The Bulldogs set a program record Sunday afternoon at AMSOIL Arena, but it probably wasn't the record they necessarily wanted to reach.
For a second straight day, the University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team arrived at a tie with Ohio State University in Western Collegiate Hockey Association action. The 2-2 draw becomes the fifth of the year for the Bulldogs and surpasses UMD's old record of four on a season. UMD, which remains in fourth place in the WCHA, found that the Buckeyes, who arrived in Duluth in last place in the league prior to the series were every bit as serious about competing for league points as the Bulldogs were.
"For a majority of the game today we actually played well and we did a lot of good things," said head coach Shannon Miller, who is now 52-11-4 all-time against OSU. "But it's very clear that this team needs to learn how to win, and learning how to win is competing, winning foot races, and battles and competing to the buzzer, and we have some big lessons to learn."
87 minutes of scoreless hockey between the Bulldogs and Buckeyes finally came to an end two minutes into the second period when the Bulldogs netted the only power-play goal of the game. UMD freshman center Ashleigh Brykaliuk skated around the net and buried the puck for her seventh goal of the season but the Bulldogs initial lead was short-lived. OSU's Claudia Kepler roofed a loose rebound over a fallen Kayla Black 47 seconds later to even the score at 1-1.
The Bulldogs struck again at 4:33 to take the 2-1 lead on junior winger Zoe Hickel's ninth goal of the season and fourth tally in as many games. Hickel played the puck to Lara Stalder on the right point, continued skating around the left circle and quickly wristed Stalder's return pass in the low slot to beat OSU net minder Lisa Steffes.
OSU forced the game into overtime, however, using a goal with 3:43 remaining in regulation off a UMD turnover that Ally Tarr flipped into the near empty net to knot the skate at 2-2 apiece.
UMD's fifth overtime of the season ended in the Bulldogs fifth tie of the season, forcing a shootout between the Buckeyes and UMD for a second consecutive game. The second time was not a charm for the Bulldogs, who dropped the extra point to OSU after UMD's first two shooters missed.
Black made 19 saves in the contest, while Steffes stopped 29 for OSU. UMD killed off all five of the Buckeyes power-play attempts - including a 5-on-3 in the second period - and connected on one of its six extra skater opportunities. UMD outshot OSU 31-21 in the game, including 9-3 in the first period and 9-4 in the third period.
The Bulldogs will head to Madison, Wisc. next weekend to face the No. 2 University of Wisconsin. Game-time for Saturday is set for 2:07 p.m., while Sunday is slated for 3:07 p.m.
BULLDOG NOTES: Lara Stalder had an assist on both goals Sunday, her sixth contest this season with two or more points...Stalder has now netted 21 points (4g, 17a) in 24 skates, the most points by a rookie defenseman since Jocelyne Larocque contributed 26 points (4g, 22a) during the 2007-08 season...Ashleigh Brykaliuk's power-play goal was her fifth of the season, tying her for the team lead with senior Jamie Kenyon...Sunday was UMD's fifth WCHA shootout of the season, also a program record...The Bulldogs have won three of their five shootouts this year...Both Stalder and junior defenseman Tea Villila will leave to meet up with their respective Olympic squads this week and are expected to miss the next eight UMD games.