WOMEN'S HOCKEY: UND opens season with rout of RPI
Marissa Salo has heard all of the questions about the UND women's hockey team's ability to score goals this season. "But it doesn't seem to be a problem right now," Salo said. UND opened the season with a 7-1 blowout of RPI on Friday night in Ral...
Marissa Salo has heard all of the questions about the UND women’s hockey team’s ability to score goals this season.
“But it doesn’t seem to be a problem right now,” Salo said.
UND opened the season with a 7-1 blowout of RPI on Friday night in Ralph Engelstad Arena, racking up more goals than the team did in any game last season against an Eastern College Athletic Conference squad from Troy, N.Y.
Becca Kohler had her first-career hat trick, Meghan Dufault added four assists and Salo, a sophomore, scored the first two goals of her career as UND cruised to a key victory in the first of its six nonconference games this season.
Josefine Jakobsen and Andrea Dalen also scored goals, while UND killed all 11 power-play chances for the Engineers, including four five-on-threes.
“I thought we were pretty good in spurts,” UND coach Brian Idalski said. “Special teams were good. We were pleased with that. The flip side of that is we gave ourselves too many opportunities to work on our kill. That has to be better. But I think in a lot of phases, we got what we wanted. We wanted to play fast. We wanted to move the puck. And I thought we did a decent job of that.”
Kohler, Dufault and defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak all missed UND’s 9-1 exhibition victory over the Toronto Junior Aeros because they were attending the Canadian National Team camp last week. But it didn’t take them long to step into the lineup and make an impact.
“That’s a huge understatement,” Idalski said. “They were terrific. Becca was lights out. So was Duf. I thought they were dangerous every time they were on the ice.”
Dufault added: “Seasons in the past, it took a few games to get going after the summer. But having played some games in August and last week helped a lot.”
UND led 1-0 after the first on a Kohler power-play goal, then blew the game open in the second with three more goals. Dufault set up Jakobsen with a behind-the-back pass at 2:35, Kohler sniped a shot from the circle at 7:58 and Salo buried a loose puck in the slot area at 15:05.
“Big monkey off the back,” Salo said. “It felt really, really good, especially after last year not getting anything. It’s just a big relief.”
Dalen, Kohler and Salo added third-period goals to put the seven-spot on the scoreboard.
“It’s early in the year,” Idalski said. “If we’re doing that in February and March, I’ll get a little more giddy. But it’s a long grind.”
Goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie stopped 20 of 21 shots. The only goal she allowed came in the final four minutes.
UND closes out the weekend with a game against Vermont at 7:07 tonight in Ralph Engelstad Arena, while RPI heads will take on Bemidji State in the Sanford Center.
“It was a good start,” Idalski said. “Now we’ve got to prove we can take care of business two games on the weekend.”