For a second consecutive night, power-play success tipped the scales in favor of the Bulldogs.
Cashing in on two goals with an extra skater for a total of five in the series, the University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team bested Minnesota State University, Mankato 3-2 to sweep the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series at AMSOIL Arena. The win is the fourth in a row for the Bulldogs and extends UMD's winning streak against MSU to five games.
"It was an important sweep for us this weekend, started 2014 with two wins, obviously off on the right foot," said head coach Shannon Miller, who is now 53-7-1 against Minnesota State all-time and perfect against the Mavericks this season. "It was a really complete game for our team tonight. We had to be good offensively, defensively, and really good in net, so we played a very complete game."
Similar to Friday night, the Mavericks grabbed the first lead of the game on a 2-on-1 power-play goal by Nicole Germaine at the 13:38 mark.
Outshot 13-11 in the opening stanza, UMD shelled MSU 11-5 in the second period and more importantly, found the answer to MSU's Danielle Butters. Freshman forward Ashleigh Brykaliuk walked in and scored the Bulldogs fourth power-play goal of the series with a wrist shot from the left circle that hit Butters but found the twine 7:56 into action. After Germain scored her second power-play goal of the night off a scrum in front the UMD goal at 15:59, junior forward Zoe Hickel earned the Bulldog equalizer. Hickel's shot from the right circle bounced off and over Butters, trickling across the goal line for Hickel's second goal on the weekend and seventh of the season.
Using yet another power-play to its advantage, UMD took the lead 3:05 into the third period on senior winger Jamie Kenyon's 11th goal of the year. Junior winger Jenna McParland's shot from inside the left point was kicked wide right of Butters, but Kenyon tracked down the long rebound and threaded the puck inside the post through shifting traffic to put the Bulldogs up 3-2.
Hickel, a workhorse for the Bulldogs all weekend, iced the game with 57 remaining in the contest after carrying the puck into the MSU zone and across the slot to score the empty-netter, her second goal of the skate. Hickel figured in five of UMD's six goals in the series overall, four of which came on the power-play for the Bulldogs.
"I went home over break and thought about the things I had to do for the season, and just tried to come back and motivate my team by working hard and doing the little things, and that resulted in some offense for us," said Hickel. "This series was huge for us. We just have to keep building, keep going and building each weekend, so it was really important for us to get the sweep."
Kayla Black had 27 saves for UMD, while Butters turned away 28 pucks. UMD was 2-of-8 on its power-play, and while the Mavericks spent 16 minutes in the box over the course of the game, but managed to connect on two of its four power-play opportunities.
The Bulldogs (11-8-3, 9-6-3) will be back in WCHA action next weekend at AMSOIL when they host Ohio State University on Saturday and Sunday at 3:07 p.m.