#4 Minnesota Duluth’s already young defense was set to face a big test this weekend against third-ranked Minnesota, with one of their defensemen, junior Jalyn Elmes gone for the weekend due to a family event and sophomore forward Ashton Bell moving back to the blue line.
On Friday, that test did not go well, with the Bulldogs ceding four goals in the first period and five total—all on rebounds—en route to a 5-2 loss to the Gophers. On Saturday, the Bulldogs defense struggled at times again, allowing 39 shots on goalie Maddie Rooney, but they found a way to limit those second chance opportunities and managed to hang on for a 2-2 tie against Minnesota, with the Bulldogs taking the extra conference point in a shootout.
After a scoreless first period, Minnesota Duluth took a lead in the second period thanks to a pair of power play goals from freshman Gabbie Hughes and sophomore Anna Klein.
Minnesota charged back in the third when Nicole Schammel capitalized on a rare misplay by Rooney to score on her own rebound. Less than a minute later, UMD’s Bell was whistled for a major penalty and Minnesota evened the game on the ensuing power play when Kelly Pannek’s shot from the point hit someone in front of the net and deflected past Rooney.
The score remained tied through the end of regulation and overtime, giving each team one WCHA league point. Minnesota Duluth earned the final point thanks to shootout goals from Gabbie Hughes and Ryleigh Houston, and a pair of saves by Rooney.
Notes and Thoughts:
-As mentioned above, I wouldn’t say Minnesota Duluth’s defense was particularly good tonight, but they were certainly better. The defense really struggled to move the puck out of their own zone which extended some possessions for Minnesota and created dangerous situations. But what they were able to do today that they weren’t yesterday was that they limited Minnesota to just a single chance on net, rather than giving the Gophers two or three whacks at the puck.
Maddie Rooney is an exceptional goalie, and proved that again today with a really, really solid performance. She’s going to make the first save almost every time, so as long as UMD can limit second and third chance opportunities, they’re going to have a chance to beat anyone.
-It was a very good weekend for Minnesota, taking four of six points on the road, including fighting back in the third period today to get a point today. There’s a lot of positives for Minnesota so far. The biggest one is probably the most obvious, which is that getting the ‘Pots and Pan’ line of Amy and Sarah Potomak with Kelly Pannek is a big game-changer. Minnesota’s power play is so much more dangerous with Pannek’s vision and ability to move the puck across the box and create weak-side opportunties, compared to times last year, where I felt like they sometimes got stuck just blasting the puck into traffic from the point too often.
-Sydney Scobee ended with fairly non-descript numbers, but made a game-changing save in the final minute of the first period, when the Bulldogs had a mini 2-on-0 and Anneke Linser fed the puck across the crease to Maggie Flaherty, for what looked like a sure goal, only to have Scobee slide across the crease and get a pad on it.
-Taylor Heise is starting the season as Minnesota’s third line center, and after going scoreless today, has just one goal in four games, which may seem low given the hype surrounding her coming in. But watching her today, she’s still finding a way to make herself valuable on the ice by being excellent on the defensive end. She broke up a number of plays in the defensive zone thanks to her hustle. It may take a while for the offensive numbers to come, but she’s still playing great as a freshman.
-Jalyn Elmes’ absence wasn’t just felt on the blue line, but with Ashton Bell moving back to the blue line, that also left a hole on UMD’s top line, which wasn’t quite as effective today. The good news is that the second line with Ryleigh Houston-Gabbie Hughes-Anna Klein picked up the slack and played a fantastic game. Hughes may give Amy Potomak a run for best freshman in the WCHA by the end of the year.
Shots on goal: UMD: 10- 6-5-2-23 UM: 11-14-13-1-39
Shot attempts: UMD: 19-14-7-3-43 UM: 26-32-22-4-84
Prime scoring area attempts: UMD: 12-8-4-1-25 UM: 11-14-8-1-34
What do the numbers tell us?
Minnesota had a pretty significant edge in possession, but the number of quality chances from in close were fairly even.
4:32 Gabbie Hughes from Maggie Flaherty and Ryleigh Houston (power play) 1-0 UMD
Houston won a face-off at the right circle back to Flaherty. Flaherty took a quick shot that was blocked in traffic and deflected to Hughes on the left side of the net and she one-timed the puck past Scobee
17:09 Anna Klein from Lizi Norton and Sydney Brodt (5x3 power play) 2-0 UMD
With a two-man advantage, Minnesota Duluth worked the puck to the front of the Minnesota net, and in traffic, Klein was able to jam home the puck from the top of the crease.
6:09 Nicole Schammel from Crystalyn Hengler 2-1 UMD
Schammel came down the left wing and dangled around a UMD defender to take a wrist shot. Rooney couldn’t corral the rebound and Schammel picked it up to score.
8:29 Kelly Pannek from Patti Marshall and Amy Potomak (power play) 2-2 tie
Pannek took a shot along the ice from the right point that deflected off a stick in front of the goal and re-directed out of the reach of Rooney and into the net.