On a night where some of the Bulldogs biggest offensive stars delivered big goals, it was senior defenseman Maggie Flaherty that delivered the biggest goal of all.
A game-winner, to be exact, and Flaherty's overtime goal from the extended goal line powered the No. 6/7 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team past the No. 5/6 University of Minnesota 5-4 at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn. UMD's five goals was the most it has put up against Minnesota since the Bulldogs posted a 5-3 at home against Minnesota back on Jan. 14, 2017.
"They knew we wanted a better start, and it was almost like a repeat in that first shift, but they really put that behind them and went and got it and scored some beautiful power play goals there," said UMD head coach Maura Crowell. "I think the players showed they got the message last night and came ready to play. We learned that there's a lot of hockey in front of us, so if we give up a goal it's no big deal, we'll go get it back and I love that about our team."
UMD's start wasn't exactly what it had hoped for when Taylor Heise smacked in a blind pass from Abigail Boreen just 39 seconds into the opening frame. But the Bulldogs response was prompt, and the end result was three unanswered goals by the first intermission.
Gabbie Hughes got the scoring going with a one-timed power play goal from the slot after a give-and-go with Elizabeth Giguere at 4:07 to knot the game at 1-1. Hughes and Giguere worked their power play magic again, this time at 16:45 of the frame. Giguere, from the top of the left circle, found Hughes off the back post, and Hughes threaded the space between the pipe and Lauren Bench's pad to put the Bulldogs up 2-1.
Mannon McMahon shoveled home UMD's third goal at the 19:41 mark, and her first goal of the season sent the Bulldogs into the locker room with a 3-1 lead after just 20 minutes of play.
Senior winger Anna Klein extended UMD's lead 11:04 into the second period, popping in a pinpoint pass from Giguere who had wheeled around the back of the net and spotted Klein's stick on the doorstep. Minnesota answered just 27 seconds later behind Emily Oden's second goal of the season, but that was all the scoring to be had after 40 minutes of play.
The Gophers roared back late in the third period behind two goals from Abigail Boreen, who scored at both the 16:22 mark and again with an extra skater at 19:29 to send the game into overtime. UMD goaltender Emma Soderberg made 18 saves in just the third period alone, and Minnesota peppered the Bulldogs late, outshooting UMD 20-7 in the final regulation frame.
But overtime belonged to the Bulldogs, and more specifically, Flaherty, who just 2:09 into extra time took a pass from Clara Van Wieren and sniped a shot from below the extended goal line behind Bench that hit the far side of the mesh. From there, the game-winning celebration was on for Flaherty and the Bulldogs, who are now 2-2 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association action and .500 on the young season.
Soderberg made 31 stops for UMD, who went 2-of-2 on its power play. Minnesota's Bench made 18 saves for the Gophers, who fall to 1-3 in the WCHA.
The Bulldogs will continue their current homestand against ranked opponents next weekend when it hosts the No. 1 University of Wisconsin in a Friday - Sunday league series. Friday's contest will get underway at AMSOIL at 12:01 p.m.
BULLDOG NOTES: UMD has now scored as many power play goals (four) as it did the entire season last year ... Elizabeth Giguere and Gabbie Hughes extended their current scoring streaks to four games ... Giguere leads all UMD scorers with two goals and six assists for eight points, while Hughes has a team-high four goals and three assists for seven points .. Giguere and Hughes are currently 1-2 in the WCHA scoring, with Hughes tied for first in goals.