again knot the contest up, but the Badgers were not to be denied despite being outshot 15-6 in the final 20 minutes. With UMD on a power-play, Knight found herself on a breakaway and put the puck over Harss' right shoulder with 1:14 left in regulation to give Wisconsin the 4-3 final.
Harss was brilliant between the pipes for the Bulldogs with 39 saves and helped UMD keep the Badgers off the scoresheet on the power-play in six attempts. Rigsby made 34 stops for UW, which improves to 6-1-0 in the season and 4-1-0 in the WCHA.
Both teams will clash again tomorrow night at AMSOIL with the puck set to drop at 7:07 p.m.
BULLDOG NOTES: Jenna McParland has now scored four goals in her last two games ... Haley Irwin extended her scoring streak to 10 games with two assists ... the senior center has compiled two goals and 14 assists in her last 10 skates ... Sophomore forward Jamie Kenyon and Noora Jaakkola missed their third-consecutive games due to injuries.