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Despite drop in rankings, Bulldogs continue to shine

Coming off of a huge win over Wisconsin, the Bulldogs look to further their momentum into December and beyond.

Bulldogs goaltender Maddie Rooney has been named WCHA defensive player of the week for the second week in a row after making 88 saves in a series against Wisconsin last weekend.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Last weekend, the Bulldogs managed to do something that no other team had accomplished: they beat the Badgers. With the semester break rapidly approaching, Minnesota-Duluth will be looking to extend the momentum they’ve built up into the second half of the season and beyond.

Wild Weekend vs. Wisconsin

Last Friday, the Bulldogs surprised pretty much everyone when they held off No. 1 Wisconsin to win 4-1 at home. Despite the Badgers dominating the scoreless first period, the Bulldogs netted three in around seven minutes with goals from Michelle Lowenhielm, Katherine McGovern, and Katerina Mrázová. In the third period, Wisconsin’s Maddie Rowe found the back of the net, but Bulldogs captain Ashleigh Brykaliuk quickly answered with a goal of her own to end the game. It was the first time Minnesota-Duluth won against Wisconsin since 2012.

On Saturday, Wisconsin sought revenge and they got it; they took down Minnesota-Duluth in another 4-1 game. Sydney Morin’s third of the season was the lone goal for the Bulldogs, while Jenny Ryan and Annie Pankowski (with the hat trick) scored the four for the Badgers.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs are in a great position as they head east to play Harvard this weekend, a team Minnesota-Duluth doesn’t historically play well against. The Bulldogs are 8-3-3 on the season, while Harvard is 1-6-0.

Rooney Rooney Rooney

Enough cannot be said about how solid sophomore Bulldogs goaltender Maddie Rooney has been in net. She’s been named WCHA defensive player of the week for the past two weeks, and for good reason. Last weekend, Rooney had what may have been her best games yet.

In the first period against the Badgers, the Bulldogs were outshot 20-3, and Rooney stopped every one of those 20 shots. She continued that streak throughout the game, and Wisconsin only beat her on a shot that was deflected off a Minnesota-Duluth player. By the end of the night, Rooney stopped 45 of 46 shots.

Despite the difference in score, Saturday’s game brought a similar performance from Rooney. It’s easy to blame the goaltender after a loss, but Rooney still managed 43 saves. The Badgers outshot the Bulldogs 47-20 by the end of the game, putting Rooney’s total save count for the weekend at 88.

Upcoming

The Bulldogs face Harvard, St. Cloud, and Minnesota State before the semester break. While it may seem like they could sit on their heels and ride out these last few games, the Bulldogs need to continue to play hard. The top spots in the NCAA are extremely competitive, and one or two poorly-timed losses is all it would take to drop in the polls.