The University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team netted four goals by four different skaters Friday night, and not a single tally came from the Bulldogs leading scorer.
UMD brushed right past St. Cloud State University at AMSOIL Arena 4-2, with UMD's offensive depth showcased on two goals in both the first and second periods. The win, UMD's sixth in its last eight games, coupled with a win from Bemidji State University against No. 9 Ohio State University Friday, has put the Buckeyes squarely in the cross-hairs of the Bulldogs in the race for third place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. UMD now trails OSU by just two points -- the Buckeyes, who have played two more league games than the Bulldogs, are sitting with 33 points to UMD's 31.
"We had a good start, which always helps us gain confidence," said Bulldog captain Sydney Brodt. "I think it helps us demoralize the other team a little bit when we get those goals right away, so that was a big thing for us tonight."
Despite forward Gabbie Hughes out of the line-up, the Bulldogs surpassed the four-goal a game mark for the sixth time this season. McKenzie Hewett scored the second goal of her collegiate career in end-to-end fashion, skating the puck from one face-off circle to top of the Huskies circle where the rookie ripped a shot at 9:03 to put UMD up 1-0. Brodt tipped her way on to the scoreboard at 16:03, redirecting a line drive from Lizi Norton past SCSU goaltender Emma Polusny for a 2-0 lead.
A four-goal second period began at 2:42 when Norton pushed the Bulldogs out to a 3-0 lead. Undeterred by two previously blocked shots, Norton picked up the puck bellow just under the left circle and fired the puck past Polusny for her third goal of the season.
The Huskies used a power play to get on the board just over four minutes later, a goal from Jenniina Nylund at 6:56. But the Bulldogs answered less than two minutes later courtesy of Ryleigh Houston, who drove the extended goal line and flipped the puck between Polusny and the pipe to give UMD a 4-1 advantage at 8:16. SCSU managed a second goal at 19:22 by Julia Tylke, but UMD's 4-2 held after a scoreless third period.
"I think our players handled having Gabbie (Hughes) not in the line-up really, really well," said head coach Maura Crowell. "I think getting four goals without Gabbie is perfect, and to get scoring from all different areas, I think our players stepped up big-time."
UMD shelled the Huskies with 47 shots, while SCSU put up just 23 on Maddie Rooney, who made 21 saves in the game. Polusny had 43 saves for the Huskies, who land at 9-21-2 and 4-17-0 in the WCHA.
UMD (13-12-2, 9-8-2-2) will face SCSU tomorrow after 4:07 p.m. for the series finale.
BULLDOG NOTES: Lizi Norton's two-point (1g, 1a) performance was the third of the season for the rookie blueliner .... Naomi Rogge also posted two points (two assists) in the skate, her fifth multiple-point outing this year...UMD's leading scorer Gabbie Hughes (15g, 14a, 29 points) missed her first game of the season Friday ... the rookie forward is not expected to suit up against the Huskies this weekend.