The Gophers leave Amsoil Arena Saturday with a glass-half-full attitude. So does the home team after a tie game where neither team felt like it lost.
After facing some adversity late for the first time this season, No. 3 Minnesota came back from a 2-0 third-period deficit to tie the No. 4 Bulldogs, 2-2. Nicole Schammel and Kelly Pannek scored in the series finale between the two in-state rivals.
“It’s very half full, that’s what I would say. Duluth did a really good job not giving us a lot of space in the first two periods,” said Minnesota head coach Brad Frost. “We went down 2-0 against a great team and a great goalie and to find a way to come back, we’re really happy about that.”
Minnesota Duluth (2-1-1, 0-1-1-1 WCHA) won the shootout 2-0 to take the extra WCHA conference point. Maddie Rooney, in a less nerve-racking situation than facing the Canadians for Olympic gold, stopped both Amy Potomak and Olympic teammate Kelly Pannek to add to her 37 saves.
Despite not finishing with the win against Minnesota (3-0-1, 1-0-1-0 WCHA), UMD head coach Maura Crowell also took a glass-half-full approach.
“A much different game today than yesterday. We talk about that all the time in the locker room, Friday to Saturday nights are just always different,” she said. “We knew (Minnesota was) going to give us their best. They weren’t going to go away quietly.”
For the second straight game, Minnesota Duluth freshman Gabbie Hughes broke through for the opening goal, scoring three seconds into a woman advantage for the first of two UMD power play goals. Anna Klein added the other, which came after Minnesota defender Olivia Knowles received a game misconduct for checking from behind.
Rooney had stopped 28 straight shots Saturday before Schammel broke through with an extra effort. The senior followed up her initial shot and put home the rebound to give the Gophers life.
Pannek, meanwhile, tried to pass the puck down to Sarah Potomak to create a scoring option on the power play. Instead, the puck bounced and went into the back of the net for her second goal of the season.
“It was about sticking together,” Frost said. “It was the first real adversity we faced all year and we were able to respond in a positive way.”
Starting in goal for Minnesota, Sydney Scobee made 23 saves.
The Gophers will face St. Cloud State in a home-and-home series next weekend. Minnesota goes to St. Cloud on Friday before returning Saturday.
“How we handle adversity is such a huge thing in teams that want to win championships. This is such a deep NCAA,” said Pannek. “Every team we are going to face is going to be ready to compete and battle. I think it’s huge being able to come back and find a way to compete and stick to our game plan, not get too frustrated.”