On the heels of a four-game losing streak, the St. Cloud State women’s hockey team (2-4-0, 0-4-0 WCHA) hosted #7 University of North Dakota (4-1-1, 2-1-1 WCHA) at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on Friday in the first of a two game series.
Coming off a series sweep at the hands of the #2 ranked Wisconsin Badgers last weekend, the Huskies attempted to gain some momentum back Friday night against a vigorous North Dakota team. North Dakota would shut that momentum down early and maintain their lead all game to earn a decisive 3-0 victory.
North Dakota would find the net first, as a shot by Layla Marvin slid by Huskies goaltender Katie Fitzgerald 13:34 into the first period. North Dakota didn’t let up there, holding possession in the Huskies zone for much of the first period. The Huskies posed no real threat in the first period, only shooting once on All-American North Dakota goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie.
North Dakota has had little trouble with the Huskies in recent memory, winning the last twenty contests with the last loss coming on Jan. 15, 2010. In the last 10 games, the Huskies have only scored seven total goals against North Dakota.
North Dakota got a stroke of unneeded luck late in the second period when the Huskies’ junior defense Jenna Radford committed a tripping penalty that was awarded a penalty shot for North Dakota. Senior forward Megan Dufault would capitalize on the opportunity, sniping topshelf past Katie Fitzgerald to give North Dakota a 2-0 lead.
Another penalty for the Huskies would come late in the second period when senior Molly Illikainen was called for a slash. The Huskies successfully killed off the powerplay, attempting to keep the game within reach.
The third period didn’t see much change, with North Dakota continuing to put pressure on the Huskies’ defense.
The Huskies’ fans at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center let out a roar in the middle of the third period when Katie Fitzgerald made a great glove save on North Dakota’s Halli Krzyzaniak to stop another North Dakota goal. North Dakota would find the net one more time on an empty netter by Gracen Hirschy to make it 3-0.
The Huskies would go on the powerplay late in the third after Meghan Dufault was called for hooking. The opportunity came too little, too late as the Huskies only had 30 seconds to work with before the game ended.
The Huskies offense couldn’t get anything going Friday, amassing only six shots the entire game. Their first real opportunity came on the powerplay after North Dakota’s Kayla Gardner was called for hooking two minutes into the third period. The power play didn’t lead to anything, with the Huskies being held scoreless for the full 60 minutes.
Katie Fitzgerald finished with 33 saves on the night, and only allowed two goals to a powerful North Dakota offense.
The Huskies have now been shutout in their last five games and haven’t scored since their season opening series at Merrimack. After the series with North Dakota ends, they will host Bemidji State University (6-0-2, 3-0-1 WCHA) next weekend, Oct. 30 to Oct. 31 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.