DULUTH, Minn. - In the first glimpse of the 2019-20 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team on ice Saturday night, the No. 10 Bulldogs and reigning NWHL champion Minnesota Whitecaps skated to a 2-2 draw at AMSOIL Area.
The exhibition game -- determined prior to the game to include a 3-on-3 five minute overtime period no matter what the score was at the end of regulation -- is the lone skate UMD will have before skating right into non-conference play next weekend.
After a scoreless first period, senior forward Ryleigh Houston put the Bulldogs up first after skating into a Whitecap turnover on the blueline. Houston used a toe-drag to get around a Whitecap defender in the slot before poking the home through the five-hole on her backhand. The unassisted goal came at 5:32, but was followed at 8:13 of the second period by a Whitecap goal from Allie Thundstrom to draw the skate even at 1-1.
UMD broke that tie off a face-off win from Gabbie Hughes in the Whitecaps zone later in the stanza. Hughes won the draw back behind her to Bulldog defenseman Maggie Flaherty, and Flaherty's puck on goal was slipped in on the near post by junior Anna Klein at 17:06 of the second for the 2-1 lead.
The Whitecaps equalized midway through the third period on a goal from Audra Richards to make it 2-2 at the 12:30 mark. Despite testing out the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's new 3-on-3 five minute overtime, neither team broke the stalemate in extra time.
The Bulldogs put a whopping 50 shots on goal, 48 of them saves by Whitecap goaltender Allie Morse. UMD had a total of 27 saves to its credit -- Maddie Rooney had 11 of them in the first period and overtime. Sophomore netminder Hanna Markel had 10 saves in the third period, while sophomore Emma Soderberg turned away six in the second period.
The Bulldogs will host No. 3 Clarkson University in a Friday-Saturday series next weekend at AMSOIL Arena to officially kick-off the 2019-20 season. Game-time Friday night is set for 7:00 p.m.