Women's hockey drops two games to Minnesota-Duluth

by Arik Clausner | 12/3/08 3:47am

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Dartmouth, currently ranked No. 5 in the nation, is 1-3 against top 10 opponents after two losses to No. 4 UMD.
by Emily Van Gemeren / The Dartmouth

Fifth-ranked Dartmouth women's hockey dropped a pair of games to defending national champions, No. 4 University of Minnesota-Duluth, over the holiday weekend, losing to the Bulldogs on Friday, 2-1, and on Saturday, 4-1, at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center in Duluth, Minn.

Despite being ranked in the top five for the entire season, the Big Green is now 1-3 against top-10 clubs, with its lone win coming against then-No. 4 Boston College on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

Dartmouth (7-3-1, 6-1-1 ECAC Hockey) entered the two-game set riding a two-game winning streak and was ranked third in the nation according to the USCHO.com Division I women's poll. Minnesota-Duluth (9-5-2, 5-5-2-0 WCHA) came into the weekend at No. 7 in the same poll.

The Big Green now has an 0-5 all-time record playing on the road at Minnesota-Duluth.

In Friday's game, Minnesota-Duluth used two third-period goals to earn a close win over the Big Green.

"The first game was on and off; we had moments were we did very well and other times when we struggled," Sarah Toupal '10 said.

Dartmouth got on the board first when captain Sarah Newnam '09 beat Bulldogs' goalie Kim Martin in traffic to score on a power play with a minute left in the first period. The goal was Newnam's fourth in the last three games. Sarah Parsons '10 and Maggie Kennedy '09 tallied the assists on the score. Dartmouth went one for six on its power play chances for the game.

Despite the one-goal deficit, Minnesota-Duluth appeared to control play in the opening period. The Bulldogs outshot Dartmouth, 12-8, in the stanza and prevented Dartmouth from establishing an effective forecheck in the first 10 minutes of play.

The two top-10 ranked programs then skated a largely uneventful second period. Minnesota-Duluth had three power-play opportunities, but the Big Green penalty kill unit stepped up to keep the score at 1-0.

During the second period, Dartmouth outshot the squad from Duluth, 9-5, but the puck stayed out of the back of the net on both sides of the ice.

Eight minutes into the third period, Minnesota-Duluth tied up the score at 1-1 on a goal by Haley Irwin, who beat Dartmouth netminder Carli Clemis '09 through the five hole. Irwin had a big weekend for the Bulldogs, scoring three goals over two games against the Big Green.

Then, with less than two minutes left in the game, Saara Tuominen put in her own rebound to score on the Bulldogs' eighth and final power-play chance, delivering a finishing blow to the Big Green. Laura Fridfinnson and Sara O'Toole picked up the assists on the game-winning goal.

There was some controversy surrounding the final goal, however. The puck appeared to find the back of the net after the referee's whistle had already been blown to end the play. After a review by the officials on the ice, the goal was upheld and Minnesota-Duluth walked away with the win.

This was the first time this season that Dartmouth had been outshot by an opponent, with the Bulldogs recording 32 shots to the Big Green's 24 attempts.

Clemis had another strong showing between the pipes for the Big Green, recording 30 saves, including 13 in the final period.

The two squads faced off again for the second game of the series on Saturday at the DECC. After the tough loss the previous night, Dartmouth got off to a slow start against Minnesota-Duluth and fell behind early in the first period.

Carrying over the momentum from their comeback victory the night before, the Bulldogs' Irwin recorded her second goal of the series at 2:37 in the first period, with Pernilla Winberg and Elin Holmlov tallying the assists.

Dartmouth had three power-play opportunities in the first period, with Minnesota-Duluth being called twice for having too many skaters on the ice, but the Big Green could not convert. The Big Green and the Bulldogs each failed to convert six power-play chances apiece.

Minnesota-Duluth scored again just 15 seconds into the second period, with Jocelyne Larocque recording the game-winner by burying a shot from the just above the left circle. It was Larocque's first goal of the year.

Holmlov and Winberg recorded their third assists of the game with just over two minutes left in the second period, when Irwin scored to the right of Clemis to make it a 3-0 game over the Big Green.

Kennedy notched the only Dartmouth goal of the game with less than two minutes left to play. Geneva Kliman '12 took a shot that was saved initially by Minnesota-Duluth goalie Martin, but the rebound went to co-captain Shannon Bowman '09, who then found Kennedy for the score.

Larocque closed out the game by scoring one more point for the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, scoring on an empty-net goal with just one second left in the game to bring the final score to 4-1.

Minnesota-Duluth outshot the Big Green, 52-26, for the game. In the second period alone the Bulldogs had a 25-10 advantage in shots on goal.

For the game, Clemis finished with a career-high 48 saves. Her 17 saves in the second period was a career high for saves in a single period.

Toupal credited the Bulldog's size and strength as a factor in the Big Green's struggles over the weekend.

"The style of the games was very different: The team was very physical, and we struggled to adapt to the body contact that they're used to playing with," Toupal said.

Dartmouth is back in action against conference foe Harvard at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 17 at Thompson Arena in Hanover. The Crimson (4-4-2, 4-2-2 ECAC Hockey) is currently tied with St. Lawrence University for second place in the conference standings with 10 points.