Women’s hockey skates over RPI in season opener

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The race is on, and the Green and White is in full speed. Over the weekend, the women went on the road to Troy, N.Y., to win two inter-conference games against Rensselaer.

With a grim start to the first game of the series, RPI took an early two-goal lead in the first period. UND cut their deficit in half under a minute later, as Kayla Gardner set up senior Sam LaShomb for a one-timer that found the back of the net.

Down one to start the second, UND started with a new surge of energy, managing to tie the game just under two minutes into the second as captain Halli Krzyzaniak beat RPI tender Lovisa Selander, shooting it through the five-hole. She also snagged the go-ahead goal shortly after. Krzyzaniak set a career high of two goals on the night.

Penalties brought on some difficulties in the third, as RPI was able to tie the game at three apiece during 4-on-4 play. UND managed to kill off two big penalties to hold the opposition, as the game winning goal came with two minutes left in the period. Assistant captain Becca Koehler was able to knock in the rebound from LaShomb in her attempt to throw it on net. UND went on to win the game 4-3.

“I thought some of the adversary, being on the road and traveling, we responded pretty well and did some good things,” head coach Brian Idalski said. “Obviously it’s not perfect, it’s not going to be this year, but I thought overall it was a pretty good character win for us.”

UND goalie Shelby Amsley-Benzie was able to earn the win by tallying 11 saves, as the Green and White posted 38 shots on RPI tender Lovisa Selander for her 34 saves.

Taking the Saturday game and sweeping the series, the UND women showed up in full force. Lexie Shaw took the start in net and the win Saturday night, as nine skaters were able to tally points for the 4-1 victory.

UND was able to get on the board first as Rebekah Kolstad and Amy Menke created a turnover in the neutral zone to feed the puck to Layla Marvin whose shot went off the blocker of RPI goalie Selander and fell to the back of the net.

The penalty-kill unit went to work, as they silenced the opposition by killing all six power play opportunities for RPI as Shaw was on her A-game, making five crucial short-handed saves.

The Green and White were fierce in the second period as they were able to double their score with a goal seven minutes into the second frame. Dufault also buried the rebound from Anna Kilponen when Samantha Hanson turned over the puck in the offensive zone.

RPI cut the lead in half shortly after as Taylor Schwalbe fired a shot that would slip past Shaw to get the score within one at 2-1.

The third brought the first power play goal of the season for UND. Keeping the puck in the offensive zone, UND wore out the RPI Penalty-Kill unit and eventually a shot off the pipe from LaShomb would increase the lead to 3-1.

Solidifying the win, in the final minutes Koehler was able to shoot the puck from the neutral zone into an empty net and take the game 4-1.

The team showed promise as they displayed a strong power play and penalty-kill unit and also lead the face-offs with a .634 percentage on the night.

“We were systematically better and had a better start, so we were able to play with the lead a bit,” Idalski stated. “From a growing standpoint it was much better with what we’re looking to do, it was positive overall, we did want we needed to win 2 games on the road against a pretty good RPI team, so I was pleased.”

North Dakota, now 2-0-0, will begin conference action this weekend on the road against Minnesota State on Oct 9-10 in Mankato, MN.

Allyson Bento is a sports reporter for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]

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