In the ultra competitive Western Collegiate Hockey Association, there is nothing more important than grabbing league points, and that's what the University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team did Friday night.
The Bulldogs earned one point after a 2-2 deadlock with Minnesota State University, Mankato at AMSOIL Arena, before adding a second conference point with a 1-0 shootout win. The tie, followed by a shootout win, is the second for the Bulldogs this season -- they tied the University of Minnesota 2-2 back on Oct. 6 before also pocketing the extra point.
"I think there were a lot of highlights, and when we had our opportunities, I had all the confidence in the world that we could put the puck away," said UMD head coach Maura Crowell after the game. "We just need to bear down when it counts defensively and do what it takes to finish the game."
Despite the Mavericks slight edge on the shot chart in the first period, it was the Bulldogs that notched the early lead late in the frame. Ryleigh Houston's hustle picked the puck up in the UMD zone and skated it unopposed before the junior forward weaved the puck under the stick of a MSU defender and then subsquently five-holed Maverick netminder Abigail Levy with just 1:10 remaining in the period,
Sophomore forward Anna Klein doubled UMD's lead to 2-0 with a skate through the left circle and a quick wrist shot. Klein's fourth goal of the season was assisted by freshman forward Anneke Linser, who tied her collegiate-long scoring streak of three games with the helper.
The Mavericks rallied in the third period, however, drawing within one at 7:24 on a goal from Brittyn Fleming before equalizing on a blast from Tristen Truax at the 13:45 mark. Neither team would strike again, despite an additional five minute overtime, and the game officially ended in a tie.
In the WCHA mandated shootout, Houston again scored five-hole, and the rest was all vintage Maddie Rooney. Rooney made three saves on all three MSU shooters to secure UMD's second shootout win of the season and second point league point of the night.
Rooney had a total of 31 saves in the game, while Levy had 21 for the Mavericks, who outshot UMD 33-23 in the contest and are now 8-6-2 overall and 3-6-2 in WCHA play.
The Bulldogs (5-8-2, 3-6-2-2) will try to end 2018 on a high note when they host the MSU Saturday afternoon at AMSOIL at 4:07 p.m. All fans who bring a stuffed animal for the Teddy Bear Toss promotion will pay just $3.00 for a ticket.
BULLDOG NOTES: Maddie Rooney is 5-of-5 on stopping shooters in WCHA shootouts this so far this season, while Ryleigh Houston has now netted two shootout goals in two attempts...UMD is unbeaten in their last five outings against the Mavericks...Anneke Linser's assist gives her one goal and two assists for three points in her last three game...Linser now also has a team-high seven assists.