UMD women’s hockey hangs on to beat St. Cloud State to finish weekend sweep

The Bulldogs once again jumped out to an early lead over the Huskies in their 4-2 win Saturday afternoon. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

The Bulldogs once again jumped out to an early lead over the Huskies in their 4-2 win Saturday afternoon. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

Make it eight straight victories over St. Cloud State for the University of Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey team after a 4-2 victory Saturday afternoon to complete a weekend sweep of the Huskies at Amsoil Arena.

After outshooting the Huskies 35-23 in Friday night’s win, Bulldogs coach Maura Crowell said that she liked the fire that her team showed when the game was on the line in the third period and overtime. The Bulldogs carried that aggressiveness into Saturday’s game by outshooting St. Cloud State 12-3 in a fast-paced first period.

With 9:24 left to play in the first period, Bulldogs junior winger Emma Yanko snuck a backhanded shot through the legs of St. Cloud State goalie Emma Polusny for her first goal in a Bulldog uniform, giving her team an early 1-0 lead.

UMD’s dominance over their Western Collegiate Hockey Association rivals carried over into the second period. Forward Ashton Bell continued her impressive freshman season with her sixth goal of the year to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead with 6:12 to go in the second period.

It took the Bulldogs less than four minutes to extend their lead once again, as senior defenseman Jessica Healy launched a shot from the blue line past the Huskies goaltender to give the Bulldogs a commanding 3-0 lead.

St. Cloud State was finally able to put a puck past Jessica Convery just 4:11 into the third period with a goal by Huskies defenseman Abby Thiessen to cut UMD’s lead to 3-1. The Huskies continued their third period rally when junior winger Julia Tylke scored with 9:40 left to play in regulation, cutting UMD’s lead to just one goal.

Sophomore forward Reagan Haley (15) advances the puck into the Huskies' zone. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

Sophomore forward Reagan Haley (15) advances the puck into the Huskies' zone. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

UMD ended any hopes of a late comeback when freshman winger Naomi Rogge scored an empty net goal with just under 40 seconds to play to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 4-2. It was Rogge’s sixth goal of the season, which leads the team.

The Bulldogs continued to play suffocating defense throughout most of Saturday’s contest, taking the pressure off of goalie Jessica Convery. The Huskies recorded just eleven shots through the first two periods of play before increasing their offensive pressure in the third period. In total, Convery made 22 saves on 24 shots in net to improve her record to 5-3 on the season.

In a game that featured a total of seven penalties between the two teams, both teams had strong performances on the penalty kill. UMD killed all four St. Cloud State power play opportunities while going 0-3 on their power play.

Bulldogs head coach Maura Crowell was once again impressed with her team’s effort defensively, especially during the first two periods of play.

“I think we had the puck a lot in those first two periods,” Crowell said. “I think our forecheck was good. We were in their zone for quite a bit so I think we limited their opportunities to get into our zone anyways, so good job, good sticks, good speed, a lot of back pressure from our forwards too.”

After six straight losses, the Bulldogs have now won three of their last four games to improve their record to 5-7 on the season. UMD will get just one day off before they travel to Cambridge, MN to take on the Bemidji State Beavers for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game on Monday, Nov. 6 at 6:00. It will be UMD’s third game in four days.

SportsTyler Schendel