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UND wary of Minnesota Duluth's potent top line

UND senior forward Kayla Gardner has been centering UND's best shutdown line with Vilma Tanskanen and Rebekah Kolstad on the wings. But they aren't the only ones who will get the assignment of shutting down Minnesota Duluth's top line this weeken...

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UND senior forward Kayla Gardner has been centering UND's best shutdown line with Vilma Tanskanen and Rebekah Kolstad on the wings.

But they aren't the only ones who will get the assignment of shutting down Minnesota Duluth's top line this weekend.

UND coach Brian Idalski said his players may share that tall task as the No. 3 Bulldogs take on the No. 9 Fighting Hawks in a two-game series (2:07 p.m. today, 2:07 p.m. Sunday).

Minnesota Duluth has been led by seniors Lara Stalder and Ashleigh Brykaliuk, who have combined for 26 points in 10 games. It hasn't seemed to matter who the third is on that line-they have produced all season.

The Bulldogs opened the season with a win and a tie against Boston College-a team that won all but one game last season (40-1). They enter this weekend's series with a 6-2-2 mark. Both of its losses were by one goal at Minnesota.

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"I have heard good things about them this year," UND forward Amy Menke said. "I think they have a pretty good line that gets most of their points. If we shut down that line, we'll have a pretty good chance. Our depth is a little deeper than theirs. I think if we can shut down that first line they have, we'll have a pretty good chance."

Although UND has the ability to set matchups with last line change at home, Idalski may be willing to use multiple lines against the Stalder-Brykaliuk unit.

"At the beginning of the year, I would have told you Gardner's line is going to draw that assignment and we'll be pretty heavy with that," Idalski said. "But our younger kids have grown relatively quickly. I don't know if I'm going to be glued to that or feel like I have to match.

"I'm going to have a couple lines that I'm confidence can play against them. We'll just have to know when a couple of their high-end kids are on the ice."

UND had last weekend off for the Four Nations tournament in Finland. Prior to that, the Fighting Hawks swept Bemidji State.

UND went 3-1 against the Bulldogs last season.

"They are well coached," Idalski said. "They try to possess the puck and play a good brand of hockey with skill and puck movement. I was impressed. They look like a really solid team."

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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