DULUTH, Minn. - It's pretty clear the Bulldogs know exactly what they are playing for.
One week after knocking off the No. 2 team in the country, the No. 9 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team did it again, this time dropping No. 5 Ohio State University 5-4 in overtime at AMSOIL Arena. The Western Collegiate Hockey Association series has huge playoff implications for both programs after this weekend, and the Bulldogs hit the ice knowing what was on the line.
"This is when you want to be playing your best hockey," said UMD head coach Maura Crowell after the game. "This is playoff hockey, everybody in our locker room knows that and they know what's on the line, and we have big goals this year. To go out there after what we did last Saturday at Minnesota and come back today and get the first goal and get the last one, that's the story."
For a second-straight game, the Bulldogs offense ignited quickly to take a 1-0 lead on OSU just 1:19 into the skate. Sophomore forward Kylie Hanley took the puck from just around the red line and skated up the boards and into the right circle for a rip that beat Andrea Braendli low to her right side for Hanley's fourth goal of the season.
Ohio State knotted the game 1-1 at the 9:12 mark on a power play goal from Tatum Skaggs, and then took the lead on a goal from Emma Maltais from the slot at 13:41.
The Bulldogs drew even again at 16:04 on Gabbie Hughes' 15th goal of the season. Anna Klein dropped the puck back for Hughes at the top of the left circle, and Hughes' slapshot did the rest, sending both teams into the first intermission with two goals apiece.
UMD picked right back up in the second period where it left off offensively, retaking the lead when McKenzie Hewett popped in the puck from the slot off a pass from Sydney Brodt at 8:30. 40 seconds later, OSU's Liz Schepers' shot from the far circle made it through traffic, again pulling OSU even at 9:10. But Klein again threw tinder on the Bulldog offense, and at 17:30 on the power play, Klein skated around the net and banked the puck off OSU's goaltender Lynsey Wallace to grab a 4-3 advantage back from the Buckeyes.
OSU pressed in the third period, even outshooting UMD 14-4 in the period and finally at 13:15, Skaggs struck again and went five-hole to draw the Buckeyes even for a third-consecutive time against the Bulldogs..
That 4-4 score would hold through the rest of regulation, forcing the Bulldogs and Buckeyes into their
second overtime game so far this season. But unlike their first overtime skate in November, UMD worked its way out of a tie at 3:12 into extra time. Brodt found Klein all alone on the back post for the game-winner -- UMD's second win in as many games against top-five ranked squads.
OSU held a 45-30 shots on goal advantage, but Maddie Rooney made 41 stops. The Buckeyes (17-7-5, 10-5-4-2) had two goaltenders on the ice -- Braendli, who made 11 saves in the first period, and Wallace, who had 14 stops in 44:43 of action. Both teams netted one goal in four power play attempts.
The Bulldogs (14-9-4, 9-7-3-2) will aim for a sweep tomorrow afternoon at AMSOIL. The puck will drop at 3:07 p.m.