MANKATO, Minn. --- The University of North Dakota women's hockey team attempted to rally late in the game to force overtime versus Minnesota State, Mankato, tonight at All-Seasons Arena, but ran out of time as the Mavericks held on for a 3-2 win.
Sophomores Sara Dagenais (Montreal, Quebec) and Margot Miller (West Bloomfield, Mich.) scored the two Fighting Sioux goals as UND drops to 7-20-4 overall and 6-19-2-0 in the WCHA.
With the win, the Mavericks improve to 7-19-5 overall and 5-17-5-3 in league play and lock themselves into the seventh seed and the Sioux into the eighth seed for the first round of the conference tournament next weekend.
Neither team yet knows who their first round opponent will be though as after tonights action Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota are tied atop the conference standings with 41 points each with both teams in action tomorrow. If both teams were to win their respective games they would be declared co-WCHA champions but Minnesota Duluth would receive the top seed winning the tiebreaker and host the Sioux.
Kala Buganski received a pass through the slot from Lisa Edman on MSU's first power play of the game which she was able to finish for the 1-0 lead at 10:04 of the first period. The Mavericks would add to their lead at 14:34 of the second period when Christina Lee beat Sioux netminder Jorid Dagfinrud on a breakaway attempt.
"I think it was the same type of things that have cost us a lot this season," head coach Brian Idalski said. "Just little mistakes and not making the right plays at the right times."
The Sioux would finish the game being outshot 34-21 on goal but shot attempts where nearly even as MSU edged the Sioux 51-47.
"I thought the flow to the game was pretty good," Idalski said. "It was a pretty even game with shots relatively even. Mankato just did a better job of being opportunistic, getting a bounce and we did not."
Both goals for UND came off shots from near the blue line with active players in front of the MSU net able to redirect past goaltender Alli Altmann. Dagenais' came first cutting the lead to one at 18:57 sending the Sioux into the second intermission trailing by one goal.
Jackie Otto would score what would prove to be the game winning goal at 15:28 of the third period when she wristed a shot top shelf past Dagfinrud who was screened on the play. Dagfinrud would conclude the game allowing three goals while making 31 saves.
The Sioux would come close to forcing overtime as the scored on the power play with their goaltender on the bench for the extra attacker with 18 seconds remaining. Alyssa Wiebe picked up her team leading 20th assist of the season as she through a shot towards net and Margot Miller deflected it past Altmann. The assist ties Melissa Jaques 2008-09 season record for assists in a season.
The Sioux were able to get a shot on net as the buzzer sounded but Altmann was able to make the save to secure the win.
Although both teams post-season seeds are set, the Sioux and Mavericks will conclude regular season action tomorrow afternoon with a 3:07 p.m. opening faceoff.
"I still want to see what we have been talking about every day and every practice," Idalski said. "It is another opportunity for us to get better. It is going to be a pride game. If you get an opportunity to put on a jersey you better come ready to compete."