|3rd||7:31||MND||1-0||EV GW||Ashleigh Brykaliuk (15)||Jenna McParland/15|
|3rd||19:59||MND||2-0||EV EN AG||Ashleigh Brykaliuk (16)||-|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Bemidji State (19-16-1)||0/2||6/12||0|
|Minnesota Duluth (20-11-5)||0/2||5/21||0|
|Bemidji State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Brittni Mowat (L, 17-12-1)||58:03||1||7||12||7||26|
|Minnesota Duluth Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Kayla Black (W, 19-11-5)||60:00||0||7||9||13||29|
On a emotional day at AMSOIL Arena, the Bulldogs found the best possible way to honor the heart and soul of the program.
The No. 9 (and sixth in the current PairWise rankings) University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team forced game three in the best-of-three first round Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff series with a 2-0 victory over Bemidji State University. The win -- No. 20 for the Bulldogs on the season -- put the Bulldogs and Beavers in a winner-takes-all contest tomorrow at 2:07 p.m. at AMSOIL. UMD now sits 20-11-5 overall on the season, the program's 14th year with 20 or more wins out of a possible 16 seasons.
"We seemed off early in the game, but boy we found our rhythm later in the game and just took over," said head coach Shannon Miller. "Outstanding performance by most of our team, especially Kayla (Black) and then to get through those seven minutes of penalties was amazing. Amazing performance, amazing penalty kill and just a really strong finish."
Scoreless after the first 40 minutes despite outshooting the Beavers 19-16, the Bulldogs finally got a return on their effort when senior winger Jenna McParland's patience with the puck paid off. McParland held the puck on the right side of the boards until sophomore center Ashleigh Brykaliuk found her way to the net, and Brykaliuk buried McParland's cross-slot pass at the 7:31 mark to put the Bulldogs on the board.
UMD was sitting strong with the 1-0 advantage until the 11:20 mark, when senior center Brienna Gillandes was ejected for a contact to the head penalty. Gillanders' penalty was followed 50 seconds later by another UMD infraction, and the Bulldogs not only had a 5-on-4 to defend, they also spent a minute on a 5-on-3 between 11:20 to 15:30 on the game clock.
No matter for the Bulldogs, who killed off the seven minutes total of penalties in the final stanza and then added an empty-net goal as time expired, credited to Brykaliuk was was taken down mere feet from the net before the buzzer the sounded.
Black was outstanding between the pipes for UMD with 31 saves, and picked up her 10th shutout of the season -- the third most in the NCAA -- and the 19th of her career in the effort. Brittani Mowat had 26 saves for the Beavers who fall to 19-11-5 overall.
The contest was a hugely emotional and personal one for the Bulldog staff and players, as the game was into the second period when Bulldog equipment manager and stength and conditioning coach Julianne "Montana" Vasichek was undergoing a liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. That weighed heavy on the mind of the players throughout the course of the game.
"They are very worried about Montana, I mean, I am not going to lie to you," said an emotional Miller on the topic. "It bothers them, and obviously it bother me. She's fighting for her life and they know that, and that's hard on them, just like it's hard on me."
UMD will host BSU tomorrow afternoon at 2:07 p.m. The winner will play the No. 2 University of Minnesota next Saturday, March 7, at Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. in the semi-finals of the WCHA Final Face-Off.
For updates on Julianne "Montana" Vasichek's surgery and progress, http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/juliannevasichek
BULLDOG NOTES: UMD and BSU have now each won three games against the other this season, sporting records of 3-3 ... Ashleigh Brykaliuk now leads the Bulldogs with four game-winning goals this season ... UMD is 32-13 overall in WCHA playoff games, 18-5 in WCHA quarterfinal skates and 6-1 all-time against the Beavers in the postseason.