The No. 3 University of Minnesota used four unanswered goals -- including an empty-net tally in the final two minutes -- to upend the No. 6 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey 4-2 at AMSOIL Arena Friday night.
UMD got out to an early 1-0 lead just 5:12 into the first period. Senior defenseman Ashton Bell fired a shot from the high slot that deflected off Anna Klein's mask in front of the net and past Gopher goaltender Lauren Bench for Klein's fourth goal of the season.
The Bulldogs doubled their advantage with Kylie Hanley's third goal of the season that came at 14:22 of the same stanza. Naomi Rogge took a pass from Lizi Norton and dropped it off outside the right circle for Hanley, who proceeded to walk in from the dot and beat Bench for the 2-0 score.
UMD began the second period with 15 seconds left on its penalty kill, but Minnesota struck for an even strength tally instead 1:30 later from Abigail Boreen. Boreen's goal was the lone score of the period by either team, despite the Gophers landing 17 shots on goal to UMD's nine.
The Bulldogs 2-1 lead would stand until midway through the third period when Gopher Abbey Murphy scored her first goal of the season at 12:06. Minnesota then took its first, and eventually, final lead of the game at 17:43 on a Anne Cherkowski tally before Catie Skaja struck for an empty-net goal at 18:10 for the Gophers.
"I really liked our start," said UMD head coach Maura Crowell. "We came out flying and it was nice to put up two goals in the first. Had a sluggish second, but weathered the storm, and then the third I thought was pretty good. So I think we played pretty well at times, but we need a little more consistency throughout the game. I would like to see us play better with a two goal lead and a good lesson here learned early in the season against a good team."
Though both teams put 11 shots on goal in the third period, Minnesota had a 38-28 shots on goal advantage in the game. Junior goaltender Emma Soderberg had 34 saves for the Bulldogs, who held the Gophers scoreless in three power play attempts. Bench had 26 stops for Minnesota, which now owns a 2-1-0 record, as does UMD, in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
The puck will drop on the second game of the series at AMSOIL Arena tomorrow afternoon at 3:07 p.m.