GRAND FORKS, N.D. --- The University of North Dakota women's hockey team allowed second-ranked Minnesota Duluth get out to a quick start in tonight's WCHA opening-round playoff matchup as the Bulldogs win 6-2 at the Heritage Center in Duluth, Minn.
The Sioux knew they were going to have to weather the storm early and although being out shot 20-8 in the period and allowing one power-play goal to Emannuelle Blais they pretty much did.
"Duluth has got some veteran presence and has played in some pretty big games," head coach Brian Idalski said. "We knew that they were going to come out hard early and try to get into position to play with the lead. We had to weather the storm and for the most part I thought we did. Jorid made some nice saves early to keep us in it."
Jorid Dagfinrud would finish the game allowing six goals but made 42 saves.
"Jorid has been good for us the whole second half," Idalski said. "There is no shame in her performance. She is going to be a kid for the future that is going to make plays for us and give us nice, strong goaltending including Stephanie Ney."
After entering the locker room for the first intermission the Sioux regrouped and dominated much of the flow to the second period and peppered UMD netminder Jennifer Harss with 17 shots. Problem was the Bulldogs Saara Tuominen and Blais were able to score two more goals on seven total shot attempts to take a 3-0 lead into the final period.
Blais would open the third period scoring a hat trick before sophomore Margot Miller (West Bloomfield, Mich.) scored a shorthanded goal to put the Sioux on the board at 7:06.
"Miller had a lot of hop and played well," Idalski said. "Her hockey IQ is excellent and she made a couple of really nice plays. That was probably her best game of the year."
The comeback attempt by the Sioux looked legit when only 17 seconds later freshman Candace Molle (Anchorage, Alaska) found the back of the net and shortly after the Bulldogs would put UND on the power play looking to pull with in one goal.
"We battled and really played hard," Idalski said. "I don't think the score was indicative of the type of game it was. Early in the third we pull to 4-2 and go on the power play. That was kind of the changing point in the game when they get the shorthanded goal to go up 5-2. It was kind of a missed opportunity. I was kind of disappointed with missed opportunities but overall it was a good performance."
Blais would score the shortie to regain a three goal lead and Jocelyne Laroque would cap off the games scoring with UMD's third power-play goal at 17:50. The Bulldogs went 3-for-6 on the power play while the Sioux failed to convert on five attempts.
The Sioux and Bulldogs will face off at 7:07 p.m. again tomorrow in the second game of the three game series at the Heritage Center.
"We talked about short memory," Idalski said. "Any time you are in a series like this it is one game. It is over. Flush it. We have got to come back and it is a new day tomorrow and go even harder."