MINNEAPOLIS — Ronda Curtin’s unassisted power-play goal at 10:27 of the third period lifted top-ranked Minnesota to a 1-0 victory over archrival and second-ranked Minnesota-Duluth at Mariucci Arena on Friday.
The victory extends the Golden Gophers’ unbeaten streak to 17 games and improves their record to 16-2-5 overall, and a first-place 11-1-3 mark in WCHA action. The Bulldogs suffered their first shutout in 44 games and fall to 15-3-3 overall and 10-3-2 in conference play.
“It was a great team win for us,” said Minnesota head coach Laura Halldorson. “Once again, our determination and character pulled out a huge victory. I’m very proud of our players’ efforts.”
Curtin intercepted a Duluth clearing attempt at the blue line and blasted the game-winner from the point. The goal was Curtin’s sixth, and her second winner of the season.
Rookie goalie Brenda Reinen posted her first career shutout, collecting 42 saves.
The teams battled through two scoreless periods. The Bulldogs held a 13-11 edge in shots on goal in the first period, then were unable to take advantage of a 13-4 margin in the second period.
Meanwhile, Minnesota was unsuccessful in four power-play chances in two and a half periods. However, a slashing penalty on Michelle McAteer at the 9:35 mark of the third period opened the door for the Gophers’ fifth power-play opportunity, capped by Curtin’s winning goal.
Overall, Minnesota went 1-for-6 on power-play opportunities, while Minnesota-Duluth was 0-for-2.
The Gophers claimed their third shutout win ever over the Bulldogs and improved their all-time series record to 5-4-2.
The two teams square off in the second game of the series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. CT.