Bulldogs special teams comes up clutch in overtime win at St. Lawrence
The Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team improved to 3-0 on its season-opening trip through the state of New York, getting power play goals from defensemen Ashton Bell and Maggie Flaherty, plus key penalty kills late in the third.
CANTON, N.Y. — A snipe by fifth-year senior defenseman Maggie Flaherty on the power play 1:55 into overtime gave fourth-ranked Minnesota Duluth a 3-2 victory at St. Lawrence on Thursday evening at Appleton Arena.
The Bulldogs had to kill off back-to-back hooking penalties in the final six minutes of regulation to get to overtime. Then 27 seconds into 3-on-3 play, the Bulldogs were awarded a 4-on-3 advantage when Flaherty’s defensive partner, fifth-year captain Ashton Bell, was taken down entering the offensive zone.
“Really happy with the way it ended,” Bulldogs coach Maura Crowell said. “I thought that was a really good test. St. Lawrence is a good team. They have some highly skilled players, they can push the pace. Their transition game was good.
“We gave them plenty of opportunities on the power play. Glad to see (the PK) come through in the end there in the third.”
Flaherty’s game-winner that zipped to the top left corner was one of two clutch power play goals the Bulldogs produced on three chances. Meanwhile, the penalty kill held the Saints’ to 1-for-6.
Bell registered the game-tying goal on a power play 5:31 into the second period and 14 seconds into what was UMD’s first advantage of the game, finishing off a no-look backhanded pass by senior center Mannon McMahon that came from the side of the Saints’ net.
Crowell said it was great to not only see the power play produce on Thursday, but produce in clutch moments, especially in OT.
“Four-on-threes are a great opportunity to take advantage and glad to see that we did,” Crowell said. “We had four players out there that have been in the program for a long time, so we were we were confident that they'd get the job done.”
St. Lawrence got on the board first Thursday just 3:15 into the game, however, UMD sophomore wing Gabby Krause tied the game 12 seconds later on a feed by senior center Gabbie Hughes. The Saints took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission via a backhander by Kristina Bahl.
UMD senior goaltender Emma Soderberg finished with 21 saves while the Saints’ Lucy Morgan had 35 saves,
The Bulldogs remain in Canton, N.Y. and Appleton Arena to play Penn State at 3 p.m. on Friday to cap a stretch of four games in seven days in New York. UMD is 3-0 on its season-opening trip thus far.
Bell off to hot comeback
Bell and Hughes both finished with two points on Thursday as Bell registered a goal and an assist to get to seven points and Hughes had two assists for six points in three games.
For Hughes, its a continuation of last season, when she was second on the team in scoring behind fellow Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award finalist Elizabeth Giguere.
But for Bell, the offensive defenseman is a different role than what she played with Canada last season. At the Olympics and World Championships, she was a stay-at-home defensive defenseman. At UMD, she has the green light to step up on plays and score like she has the last two games.
“It was definitely different having the puck on my stick more than not and just being in the offensive zone that much,” Bell said on Wednesday after registering a hat trick as part of her four-point Sunday at Long Island. “Getting my offensive game back definitely helps with my confidence leading forward.”
Bulldogs make pit stop in Lake Placid
In between playing at Long Island University on Saturday and Sunday and the two games on Thursday and Friday at St. Lawrence, the Bulldogs spent some time in Lake Placid, New York, and even practiced on 1980 Olympic rink that was made famous by the ‘Miracle on Ice.’
For a number of Bulldogs, it wasn’t their first time in Lake Placid or their first time skating on the famous rink, as a few have taken part in national team events and camps there over the years.
That included Bell, who played her first game as a defenseman with Canada on the 1980 rink in Lake Placid in the summer of 2019. She remembers Crowell being in the stands observing the transition.
“That was kind of cool to remember that,” Bell said of returning to Lake Placid this week.
Even before improving to 3-0 with the win Thursday, Crowell said the trip had been a success from a team building standpoint. The time spent on Long Island, in Lake Placid and now Canton gave the Bulldogs some much-needed quality time together early in the season that’s often hard to come by at this point of the year.
“We’ve done a lot of fun things,” Crowell said of Lake Placid in particular. “The players had some free time to just hang out, shop, some got in the lake. We had dinner as a group (Wednesday) night. It’s nice at this point in the year — it’s usually hard because they’re running from classes to practice — to really spend a lot of time together. That’s what road trips are for and this extended road trip has been great.”