The No. 6 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team got the win Saturday afternoon at AMSOIL Arena, but Gabbie Hughes grabbed the history.
Hughes scored a goal and added a milestone assist to help the Bulldogs sweep St. Cloud State University 4-0, the second Western Collegiate Hockey Association sweep of the Huskies UMD has made at home this season. The Bulldogs had four other players register two points outings -- Ashton Bell (1g, 1a) and Anna Klein (1g, 1a), McKenzie Hewett (2g) and Katie Davis (2a) but it was Hughes who stole the spotlight.
The junior center broke open a scoreless game at 3:24 in the second period, fighting to get her stick on a cross-crease feed from Klein for the 1-0 lead and her 99th career point. Hughes, whose career statline currently tips towards assists, fittingly hit the historic mark doing just that less than three and a half minutes later. Klein's goal off a Ashton Bell rebound at 6:51 of the period credited Hughes with the second assist, and just like that, Hughes joined arguably one of the most exclusive clubs in UMD program history.
"I can't even explain the feelings that I'm feeling right now," said Hughes after the game. "I'm still trying to wrap my head around being in that club and being in with such great players that have achieved that and then being able to achieve that myself. I'm so honored and definitely couldn't have done it without my teammates. This program is definitely the reason why I have achieved that."
What Hughes ignited in the second period, the rest of the Bulldogs carried on through into the third period. Bell walked in and beat SCSU goaltender Sanni Ahola over her shoulder on the glove side at 5:32, and Hewett tucked away a pass off a power play face-off to put UMD up 4-0 at the 9:09 mark. Junior blueliner Kailee Skinner sniped a shot from the point for her first goal of the year at 17:04, and Hewett posted her second goal of the afternoon just 1:24 later to put the exclamation point on the 6-0 Bulldog thrashing of the Huskies. All told, UMD netted four goals in the third period and has now scored five or more goals in a game four times so far this season.
Not to be outdone, Bulldog netminder Emma Soderberg continued her remarkable stand in net, holding SCSU scoreless in 24 attempts for her fifth shutout of the season -- the second most in the NCAA. UMD outshot the Huskies 41-24 and was 1-of-5 on the power play while holding SCSU 0-of-2 with an extra skater. With the setback, the Huskies fall to 3-11-1 on the season.
The Bulldogs, currently on a three-game winning streak, improve to 8-4 on the season with the win and their third sweep. UMD will next travel to Mankato, Minn. on Feb.12-13 to face Minnesota State University, Mankato.
BULLDOG NOTES: Gabbie Hughes becomes the eighth player in program history to reach the 100-point plateau in 80 or less games ... she is the first player to hit the magic mark since Lara Stalder rang up her 100th point on Oct. 8, 2016 ... In four meetings with the Huskies this season, UMD outscored SCSU 19-2 ... Emma Soderberg has allowed just three goals in her last six games and ranks second in the NCAA and first in the WCHA with a 0.94 goals against average and .963 saves percentage ... Anna Klein has moved back into a tie for second in the NCAA with nine goals and ranks third in total points (16).