What the University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team lacked in overall player depth, the 16 skaters that compromised an incomplete line chart Sunday clearly made up with heart.
The Bulldogs came back from a two-goal deficit against the No. 4/5 University of North Dakota to earn a 2-2 tie before taking the extra Western Collegiate Hockey Association point in a shootout in front of over 1,500 fans at AMSOIL Arena.
"I thought we played a very complete game today," said head coach Shannon MilIer. "I thought we absolutely could have won in regulation and not have had to go into overtime and a shootout, but we played a great game as a team and obviously it's a really big win for the program today."
After a scoreless first period, North Dakota jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first 11 minutes of the second stanza in a contest that until then had remained perfectly equal. A UND goal by Andrea Dalen at the 7:15 mark was followed by a power-play score off a rebound credited to Becca Kolar at 10:56, and all of a sudden the pressure was on the Bulldogs to respond.
The answer came in the form of rookie forward Ashleigh Brykaliuk, who skated in from the North Dakota blue line against two UND players, and despite being hooked and initially losing the puck, sniped the puck over North Dakota goaltender Lexi Shaw's blocker. Brykaliuk's goal came on the back side of UND's power-play, her second short-handed tally at 11:38, and her 11th goal of the season to bring the Bulldogs within a single score.
UMD turned the game on its head in the third period, however, outshelling UND 8-2 before finally drawing even with four minutes remaining in regulation. Sophomore center Hannah Bramm tipped an Emma Stauber wrist-shot from the right point to force the game into a 2-2 tie.
Despite a five minute overtime, the Bulldogs ended up with their record-sixth tie of the season and third against a ranked opponent, which also led to UMD's sixth WCHA shootout of the year.
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the shootout on a brilliant right-to-left deke by Brykaliuk before North Dakota's Dalen equalized on the next try. Enter junior defenseman convert Jenna McParland, who's drive from the red line ended in a five-hole score to seal UMD's second WCHA point on the day and fourth shootout win this year.
The Bulldogs outshot UND 30-24 in the contest while sophomore net minder Kayla Black made 22 saves. Her counterpart Shaw turned away 28 shots for UND, which is now 17-6-4 overall and 14-6-4 in the WCHA.
"We had a good weekend and we played really hard" said Bulldog senior Jamie Kenyon, who was honored after Sunday's game. "Yesterday we didn't get the outcome we wanted and today we didn't get it in regulation, but we got the shootout win and that was huge."
UMD (13-10-6, 11-8-6 in the WCHA) will have a week off from competition to watch teammates Lara Stalder and Tea Villila play in the Olympics before traveling to Minneapolis, Minn. on Feb. 21-22 to face the top-ranked University of Minnesota to close out the 2013-14 regular season.
BULLDOG NOTES: UMD has played six overtime games this season, including two against North Dakota...Three of those overtime games for the Bulldogs came against teams ranked in the top-10...Three of the last five skates against UND have gone into extra time and four of the last eight...Jenna McParland and Ashleigh Brykaliuk have now picked up a point in their last four games, with McParland at one goal and five assists for six points and Brykaliuk owing four goals and an assist for five points in those four skates...McParland now sits at 91 career points with 42 goals and 49 assists.