UMD Women sweep BC, rise to Number 4

John Gilbert

UMD’s Anna Klein was stopped on this breakaway by BC goaltender  Maddy McArthur last  Saturday. Photo credit: John Gilbert
UMD’s Anna Klein was stopped on this breakaway by BC goaltender Maddy McArthur last Saturday. Photo credit: John Gilbert
UMD’s Jalynn Elmes helped goalie Maddie Rooney defend against  BC star Savannah Norcross. Photo credit: John Gilbert
UMD’s Jalynn Elmes helped goalie Maddie Rooney defend against BC star Savannah Norcross. Photo credit: John Gilbert

While the UMD men start at No. 1, the UMD women’s hockey team startled No. 4 Boston College with a season-opening sweep last weekend at AMSOIL Arena, and vaulted up to No. 4 for their WCHA opening series against Minnesota at 7 p.m. Friday and as a 3 p.m. half of a dual attraction with the men, who play the Gophers at 7.

Coach Maura Crowell put all nine of her freshmen into the lineup, and they responded with impressive play through both games to send the Eagles home empty.

UMD won 4-2 in the first game, with Ryleigh Houston scoring first for UMD before Daryl Watts tied it with a shorthanded breakaway after swiping the puck along the boards. Houston’s opening goal was a thing of beauty, as freshman Kailee Skinner carried on a 3-on-1, passing to her right to freshman Gabbie Hughes, who broke in deep enough before feeding across the slot for Houston’s one-timer from the left edge.

In the second period, Erin Connolly scored to give BC a 2-1 lead, but Houston knocked in the rebound after Emma Yanko’s rush was defused by goaltender Maddy McArthur to tie the game 2-2 at the second intermission.

Sydney Brodt scored a picture goal when Naomi Rogge started to carry the puck out on the left and spotted Brodt breaking into the clear behind the defense on the far, right boards. Rogge fired a pass to Brodt, in stride, and she sailed in to score the eventual winning goal at 3:35 of the third. Lizi Norton, another freshman defenseman, clinched it with a power-play goal midway through the period, firing a shot that deflected in off a BC player.

UMD outshot the Eagles 35-27, and returning U.S. Olympian Maddie Rooney seemed unbothered by any pressure, even when down 2-1. The next night, UMD was outshot 27-23, but Rooney again was icy calm, guiding the Bulldogs to a 2-1 victory for the series sweep.

Houston scored her third goal of the weekend to get the Bulldogs going, and Maggie Flaherty made it 2-0 on a power play late int he first period. BC countered when Savannah Norcross scored on a power play late in the second period,  but the Bulldogs didn’t flinch in the third.

“We couldn’t have asked for more,” said Crowell. “We weren’t sure so many young players would be able to help out, but we had good possession and puck-retrieval. There were some momentum shifts, and they played a great game, but we did a good job.”

This weekend, those nine freshmen will find out how much difference there is in a series against a strong foe, and against arch-rival Minnesota.

“I’ve never even seen a UMD-Gophers game,” said Flaherty.