In a game where three goals were scored over the first 58 minutes and three more were potted in the final two, Minnesota got the extra goal in each exchange to emerge with a 4-2 win over North Dakota.
“I thought really from the drop of the puck we were in control and generating chances,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said.
After never holding a lead when the teams played to a pair of 2-2 ties back in November in Grand Forks, junior Caitlin Reilly staked the Gophers (22-5-3, 18-4-3-2 WCHA) to an edge they wouldn’t relinquish seven minutes into the contest.
“It’s a little different feel playing from behind against them, instead of playing with the lead,” coach Brian Idalski of the Fighting Hawks (13-12-6, 10-10-5-3 WCHA) said.
Midway through the second frame, freshman defenseman Katie Robinson scored her second goal as a Gopher when her shot from the right point found the top of the cage at 11:32 of the second period.
“We had some great screens in front of the net,” she said. “[Sarah Potomak] had a nice screen, and I just saw the shot and took it.”
The hosts looked like they’d be able to parlay that 2-0 advantage into a win, but with 65 seconds left before the second intermission, Minnesota goaltender Sidney Peters was unable to corral a seemingly harmless shot from distance by Hallie Theodosopoulos, and UND was back within one.
“It was nice to get a bounce,” Idalski said. “It definitely gave us a little bit of life in the third.”
However, Minnesota was able to keep the Fighting Hawks at bay in front of a crowd of 2,458.
Goalie Lexie Shaw was forced to head off three times for an extra attacker in an attempt to tie, and though it did result in a rebound goal for Rebekah Kolstad on a six-on-four power play, the Gophers were able to sandwich empty-net goals from Kelly Pannek and Kate Schipper around it.
“The kids still found a way there in the last minute to block some more shots, win some battles in the corner, and get that thing in the empty net,” Frost said.
The teams conclude their season series at 4:07 p.m. CST on Saturday, when UND will hope for better fortune.
“Puck luck is a real thing, and recently, we haven’t been getting a whole lot of that,” Idalski said.