Penalties plagued the No. 4/5 University of North Dakota women's hockey team in a 2-1 loss to No. 6 Clarkson on Saturday afternoon at Cheel Arena.
North Dakota (10-4-2) was assessed with a total of seven penalties in the contest, including four in the first period, and as a result was unable to establish much of a presence early in the game. Clarkson (13-4-2) scored one goal on its seven power-play opportunities to force the weekend split with UND.
Clarkson's Jamie Lee Rattray scored both goals for the Golden Knights, with the first one coming just 23 seconds into the start of the game. Brittany Styner took a shot, but the puck was deflected to the right of UND tender Lexie Shaw. With the loose puck sitting at the far post in front of an open net, Rattray was the first one to get to it during the ensuing scramble, giving Clarkson the early lead off a lucky bounce.
UND was called for its first penalty of the period less than minute later and had to go down five on three, after a second penalty was given to North Dakota less than two minutes later. However, the North Dakota penalty kill unit was stellar in Friday's win, and continued to play well as UND successfully killed off all four power plays Clarkson had in the period.
Unable to get into the flow of the game in the first period, UND was outshot 8-5, but North Dakota made a strong statement in the second period, outshooting the Golden Knights 13-4.
It would be Clarkson heading to the penalty box more in the second period, but UND was unable to get anything past the second-best PK unit in the nation during its three man advantages.
With the period drawing to a close, Clarkson went on its first power play of the second period and finally scored the weekend's only power-play goal. Rattray scored off a one-timer at the back post to give her side a 2-0 lead after two periods.
Continuing to look for its first goal of the game, UND kept up the offensive pressure in the third period.
Freshman Susanna Tapani finally proved to be the catalyst UND needed. Carrying the puck the length of the ice, Tapani made a nifty deke around the Clarkson defender to get free along the right side of the Clarkson net. She then made a spin-move pass to the front of the net, which was deflected by Amy Menke over Clarkson's goalie Erica Howe. The goal was Menke's third of the season, but would unfortunately be the only UND goal of the game.
Within in the final minute of play, UND opted for an extra attacker with an empty net, but could not get the puck past Howe, who ended the contest with 25 saves.
Shaw made her fifth start in net this season for UND and surrendered the two goals while making 15 saves, including many timely saves on a handful of Clarkson two-on-one and breakaway attempts.
North Dakota heads to Mankato, Minn., next weekend for its final WCHA series of the calendar year. The games will be played on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13-14, at 7:07 and 3:07 p.m., respectively.