The Minnesota Gophers hosted the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs Saturday afternoon to start the very popular series in front of a packed rink. Less than a minute into the game Nicole Schammel came down the right side and put the first shot on goal, but Maddie Rooney batted the puck wide. The Gophers were buzzing and kept flying through Duluth’s zone, though a lot of their shots were blocked by Bulldog defenders. Sarah Potomak carried the puck in along the right side and made a lateral pass into the slot, but her line mates couldn’t catch the puck to finish the play. Abigail Boreen’s slot shot hit the crossbar and bounced away.
Halfway through the period Jalyn Elmes made a shot that caused a mess at Minnesota’s crease before Alex Gulstene covered up. Bulldogs stayed on the attack for another couple of minutes before the Gophers took the action the other way. Taylor Heise caused a turnover along the Bulldog backboards, and as the puck bounced through the slot Sarah Potomak swooped in and knocked it high into the back of the net at 13:55. This caused Duluth to double down on their offense, which ultimately resulted in Kylie Hanley tying the game at 17:55. Elmes and Ryleigh Houston assisted. The teams were still tied going into first intermission.
Second period started with some back and forth, but only the Bulldogs were getting shots. Then Gabbie Hughes came down center ice and, despite multiple Gophers attempting to steal the puck, maintained control until she reached the crease and tucked the puck into the net’s top right pocket at 1:31. After that Minnesota went hard, even if they had difficultly maintaining control in Duluth’s zone for several minutes, and made a lot of attempts. Heise zipped down the left side and put a great shot into Rooney’s glove. When Grace Zumwinkle reached the right circle she fired into Rooney and then caught her own rebound to score at 8:27. Schammel had the lone assist on this goal, which retied the game.
Gulstene had to stop several long shots this period. The Gophers had a real frenzy with some solid chances, which Rooney stopped. Though there had been some uncalled physical play throughout the first thirty minutes of the game the referees decided to call McKenzie Hewett for tripping Taylor Wente at 16:11. This power play allowed Minnesota even more chances on goal mixed with a lot of grade A puck cycling, but Duluth killed the penalty. Gophers kept going for that next goal, but they couldn’t sink a third puck past Rooney.
Third period started with quiet puck chasing. Zumwinkle flew up the left side and made a flyby attempt, which was denied. Minnesota had the offensive edge for the first six or so minutes of the period and then the Bulldogs went to town for several minutes without any luck, though Sydney Brodt made a great shot from just about the right circle into Gulstene’s upraised glove. Catie Skaja came along the right side and then fed Schammel for a 5-hole attempt that Rooney stopped cold. The teams continued to make attempts on the other’s goaltender until Naomi Rogge tripped Heise at 16:15. UMD immediately used their timeout before the power play could officially begin. While Patti Marshall and Olivia Knowles had some great shots, Minnesota was unable to convert on the power play. In the dying seconds of the period Maggie Flaherty made a left point shot that rang off the far corner of Gulstene’s pipe and regulation ended with a 2-2 tie.
Minnesota made three attempts early in overtime and then they were on defense. The Gophers used their timeout at 2:29, possibly to rest and regroup. However, it didn’t help as much as they must have hoped. For roughly a minute later Kailee Skinner passed to Rogge and she hit the puck over a prone Gulstene from just left of the crease, making the puck rattle around the back of the net to end the game at 3:39 of overtime. Duluth had beaten Minnesota 3-2OT after the Gophers outshot them 44-24. They finish the series Sunday afternoon.