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Gophers edge Sioux 2-0; Complete back-to-back shutouts
Courtesy: Derek Koenen, UND Athletic Media Relations
Release: 01/23/2010
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Courtesy: Kory Wallen, UNDsports.com
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 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. --- The University of North Dakota women's hockey team contended with the second-ranked Minnesota Gophers for the second straight night coming down to the wire at Ridder Arena.

The Sioux could not solve the puzzle of Noora Raty as she made back-to-back shutouts to earn a series sweep for WCHA leading Gophers.

"I am not one for moral victories, never have been, but I told the kids I was proud of the effort and proud of the intensity," head coach Brian Idalski said. "I thought we gave it everything we had this weekend, played extremely tough and a lot of positives to take from it to close out the second half."

The Sioux drop to 5-15-4 (4-14-2-0 WCHA) as the Gophers maintain their seven point lead for the regular season title which would be back-to-back years.

Before either team could get a shot on goal Kelsey Ketcher (Mound, Minn.) was called for slashing only 1:06 into the game. It took a 1:36 into the power play before Minnesota could get their first shot on goal and North Dakota came away with an early penalty kill.

At the 7:13 mark Holly Perkins (Soldotha, Minn.) was called for tripping and this time Minnesota got a few more shots but most of them from the blue line and Jorid Dagfinrud (Sarpsborg, Norway) was able to keep them out for the UND's second big penalty-kill early.

Dagfinrud would conclude the game making 30 saves on 32 shots.

-GO SIOUX-

The Sioux would get their first attempt at 12:33 as Anne Schleper was called for checking but the Sioux couldn't get anything going struggling to get it set up in the zone.

Alyssa Wiebe (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) nearly gave the Sioux the lead with under three minutes remaining in the first period as she brought a breakaway in on Noora Raty and tried to go short-side and Raty made a great save getting a piece of it with her blocker.

Sioux would get 27 seconds of 5-on-3 to close out the first period, were unable to take advantage but would open the second period with 1:14 left on the man-advantage.

Perkins would open the second period with two shots on goal in the opening 20 seconds but UM was again able to kill the remainder of the penalty.

Just over halfway through second period again Wiebe had a great opportunity as the Sioux came in on a 3-on-1 and Perkins put a shot on net, Wiebe got the rebound but fired wide.

The Sioux had great scoring opportunities all weekend but failed to cash in on seven breakaways and nearly the same amount of odd-man rushes in the series.

Through the first 15 minutes the Sioux out shot the Gophers 10-2 and until a late penalty on Meghan Gilbert pretty much dominated the period. The penalty lead to a UM goal by Laura May who sniped a shot from the near faceoff circle top-shelf far side at 18:16.

After falling behind 11-3 in shots in the first period, the Sioux pulled with in one after two outshooting UM 13-6 but trailed by the one goal.

"I thought it was a bit of a carbon copy from yesterday to be honest," Idalski said. "The second period we were pretty dominant, had lots of chances and competed. The forecheck was turning pucks over I thought we were playing excellent - just not getting a finish. That one (UM goal) late going into the third period took a little bit of steam away. Just knowing how well we were playing and to come away behind was a little bit demoralizing for a young team."

Minnesota would pull ahead by two when Kelly Seeler put a low shot on net from slot and Kelly Blankenship was in the right spot to jam in the rebound which would close out the games scoring.

The Sioux return to the Ralph Englestad Arena next weekend to take on league rival and fifth-ranked Minnesota Duluth in a Saturday/Sunday series with both games starting at 2:07 p.m.

UND will open its five-game home slate against Missouri State in the 52nd Annual Potato Bowl, which is schedule for a 4 p.m. CT kickoff.
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