GRAND FORKS, N.D. --- The University of North Dakota women's hockey team battled to break the University of Minnesota's undefeated record in Sunday's matchup, but Minnesota's strength prevailed as they snatched a 4-2 victory.
North Dakota falls to 4-4-0 on the season and in WCHA play, while Minnesota remains undefeated with a 10-0-0 record (6-0-0 WCHA).
Minnesota came out strong in the first period, converting on its first shot on goal, as Amanda Kessel snuck the puck between the legs of UND goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie (Warroad, Minn.). Hannah Brandt was credited with the assist on the goal, putting Minnesota ahead 1-0 a minute and 24 seconds into the game.
The goal came on the Gophers first shot as Kessel used her speed to get around the outside of a UND defenseman and cash in with the game's first goal. Amsley-Benzie was in position for the save, but had the puck trickle across the goal line through her five hole.
The tides would turn for the second half of the first period, as North Dakota provided itself with many opportunities and edged the Gophers in shots on goal 7-4. However, failing to convert would enable Minnesota to carry its 1-0 lead into the first intermission. The four shots was a season low for Minnesota after previously setting the mark the day before with five in the first period of the season-opener.
UND carried its momentum into the second period, tying the game at 1-1 four minutes and twelve seconds in when Meghan Dufault (Winnipeg, Manitoba) buried a backhand off of a rebound to tally her first collegiate goal. Becca Kohler (St. Thomas, Ontario) and Josefine Jakobsen (Aalborg, Denmark) each received an assist on the goal.
Minnesota regained its lead at the 12:52 mark of the second period, as Kessel compiled her second goal of the game. Mira Jalosuo fed Kessel a pass in front of the net and Kessel made a move past Amsley-Benzie to score a backhand goal.
In the 17th minute of the second period, Minnesota converted on a power-play opportunity to gain a 3-1 advantage. Kelly Terry cut across the net, took a shot, and buried her own rebound to score the goal.
North Dakota quickly responded just over a minute later on the power play to cut the deficit to two as Dufault converted on a one-timer from Jakobsen to pick up her second goal of the game. Monique Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.), and Jakobsen received assists on the goal.
Minnesota would carry a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
Third period play went back and forth and remained scoreless until the 15:38 mark, when Minnesota scored its final goal of the game on a 5-on-3 power play. Milica McMillen connected during a scramble in front of the net to seal Minnesota's win by a score of 4-2. Brandt and Bozek were each credited with an assist on the game-sealing goal.
Minnesota dominated in shots on goal 33-18. North Dakota received seven minor penalties, while Minnesota received six.
Amsley-Benzie compiled 29 saves in the losing effort, bringing her record to 1-3-0 on the season. Minnesota's goaltender, Noora Raty, made 16 saves and improved her record to 9-0-0.
North Dakota will be at home for a critical nonconference series against Clarkson this Friday and Saturday. Both games have a start time of 2:07 p.m.