Women’s hockey skates to loss, tie in Duluth

Aaron Blake

DULUTH, Minn. – After a 7-0 loss on Saturday in Duluth, Minnesota’s women’s hockey team avoided getting swept many times on Sunday by the defending national champion Bulldogs.

Freshman goaltender Brenda Reinen got the first start of her collegiate career and stopped 37 of 38 Minnesota-Duluth shots in order to salvage the weekend with a 1-1 tie.

Minnesota (2-1-1, 2-1-1 WCHA) gained one point in the conference standings while the Bulldogs (3-0-1, 1-0-1) remain undefeated.

Despite her busy afternoon, “Rhino,” as her teammates call her, deferred the credit.

“The team played great in front of me,” Reinen said.

It was the first time this season coach Laura Halldorson started a stopper besides sophomore Stephanie Johnson.

Reinen started the game after Johnson let up seven goals on 33 shots in the first game of the series.

After Bulldog Laurie Alexander scored 57 seconds into the contest, it seemed as though Saturday’s struggles would carry over to Sunday.

But junior Gwen Anderson evened the score at 10:05 of the first period, her first collegiate goal.

Anderson beat two Minnesota-Duluth defenders down the ice and put one through the legs of junior Patricia Sautter.

Junior goaltender and regular starter Tuula Puputti didn’t allow a goal on Saturday but didn’t dress on Sunday. Sautter and freshman Meghan Grahn suited up as the two Bulldog goalies.

Minnesota-Duluth coach Shannon Miller pulled Puputti after the lead was 5-0 on Saturday and didn’t use her the rest of the weekend.

After two and a half scoreless periods and a stalemated overtime session, the Gophers had something to feel good about.

“That tie to us was like a win,” Halldorson said. “I didn’t feel that they were seven goals better than us.”

Despite the solid play of Reinen, the game appeared lost for a moment in the third period.

After Minnesota’s Jerilyn Glenn incurred a body-checking penalty, Bulldogs junior Maria Rooth sent a pass across the top of the crease that was tipped in for what appeared to be a power-play goal.

When the goal buzzer stopped, Glenn left the penalty box thinking she was finished. But she was sent back to serve out her time because an official ruled a Minnesota-Duluth player was in the crease, nullifying the goal.

Both goalies endured flurries towards the end of regulation and the Bulldogs came close to scoring in overtime, but the game ended in a tie.

In Saturday’s game, Minnesota looked to be severely overmatched by a bigger Minnesota-Duluth team. The mean height of the Bulldogs’ first line is 5 feet 10 inches, while the Gophers’ first line averages 5 feet 4 inches.

Seven different players scored for Minnesota-Duluth as the majority of the game was played in Minnesota’s zone.

The Gophers appeared dejected, not being able to solve the Bulldogs’ offensive juggernaut led by forwards Hanne Sikio and Rooth.

Anderson compared the team’s attitude from Saturday to Sunday.

“We came out with much more determination and focus (on Sunday),” Anderson said. “We were making simple mistakes (on Saturday).”

 

Aaron Blake covers women’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]