There are ties where a team feels good about themselves.
Then there are ties where the team treats it closer to a loss.
Minnesota, as a team, can be put in the latter category Friday night.
“Tonight we don’t feel real good about that tie being up two goals twice in the third. You have to find a way to win that hockey game and we didn’t,” said Gophers head coach Brad Frost as audible cheers from Minnesota-Duluth players could be heard down the hall.
Leading 3-1 with a little more than eight minutes remaining in regulation, Minnesota (14-5-2, 9-4-2-0 WCHA) was unable to hold on to the lead at Ridder Arena. The team gave up goals to Bulldogs forwards Ashton Bell and Katerina Mrazova, who finished with two Friday, as part of a five-goal third period to finish tied, 3-3.
UMD won the shootout 2-1 in five rounds to take home the extra WCHA conference point.
Minnesota freshman Grace Zumwinkle contributed on all three goals for her fifth multi-point game in the last 11.
“I’ve started to get used to the (college) game more and grow as a player,” she said. “The coaches have been a huge help in the process and the older girls showing the way.”
Playing with roommate and fellow freshman Taylor Wente, the two set up one another for the first two Gopher goals. On a two-on-one in the first period Zumwinkle passed the puck to Wente, who shot it through Bulldogs goaltender Jessica Convery’s legs.
After a scoreless second period, a falling Zumwinkle dove for a loose puck to put Minnesota ahead 2-0 3:31 into the third period.
“Wente just sees the ice really well. Grace is a goal scorer, (she) but added two nice assists here tonight. They play off each other pretty well,” Frost said. “I thought they did a nice job.”
Mrazova got Minnesota Duluth (9-10-1, 5-7-1-1) on the board two minutes later by being the first to beat Gophers goaltender Sidney Peters, who finished with 21 saves. Minnesota came out strong, limiting the Bulldogs to 11 shots over the first two periods.
Once the visiting team lit the lamp, the momentum shifted.
“The energy was high,” UMD head coach Maura Crowell said about her team’s mood. “They’ve been in a lot of spots this year where we’ve been down by a couple goals or maybe we had a lead so maybe the experience comes through.”
Caitlin Reilly scored her eighth goal of the season on the power play, but the Gophers only had two shots on goal in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
“It was a little defeating because we gave up that lead. Going into overtime we still kept our spirits because we still had a chance to win that game”
Bell cut the lead to one, scoring on a play where Minnesota-Duluth had four players skating in transition, before Mrazova’s second goal of the game came with 4:46 remaining in regulation. Initially, the red light didn’t go on. However, the referees went to check the replay and ruled it a goal.
Both goaltenders faced breakaway chances late in the third period.
Peters stopped Sydney Brodt. Convery had to make a save, one of 25 Friday, on Zumwinkle when the freshman stole the puck from a UMD player in the offensive zone and tried to make a move to get the winning goal. Neither team got it in regulation nor the five minutes of overtime.
“It was a little defeating because we gave up that lead. Going into overtime we still kept our spirits because we still had a chance to win that game,” Zumwinkle said. “Going forward, (we need to) continue building on the momentum we created for those last eight minutes.”
The Gophers and Bulldogs play one another Saturday afternoon at 4:07 pm in the final game of 2017 for both teams.
“We felt like we played really good hockey in Duluth a couple months ago and might have given away more points than we should have,” Crowell said. To get a couple back here is huge.”