Freshman forward Susanna Tapani paced the University of North Dakota women's hockey team to a 2-1 victory and a weekend sweep of Minnesota State on Saturday afternoon.
North Dakota (12-4-2, 9-3-2-1) finishes the 2013 portion of the regular season in third place in the WCHA, just three points behind Wisconsin in second place. Minnesota State (6-12-0, 3-11-0-0 WCHA) remains tied with St. Cloud State for sixth place.
Tapani scored both goals for UND, while her fellow Europeans Andrea Dalen and Michelle Karvinen both pick up one assist each.
North Dakota jumped out with early pressure as Tapani's goal came just 1:01 into the start of the contest. Dalen fed a pass to Tapani from the boards, and Tapani redirected the second shot on goal of the game past MSU netminder Danielle Butters.
UND would continue the high-tempo play for the rest of the period, but would not be able to put another shot past Butters. North Dakota outshot Minnesota State, 20-6, in the first period.
The second period had a slower pace, as seven of game's 12 penalties were assessed in the period. While North Dakota found itself on the short end of a four-on-three man advantage, Minnesota State finally got on the board from Kelsey Scott at the 8:30 mark.
After allowing 10 shots on goal in the second period, UND's defense clamped back down in the third period as both teams slugged it out looking for the go-ahead goal. Luckily that didn't take long for UND.
Gracen Hirschy picked up the puck in the defensive zone and passed up to Karvinen before heading off the ice for a line change. Karvinen then made a drop pass to Tapani in the slot. Tapani had a ton of time to pick her shot, and placed a snipe low-blocker side to beat Butters for the second time of the night.
Minnesota State opted for an extra attacker in the final minute and a half, but North Dakota would be the closest to scoring, as Karvinen hit the post on the empty net from center ice.
Freshman netminder Lexie Shaw made 21 saves for her fourth win of the season. Butters made a total of 43 saves in the losing effort, keeping the score a lot closer than what it could have been.
UND hosts the Manitoba Maple Leafs for an exhibition on Dec. 21 at the Ralph Engelstad arena at 2:07 p.m.