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Bulldogs women host Minnesota this weekend

The University of Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey team will host its first home series of the 2021-22 season at AMSOIL Arena this weekend when the Bulldogs welcome No. 5/6 Minnesota for a Western Collegiate Hockey Association showdown.

The Bulldogs and Gophers, who only met in one series last season for the first time in program history, will drop the puck Friday night at 6:01 p.m. and Saturday at 3:01 p.m.

THE SERIES
For the first time in program history, the Bulldogs and Gophers met in just one series — two games — last season. UMD trails the all-time series 29-63-10, and Minnesota swept the Bulldogs at AMSOIL last season back on Nov. 27-28, 2020 by scores of 2-4 and 1-2. The two sides were scheduled to meet at Ridder Arena again on Jan. 14-15, but the series was postponed and unable to be rescheduled, leaving the two sides with just two skates a year ago.

In their lone series, the Bulldogs got out to a 2-0 lead after the first period in game one, but were undone by four unanswered goals by the Gophers, including an empty-net tally in the final two minutes. UMD’s goal scorers were Anna Klein and Kylie Hanley, and goaltender Emma Soderberg, in her first career action against a top-five ranked team, turned in a career-best 34 saves.

In the second game, Minnesota scored in the first period, and then used a 4-on-3 power play in the second period to take a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. UMD 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 Klein and Naomi Rogge. UMD outshot 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. Soderberg, completing just the second series of her collegiate career at the time, was solid for the Bulldogs between the pipes with 30 saves in the contest and 64 on the weekend.

Senior center Gabbie Hughes has had immense success against Minnesota in her past three seasons, and has notched seven goals and seven assists for 14 points in 12 career skates against the Gophers.

A LOOK AT THE GOPHERS
The Gophers were swept at Ridder by Ohio State last weekend by scores of 2-4 and 1-4. Two players posted two points in two games — senior forward Taylor Heise (1g, 1a) and senior defenseman Emily Brown (2a). Minnesota split goaltenders in the series — senior Lauren Bench (3.09 GAA) and Skylar Vetter (4.00 GAA). Brad Frost is in is 15th season at the helm of the Gophers, and owns an all-time record of 413-84-35 record.

LAST TIME OUT
The Bulldogs settled for a WCHA series last weekend against Minnesota State in Mankato, putting up a 7-0 win Friday night before surrendering a 2-4 loss Saturday.

Friday, UMD scored early and often, kicked off by Naomi Rogge’s goal at 6:30 in the first period. From there, the Bulldogs scored seven unanswered goals, with Rogge and Gabbie Hughes netting two tallies, and four players contributing three or more points (Rogge 2g, 2a, Hughes 2g, 1a, Anna Klein 1g, 2a and Élizabeth Giguère 3a. In all, the Bulldogs cashed in two of the seven power plays they were awarded. Emma Soderberg earned her seventh career shutout in the win, stopping all 14 shots she faced.

Saturday, the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead at 12:04 of the first period, but the Mavericks scored power play goals at 6:21 and 6:57 of the second frame to take the lead and never looked back. In all, MSU was 3-of05 with the extra skater. Giguère did pull UMD within one goal at 14:56 of the third, but MSU netted an empty net with five seconds remaining to ice the game. Soderberg had 17 stops in the loss.

NOTES FROM THE MINNESOTA STATE SERIES

All-time, the Bulldogs are now 74-8-9 against the Mavericks. Saturday’s loss was the first by a Bulldog side in 19 meetings with MSU.

–The Bulldogs outshot the Mavericks in both games — 41-14 Friday night, and 26-21 Saturday for a combined 67-47. UMD outscored MSU 9-4 despite splitting the series.

–UMD’s seven goal outburst was the most goals it has put up since it recorded seven against the Mavericks last season on Nov. 21, 2020, a 7-3 win for the Bulldogs.

–10 players registered a point in UMD’s series with MSU, including four that posted four or more points total in the first two games.

–UMD head coach Maura Crowell coached in her 200th game last Friday night. Crowell has 101 wins in her seven year career at UMD so far.

GIGUERE HITS THE CAREER GOAL CENTURY MARK
Élizabeth Giguère cemented her name into another record book last Saturday night, scoring the 100th goal of her storied collegiate career. Giguère’s goal came at 14:56 of the third period, and puts her as only the 24th NCAA Division I women’s hockey player to have scored 100 or more goals.

Ironically, that statistical line only counts career goals from players from the 2000-2001 season to present time, when the NCAA recognized women’s hockey. Prior Giguère, the Bulldogs have four players who recorded 100 or goals over their UMD careers, including program leader Maria Rooth (119 goals in 124 games, Jenny Potter (108 goals in 102 games), Hanne Sikio (100 goals in 123 games) and Erika Holst (100 goals in 127 games), but their 1999-2000 goal totals are not counted by the NCAA, leaving them short of the NCAA century mark.

GABBIE HUGHES JOINS THE 50 GOAL CLUB

Gabbie Hughes scored her 50th and 51st UMD career goal last weekend against the Mavericks. With her goal Friday night at 15:32 of the second period, Hughes became the 14th player in program history to record 50 or more goals over a Bulldog career. Hughes hit the milestone in just 89 games played.

UMD’s last 50-plus goal scorers were linemates Lara Stalder and Ashley Brykaliuk, who hit the mark during their 2016-17 senior seasons. Brykaliuk finished her career with 62 goals over 146 games, while Stalder had 54 goals in 134 games.

LEAGUE LEADERS
UMD currently has four of the top-10 top scoring spots in the WCHA. Senior forward Naomi Rogge ranks second in the WCHA with five points on two goals and three assists, while Anna Klein (1g, 3a), Élizabeth Giguère (1g, 3a) and Gabbie Hughes (2g, 2a) all sit in sixth with four points.

UMD has scored the second most goals (nine) in the league so far for a 4.50 goals per game average, and allowed the second fewest goals (four), for a goals against of 2.00.

KLEIN’S DURABILITY CLIMB: Senior winger Anna Klein has never, in her previous four years of college hockey, missed a game. The fifth-year senior is now at 127 consecutive games played. Klein is chasing former standout defenseman Sidney Morin, who skated in 147 consecutive games between 2013-17.

Published in Bulldogs

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