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Gophers Bite Back Bulldogs for Series Split

Minnesota paid back Duluth with a 5-3 victory, splitting the series.

Gracie Ostertag (#6) and Naomi Rogge (#9).
Cat Lenander

Sunday afternoon Minnesota finished their series against Minnesota Duluth. The Gophers came out ready to create some chaos with Taylor Heise throwing the first shot of the game on goal, which went straight into Maddie Rooney’s glove. It took several minutes for Duluth to return the favor, though it was equally fruitless against Sydney Scobee. At 6:38 Olivia Knowles took a minor for interfering with Anna Klein. The Bulldogs came on strong during the power play and despite Taylor Wente’s best efforts to clear the slot she fell, which allowed Anneke Linser to score at 9:31. Maggie Flaherty and Gabbie Hughes assisted.

Duluth continued creating chaos at Minnesota’s crease for several minutes. At one point the puck came off the backboards and Ashton Bell swooped in for the shot, which Scobee denied before fending off another shot by Flaherty. After that Minnesota spent the rest of the period piling on shots and trying to generate some buzz, but at the end of the period they still had yet to get on the board.

Gophers had to start the first couple minutes of second period on defense, but soon they were on the attack and found success. Namely when Catie Skaja made a shot off the backboards that hit the back of Rooney’s pads and bounced into goal at 3:10. Knowles and Abigail Boreen set up the tying play. This was soon followed by Sarah Potomak streaking down center ice and throwing a low shot on goal. While the puck bounced off Rooney’s pads, Sarah Potomak caught her own rebound, shot from behind the goal line, and the puck deflected off Rooney’s pads into the back of the net at 4:21. Heise and Sophie Skarzynski assisted.

Bulldogs didn’t want to let two goals go unanswered and were quickly on the attack. Scobee hopped across her crease after blocking the initial Hughes shot and then fended off Ryleigh Houston’s initial attempt, but the third attempt was the charm and Houston scored at 5:12. Linser had the second assist. When Gracie Ostertag fired into Rooney’s central mass a little shoving broke out at her crease, but that didn’t deter the Gophers from their frenzy. Kelly Pannek fed the puck to Taylor Williamson for a stellar shot on goal, which left a loose puck in an open crease, but no Gopher could hit it in time.

A couple minutes after Duluth put play back in Minnesota’s zone Ostertag went to the box for tripping a Bulldog at 16:16. The penalty expired harmlessly two minutes later, which put some pep in Minnesota’s step and they rained chaos in the final minute of the period, which included about three attempts to knock the puck into an open net while Rooney was down. The officials even reviewed the play, though it was clear the puck never crossed the line. Like yesterday the teams went into third period tied.

Just 57 seconds in Rogge hooked Amy Potomak along the Minnesota sideboards. During the resulting power play Heise passed to Sarah Potomak at the right circle and she fed the puck to her sister in the slot. The shot itself took Amy Potomak off her skates, but she still scored at 2:25. Both teams took runs at the other team’s respective goaltender and in the process a lot of Gophers were sent tumbling down to the ice. Still, Minnesota made a number of solid attempts on goal.

They just couldn’t keep the Bulldogs from scoring again, as Hughes found the back of the net at 10:29. Rogge had the lone assist. Heise swooped through Duluth’s zone, shot, and then shot again, but Rooney denied her both times. During the next play there was a messy scramble at Duluth’s crease, which the referees decided to review, but again determined Rooney had kept the puck out. At 15:41 Hughes wound up in the box for tripping and Minnesota knew they had to score on the power play. Luckily, Nicole Schammel did just that at 16:37 after a puck battle at the crease. Wente and Emily Brown assisted.

Shortly after that Sarah Potomak got injured without a call and while she left the ice looking hurt and furious, she was playing again a shift later. With 1:38 left in the game Duluth used their timeout and pulled Rooney for the extra attacker. They had to put her back in seven seconds later, but she was gone again as soon as possible. Minnesota was trapped on the defense for the rest of the game and used their timeout to rest their skaters after an icing at 18:50. Just after that Wente caught the puck and raced along the right side before firing from behind the center line, netting an empty netter at 19:23. Schammel assisted on the goal that sealed the Bulldogs’ fate. Minnesota won 5-3 after outshooting Minnesota Duluth 44-29.