MANKATO, Minn. — The No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs remained undefeated as they rolled over winless Minnesota State 2-0 in their first road game of the year in front of 215 fans at All Season Arena.
The game wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated, as UMD (3-0-0, 3-0-0 WCHA) out-shot the Mavericks 41-15. MSU (0-3-0, 0-3-0 WCHA)kept the score close with an outstanding performance by freshman goaltender Britni Kehler, who made 39 saves.
“I say the story is the goalie,” said Minnesota-Duluth coach Shannon Miller. “I’ve never seen her before, but I got a good look at her tonight and she’s good.”
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after senior forward Caroline Ouellette gathered up a loose puck in front of the net and slipped it through Kehler’s legs with 1:15 left in the first period.
“We knew coming in how good [Ouellette] was,” said Minnesota State coach Jeff Vizenor. “She’s probably one of the top five players in the world, in all of women’s hockey. It was no surprise how well she played.”
The Bulldogs scored the final goal of the game mid-way through the second period as sophomore Jessica Koizumi scored on a feed from Noemie Marin to the far post.
“We wanted to take control of the game and create scoring chances,” Ouellette said. “We would have liked to get some more goals to have a little bit more relaxed game, but we had to play it safe until the end. I think their goalie played huge tonight. She was great.”
The Mavericks were never able to mount an offensive attack as UMD controlled the puck for the majority of the game. MSU was only able to get off seven shots in the first two periods, while the Bulldogs had 22 shots.
“I think we were successful tonight because we had the puck most of the time,” Miller said. “I didn’t think we were forced to play defense a lot. When we were on the defensive side of the puck, yeah I think we did a good job.”
Although the Mavericks struggled, they faced an outstanding UMD offensive attack and held them to two goals. Vizenor believes his team can rebound from the performance and play well in all aspects of the game in seeking its first victory.
“I think the one big thing we need to do is play our game,” Vizenor said. “We need to play 60 minutes of focused hockey. We need to get in their face, we need to be aggressive. We can’t just stand around and watch them move the puck around.”
The teams will face off again at 7 p.m. Saturday at All Seasons Arena in a game that Ouellette knows the Bulldogs can’t take for granted.
“I think they are getting better every year,” Ouellette said. “I think every time we play them we have to be ready. It’s good for our league that they are getting better.”