Gophers Drop 3-0 Decision to North Dakota

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(ISN) – GRAND FORKS, N.D. – No. 2 Minnesota lost just its second game of the season Friday night, falling to No. 8 North Dakota on the road. UND scored two goals late in the second period and tallied an empty-netter in the final 10 seconds to take a 3-0 win over the Gophers.

Minnesota (24-2-4, 17-2-4-2 WCHA) was scoreless on four power-play opportunities. Junior goaltender Amanda Leveille (Kingston, Ont.) made 20 saves in the fourth loss of her career (60-4-4).

North Dakota (16-10-3, 12-8-3-2 WCHA) was led by goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie’s 25 saves and Amy Menke’s two goals, which included the game-winner and an empty net goal with seven seconds remaining.

UND scored both of its goals in a 1:29 span late in the second period. Menke scored on a shorthanded breakaway before Josefine Jakobsen buried an unassisted tally just after a Minnesota power play ended. Jakobsen gained possession outside the left faceoff dot and moved across the slot, buryingd a shot stick-side to put UND up 2-0 with 1:47 to go in the middle frame.

“I thought North Dakota played some really desperate hockey, and they deserved to win,” head coach Brad Frost said. “We had a two-minute lapse there. When you’re on the power play, you’re hoping you’re going to get one and then you give one up. Then they came right back and scored and we ended up on the penalty kill. They blocked a ton of shots and made it difficult to get to the net. They deserved the three points tonight.”

Minnesota outshot North Dakota 11-9 over the final 20 minutes but could not solve Amsley-Benzie. The Gophers pulled Leveille for the extra attacker with two minutes remaining, but Menke iced the 3-0 win with an empty net goal at 19:52.

The teams combined for just 11 shots on goal during a scoreless first period. Leveille made six saves, and Amsley-Benzie stopped five Gopher shots. Freshman Cara Piazza (Darien, Ill.) nearly got through on a breakaway in the final five minutes of the period, but Amsley-Benzie came well out of the goal crease and poked the puck away before Piazza could gain control.

“We need our compete level to go up,” Frost said. “They played desperate, and we didn’t. We need to be significantly better if we’re going to come away with the split.”