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WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Minnesota State-Mankato sweeps UND with 2-1 win

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The Olympic Games can’t end soon enough for the UND women’s hockey team.

Despite outshooting Minnesota State-Mankato by 20-plus shots on consecutive nights, UND was swept by the Mavericks for the first time since 2006-07.

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The Mavericks completed the sweep by scoring twice in the final 8:16 to beat UND 2-1 on Sunday in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Kari Lundberg scored a power-play goal at 11:44 and Nicole Germaine added the game-winner with just 3:30 left to finish off a two-game sweep, which may end UND’s shot at getting an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.

UND dropped to No. 9 in the Pairwise Rankings after the loss, and it won’t be easy to move up.

“It’s a tough loss all the way around,” UND coach Brian Idalski said. “We totally dominated through three-fourths of it. We make two mistakes and shoot ourselves in the foot.

“All around, it was tough, heart breaking. Honestly, I thought it was a pretty solid effort. I thought we bounced back. But we’ve got to finish offensively. And defensively, we can’t beat ourselves. We need to be a little better.”

UND took an early lead on a goal by Meghan Dufault at the 5:40 mark of the opening frame. Warroad’s Layla Marvin snapped a shot through Minnesota State goalie Danielle Butters, but it stopped on the goal line. The Mavericks tried to clear it out, but Dufault found a loose puck and shot it in for a 1-0 lead.

The game stood that way until the third.

Dufault was called for tripping at the 11:32 mark and it didn’t take long for the Mavericks to capitalize. Lauren Barnes held the puck in the right circle and found Lundberg backdoor for an easy goal.

Then, with 3:30 left, Tracy McCann used her speed to go wide on a UND defender and take the puck to the net. UND goalie Lexie Shaw (18 saves) made the initial stop, but lost the rebound. Defenseman Gracen Hirschy also didn’t see the puck was at her feet and Germaine tapped it in.

UND outshot the Mavericks 41-20, including a 35-11 margin in the first two periods, but couldn’t open up a big lead. It didn’t help that the team was missing three of its best players — Michelle Karvinen, Susanna Tapani and Tanja Eisenschmid — at the Olympic Games.

“It’s hard when you let a team hang around like that,” UND forward Andrea Dalen said. “When they got their goal, it’s easy for them to feed off of it. We have to be ready.”

Idalski said he liked the way his team bounced back from Saturday afternoon’s 4-2 loss, but also lamented the fact that UND couldn’t open up a big lead in the first two periods.

“We came out and played like we wanted to,” he said. “We got pucks to the net, traffic, lots of rebounds. We were trying to get some dirty goals. We weren’t able to get another one to stretch it. We were really good in the first two periods. We had a lot of pressure, a lot of opportunities.”

Next week, UND closes the regular against Ohio State. After that, it will return home for the playoffs — and it will have its Olympians again.

“We’ve got to be ready,” Dalen said. “We have to go out and be ready. If we’re not ready, they’re going to take it to us.”

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