Taylor Stewart scores two, No. 7 UMD shuts out Clarkson to open NCAA Regionals

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In round one of the NCAA National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey Regionals at Ridder Arena Thursday the seventh seeded University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) women’s hockey team shut out ninth seeded Clarkson University 2-0.

“It could have gone either way. It could have been a bigger score for us, but I thought they played well,” UMD head coach Maura Crowell said.

In the first period Taylor Stewart put UMD on the board first scoring five minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead into the second.

“A lot of momentum going into that first goal,” Stewart said, a senior defender. “It helps to get the first one of the game too. Once you’re up by one, you’ve got the momentum, you’ve got the speed.”

Then the Golden Knights got physical. UMD would have nine-and-a-half minutes on the power play in the second period, including portions of two five minute majors. However the second would end 1-0 with the Bulldogs leading in shots 22-11.

“One of the more physical, if not the most physical [game],” Taylor Anderson said, a graduate forward. “Definitely was a different game. They came with a lot of energy and a lot of physicality that we hadn’t quite seen coming, a lot of penalties, but there were a lot of hard hits. So I think that was a little bit of a surprise, but I think we weathered it well.”

“That physicality that they really focused on, I think, was clearly part of their plan. That maybe made us uncomfortable for a little while, but then obviously it worked in our favor,” Coach Crowell said.

UMD finally broke through on the power play in the third thanks to Stewart netting her second of the game. In total Clarkson racked up 24 minutes of penalties.

Goalie Emma Soderberg backstopped the Bulldogs to the shutout win with 16 saves.

UMD (26-9-3) advances to the Regional Finals Saturday against the second seeded Minnesota Gophers back at Ridder Arena at 2p.m. The winner advances to the Frozen Four in Duluth.

The Gophers are 4-0 over the Bulldogs this season.