Horak saves victory on Saturday

by Noah Seligman

With five seconds left in the first period Saturday at Mariucci Arena, Minnesota women’s hockey goaltender Jody Horak recorded her 10th save in the opening stanza, thwarting a quality chance on net for Minnesota-Duluth – a fitting end to a period that belonged to Horak.

Overall, in the first 20 minutes of play, Minnesota-Duluth had 10 shots on goal, including five shots in the slot area, and two attempts right on the lip of the crease.

Each time the Bulldogs challenged Horak during Minnesota’s 4-2 victory, the Blaine, Minn., native was in position to make the save. Her .939 save percentage was the second-highest non-shutout mark in school history.

“Jody played one of the best games I’ve seen her play,” Minnesota coach Laura Halldorson said. “She was in control at all times and the two goals they got I can’t fault her. She was tremendous today.”

The Bulldogs netted their first goal on the power play at 17:06 of the second period on a third-chance shot after Horak

already denied them twice, sprawling to make the saves.

Minnesota-Duluth scored its second goal with 36 seconds left in the game again after Horak made the initial stop.

Horak’s teammates recognized the contributions from their goaltender, and were not muted in their appreciation.

“Oh my God, unbelievable,” sophomore defender Ashley Albrecht said. “Oh my God, unbelievable. (The) best goalie I’ve ever seen in my life.”

But Horak was more than willing to share the spotlight. She credited her defense with solid play in front of her. Minnesota as a team blocked 20 of

Minnesota-Duluth’s 68 shot attempts.

“They were awesome,” Horak said. “All six of our ‘D’ played unbelievably. Overall it was a great team effort on defense.”

The Bulldogs posed a unique challenge for the Gophers’ defense since they tend to work the puck low in the zone, often sending three or four attackers on goal. It was just one more adjustment Horak had to make in preparation for the top-scoring offense in the WCHA.

“I don’t come out as much as I would like because I know they usually have three forwards low so two are always behind you,” Horak said. “(It’s) kind of hard, but you have to have good angles and stop the shot.”

The toughest shot Horak faced all game came in the third period, and it was from the right hand of Minnesota-Duluth forward Tricia Guest.

“I kind of initiated it,” Horak said. “I kind of deserved that one. I gave her a little tap and got a nice right hook.”

But like every shot Horak took on Saturday, she held her ground and preserved the win for the Gophers.