The Bulldogs will be playing in the MN Cup championship game Sunday at AMSOIL Arena.
Sophomore center Gabbie Hughes made sure of it just 17 seconds into the a 3-on-3 second overtime between the No. 10 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team and Minnesota State University, Mankato that resulted officially in a 2-2 tie. Hughes' goal came 17 seconds too late to change the draw, but just in time to send the Bulldogs into tomorrow afternoon's final.
"We had a fire inside us that we wanted to get the game over with pretty quick," said Hughes after the game. "Syd (Brodt) was wide open back door, and I honestly thought she was going to shoot it but she hit me back and the net was wide open. They set me up pretty well. "
The Bulldogs opened the contest with some offensive muscle early, and Taylor Anderson put UMD up 1-0 4:48 into the first period. Anderson's stick connected to the puck through traffic in the crease for her first tally of the season, with assists ticketed to Kylie Hanley and Anneke Linser. Hughes then one-timed a shot at the top of the circle on a pass from Anna Klein at 9:35 to push UMD's lead to 2-0. Klein's pass came from a small cycle on the far boards after Ryleigh Houston dropped the puck back for Klein.
After a scoreless second period and a 31-11 shots on goal advantage, UMD watched its lead dwindle after the Maverick Jessica Kondas netted a power play goal at 7:07 to cut the Bulldogs advantage in half. Then with just 1:27 remaining in regulation, Claire Butorac found the equalizer for MSU, who pushed UMD into extra time with her third goal of the season.
Neither team found the twine in overtime, where the Bulldogs held a slight edge in shots (2-1). The result was an official non-conference tie for the two Western Collegiate Hockey Association foes, and a 3-on-3 overtime period ensued to help decide who would play for the championship Sunday.
It took just 17 seconds for Hughes, Ashton Bell and Sydney Brodt to play a quick game of tic-tac-toe, and the result was a cross ice pass from Brodt that Hughes had no trouble slamming home.
UMD finished with a 39-24 SOG advantage and 22 saves for Maddie Rooney, while MSU's Abigail Levy had 37 stops. The Mavericks are now 7-10-3 on the season.
The Bulldogs (8-8-3) will host Bemidji State University tomorrow at AMSOIL Arena at 4:07 p.m., the first time UMD will play for the MN Cup trophy.
BULLDOG NOTES: UMD is now unbeaten in 11 games against Minnesota State, dating back to Nov. 17, 2017 ... the Bulldogs are 2-0-1 against the Mavericks so far this season and have outscored MSU 9-5 in those three games ... Anna Klein now has recorded a point in her last four games ... the junior winger has two goals and three assists for five points over those four skates.