The No. 6 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team rallied late Saturday afternoon but fell just short of the No. 3 University of Minnesota, who left AMSOIL Arena with a 2-1 win and a Western Collegiate Hockey Association sweep.
In a Covid era where no games are assured, UMD and Minnesota have now completed two series apiece -- valuable experience when a length and duration of a season is not guaranteed. The Bulldogs are an even 2-2 after the weekend, while the Gophers improve to 3-1.
Minnesota struck first Saturday on Emily Brown's first goal of the year at 7:52 of the first period.
In the second period, UMD was penalized five times, and unfortunately the Gophers were able to find a way through the Bulldogs penalty kill late in the stanza for the first time all series.
Madeline Wething delivered a pass to Emily Oden on the doorstep, and Oden doubled Minnesota's lead at 18:42 on the 4-on-3 power play.
The Bulldogs clawed back in the third period, punctuated by senior defenseman Ashton Bell's goal at the 9:24 mark to draw UMD within a single goal of the Gophers. Bell's strike from above the circle was assisted by forwards Anna Klein and Naomi Rogge, and it also extended four-game scoring streaks for the trio. UMD out-shot Minnesota 15-7 in the third period, including heavily in the final 10 minutes, but Gopher netminder Lauren Bench made 14 of the 15 shots she faced down the stretch. Bench made a total of 31 saves in the game, while UMD junior goaltender Emma Soderberg, completing just the second series of her collegiate career, was solid for the Bulldogs between the pipes with 30 saves in the contest and 64 on the weekend.
"Not our best performance, but we were still in the game the whole time," said UMD head coach Maura Crowell. "I think in general over the course of the two games there were a lot of highs and some lows, and we want to mitigate those lows and play a little more consistency."
UMD will stay at AMSOIL for next weekend's clash with St. Cloud State University. The Friday-Saturday WCHA series will get underway Friday night at 6:07 p.m. and conclude Saturday with a 3:07 p.m. puck drop,
BULLDOG NOTES: Ashton Bell's current four-game scoring streak of three goals and five assists for eight points ties her for first in scoring among all NCAA players at every position ... Anna Klein, with a team-high four goals and two assists for six points over those same four games sits third nationally, while Naomi Rogge is tied for sixth with Anneke Linser ... Rogge has a goal and four assists in her current four-game scoring streak ... Bell, Klein, Linser and Rogge are the top-four scorers in the WCHA after four games.