The newly minted NWHL Minnesota Whitecaps flexed some professional muscle Saturday afternoon, defeating the No. 7 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team 5-1 in an exhibition outing at AMSOIL Arena. The Bulldogs, currently on a two-week hiatus from Western Collegiate Hockey Association action, faced the Whitecaps for a second time in the first half of the current season.
The Whitecaps built a 2-0 lead midway through the first period, scoring a pair of goals just 58 seconds apart. The Bulldogs broke through at the 14:01 mark when sophomore Naomi Rogge backhanded a rebound to cut the Whitecaps advantage in half. Rogge's tally came off a shot from the point from sophomore blueliner McKenzie Revering, who made her first appearance of the season in the exhibition skate.
After a knotted up shot chart of 14-14 into the first intermission, the Whitecaps snuck a puck past UMD rookie goaltender Emma Soderberg just 1:41 into the second frame. Allie Thundstrom then finished a breakaway at 17:15 to push the Whitecaps to a 4-1 lead after two periods, despite the Bulldogs having outshot the Whitecaps 10-4 in the stanza.
Thundstrom notched a hat trick at 9:52 of the third period, on a goal almost identical to her second score to secure the 5-1 with for the NWHL squad.
The Bulldogs -- who were without junior goaltender Maddie Rooney and junior forward Sydney Brodt, who are currently with the U.S. National Team -- played both their dressed goaltenders in the game. Soderberg posted 14 saves in the first 40 minutes of action, while sophomore Hanna Markel had nine saves in 20 minutes of duty. UMD outshot the Whitecaps 36-28 on the afternoon.
With a break in the schedule for Four Nations next weekend, the Bulldogs will return to action Nov. 16-17 when they will face WCHA for Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.