The Minnesota Whitecaps 2011-12 season opened with exhibition games against one of the top teams in the WCHA. On Friday September 30th and Saturday October 1st the Minnesota Whitecaps traveled to Duluth’s Amsoil Arena to play the UMD Women Bulldogs. On a power play, Boston College graduate Allie Thunstrom put the Whitecaps up 1-0 at 3:53 into the first period, with an assist from former Bulldog star and USA Women’s National Team Captain Jenny Potter. The rest of the first period was a battle up and down the ice with the first period score ending 1-0 Whitecaps. Audrey Cournoyer put the Dogs on the board, evening the score 23 seconds into the second period. The battle continued with plenty of scoring chances but both teams were denied. The third period was scoreless as Duluth turned on the heat creating power play opportunities. The game ended in a 1-1 tie going into overtime. Bulldog’s Pernilla Winberg hit the net with 45 seconds left on the clock giving the UMD Women a home exhibition win over the Minnesota Whitecaps. Whitecaps goaltender, Cornell graduate and Duluth native, Sanya Sandahl stopped 40 of 42 shots she faced while Bulldog Jennifer Harss stopped 28 of 29 in the winning effort.
Whitecaps came back with a vengeance in game two on Saturday October 1st. At 9:28 in the first period, blasting a low shot past UMD goaltender Jennifer Harss, Whitecaps Jenny Potter started off the scoring with an assist from Dartmouth College graduate Amanda Trunzo. Just over a minute later at 10:36 Bemidji State University graduate Erin Cody sliced one in from a pass from veteran Whitecaps Brooke White-Lancette leaving the first period 2-0 Whitecaps. Bulldogs Katie Wilson put in an unassisted goal within the first minute of the second period. At 8:02 UMD’s Jenna McParland scored on a power play evening the score 2-2. The Whitecaps got on the board again at 16:31 as Thunstrom dug deep to beat the defense hitting the back of the net, with assists from Cody and Trunzo. Capitalizing on the power play, at 17:02 Thunstrom’s one timer from Potter ended the period with the Whitecaps in the lead 4-2. Shots were even for the third period as was the scoring. At 6:03 Whitecaps forward Erin Cody headed for the net, tripped over a Bulldog stick and from her stomach shot the puck for an unassisted goal. Duluth battled back to gain a goal at 16:47 from Katie Wilson with an assist from Jenna McParland ending the game with a Whitecaps 5-3 win over the UMD Bulldogs . Whitecaps goaltender and Princeton graduate Megan Van Beusekom-Sweerin stopped 31 of 34 shots she faced and Jennifer Harss (12 saves) and Lana Steck (15 saves) split the game stopped a combined 27 of 32 shots.
Next up for the Whitecaps is a charity game with CommVault. This will be held on October 27th at the Excel Energy Center. Watch for more details and for the full schedule on the Whitecaps website and in future issues of Lets Play Hockey.