GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Meghan Dufault netted the overtime winner in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Bemidji State, as the University of North Dakota women's hockey team clinched a berth in the 2014 WCHA Final Face-Off on Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
With the win, North Dakota capped off a sweep of the Beavers in the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs and will play in the semifinals on Friday, March 7, against an opponent still yet to be determined.
Dufault's winner came 9:47 into the extra period. Josefine Jakobsen's shot from the slot was stopped by Bemidji State goaltender Brittni Mowat, but Dufault drove to the net and pounced on the rebound, putting a backhander into the net for her 11th goal of the season.
It was an exciting victory for UND, who pulled out the win in come-from-behind fashion. North Dakota got on the board first when Sam Hanson scored a little less than 12 minutes into the first period. Hanson jumped on a loose puck in the slot and snapped it through traffic for her second goal of the season.
The Beavers knotted the score less than 58 seconds later, however, when an odd-angle shot from the corner went off a BSU player's skate and in. After Bemidji State scored a power-play goal midway through the second period, North Dakota found itself down 2-1 heading into the final period of regulation.
Needing to find an answer, UND stepped it up in the third, outshooting BSU 15-7. With 6:15 left in regulation, the team was rewarded for its efforts with the tying goal. While on the power play, Halli Krzyzaniak's shot from the point got through traffic and beat Mowat five hole to even things up at 2-2.
The team found itself shorthanded just two minutes into overtime, but the penalty kill did a great job of holding off the Beavers and even generated some of its own chances. The best came from Andrea Dalen with a shot in the slot. Dalen finished with a two-point night and assisted on the game-tying tally.
UND goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie also came up huge, making six stops in overtime and 26 total on the night.
North Dakota moves on to play in the semifinals at the WCHA Final Face-Off in Bemidji, Minn., next Friday, March 7.