DULUTH, Minn. - One down, one to go for the University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team.
The Bulldogs took game one of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's playoff quarterfinals Friday afternoon against Bemidji State University 3-2, staying undefeated against the Beavers at AMSOIL Arena this season. Rookie defenseman -- and current WCHA Defenseman of the Month and Week -- Maggie Flaherty led all scorers with two assists.
"Let me tell you, it feels great to get the first one," said UMD head coach Maura Crowell. "We want to get it done tomorrow. I think these guys are confident and believe, they know that Bemidji is a tough team and that they are going to make a big push tomorrow. We will be ready for it."
Well aware that the home team in BSU-UMD WCHA quarterfinal action hasn't won the series since 2008, the Bulldogs went right at the Beavers, and the result was two goals in the opening 20 minutes. Junior winger Sydney Brodt used a change of speed from the boards to chip a backhanded pass to Naomi Rogge alone in the high slot for the game's first goal at 8:46. Rogge's wrist shot beat BSU goaltender Lauren Bench under the bar glove-side for her 12th goal of the season. UMD stretched that lead to 2-0 with just 49 seconds left in the stanza on Annke Linser's ninth tally of the year. Linser collected the puck from Anna Klein, moved from her forehand to her backhand in a trafficked slot and then tucked the puck past Bench's extended blocker. Both Klein and Flaherty had assists on Linser's goal.
The Beavers scored the lone goal of the second period at 7:58, a one-time shot from Emily Bergland alone on the doorstep to draw within a single goal at 2-1. It would then take more than 22 more minutes of action for UMD to score the eventual game-winner midway through the third period.
Flaherty faked a shot from the left point and slid a pass across to Gabbie Hughes at the far circle. Hughes spilt two BSU players into the high slot and flipped it in five-hole to give UMD a 3-1 lead at 11:24. Hughes game-winner was her 17th tally of the season, while Flaherty's assist was her fifth point in the past three games. Senior blueliner Shelby Brossart also had an assist on the goal.
BSU netted a 6-on-5 goal with just .4 of a second remaining by Mak Langei, but fall to 13-20-2 overall and 0-1 in the best-of-three series. Bench made 31 saves for Beavers, who were 0-of-2 on their power play.
Maddie Rooney had 27 for the Bulldogs, who never had a power play in the skate but still outshot BSU 34-29.
UMD (14-15-4) will try to wrap the series up tomorrow afternoon at AMSOIL. Puck will drop on game two at 2:07 p.m.
BULLDOG NOTES: Maggie Flaherty has now recorded three goals and two assists for five points in her last three games ... the Bulldogs are now 4-2 all-time in game one of their quarterfinal games against the Beavers, and improve to 10-4 all-time against BSU in postseason play ... UMD is also now 37-15 all-time in WCHA tournament action.