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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service , Published January 31 2014

No. 1 Minnesota tops No. 3 UND in front of record crowd for women's hockey

GRAND FORKS – The largest crowd ever to watch a women’s hockey game in the state of North Dakota wasn’t enough.

Top-ranked Minnesota scored three times in the second period to blow open the game and knock off No. 3 North Dakota 5-1 on Friday night in front of a record 5,835 fans in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Kate Schipper scored twice, while Rachael Bona and Meghan Lorence added a goal and an assist for the Gophers, who improved to 25-1-1 and 19-1-1 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play.

UND, which ended Minnesota’s NCAA-record 62-game winning streak the last time these teams met in November, dropped to 16-6-3 and 13-5-2 in league play.

With tickets going for $1, UND hoped to break the previous attendance record of 3,200, set on Oct. 26, 2002 – the first-ever women’s hockey home game. They ended up shattering that mark. Enough fans showed up to fill the lower bowl, and Ralph Engelstad Arena officials had to open the upper bowl.

“It was unbelievable,” UND coach Brian Idalski said of the crowd. “I can’t say enough. I thought that was awesome. Unfortunately, we didn’t give them a whole lot to cheer about.”

UND did jump to an early lead when a Minnesota defenseman turned the puck over in the slot and Kohler picked it up and fired it past the stick of Gophers goalie Amanda Leveielle (31 saves) at 7:39.

But the lead lasted less than two minutes.

At 9:05, Maryanne Menefee scored a power-play goal – the first of three tallies with the extra man (3-for-3) for the Gophers.

In the second period, Schipper scored twice in the first 3:05 to open up a two-goal lead. Lorence tacked one on at the end of the frame to essentially put it away.

“I thought in the first period, it took us a while to get our feet going,” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said. “It was the first time in a couple months that we played a top-10 team like North Dakota. It was big to get one on the power play in the first. In the second, I thought we were able to sustain a little more pressure and control the play. We managed the third well.”

UND played the game without Michelle Karvinen, Susanna Tapani and Tanja Eisenschmid – all of whom have departed for the Winter Olympics – as well as injured forward Meghan Dufault. Leah Jensen did make her return to the lineup, playing her first game in a year. Her minutes were limited, but Idalski said he was pleased with her game.

Idalski also said he was pleased with Kohler, Amy Menke and some young defensemen.

“I was really happy with the start in the first period,” Idalski said. “In the second period, we made a couple of mistakes and they blew it open a little bit. They rolled a little bit after that. I was disappointed with some of our energy in the third. We stood around watching and maybe feeling bad for ourselves. That’s got to be better.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, UND, Kohler (Dalen), 7:39. 2, M, Menefee (Terry, Cameranesi), 9:05, (pp).

SECOND PERIOD: 3, M, Schipper (Davis), :44. 4, M, Schipper (Lorence, Bona), 3:05, (pp). 5, M, Lorence (Brandt, McMillen), 18:06.

THIRD PERIOD: 6, M, Bona (Davis, McMillen), 15:01, (pp).

SAVES: M, Leveille 11-10-10¬–31. UND, Shaw 8-10-14–32.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald