The Minnesota Whitecaps won their second consecutive 5-4 game in Ridder Arena. Last time out it was against the Boston Pride. Tonight the opponent was the University of Minnesota. The score was also the same score as the first time these two teams faced off in late September; however, this time the outcome was different. With the win, the Whitecaps split their two games against the Gophers this season.
Goaltender Alli Altmann got the start for the Whitecaps and made 42 saves on the night.
Even being outshot 18-11 after the first period, the Whitecaps went into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead. Rachael Bona notched the first goal of the game against her former college team at 14:58 during a scramble in front of the Gopher net. Allie Thunstrom assisted on the play. Just over two minutes later, Thunstrom got her own tally with an assist going to another former Gopher, Anne Schleper.
In the second frame, the Gophers got on the board with a Cara Piazza goal at 3:34, cutting the Whitecaps' lead in half. But Bethany Brausen answered back, burying a rebound off a Bona shot from the slot. Thunstrom also recorded her third point of the game by assisting on the play. Before the period ended, though, it was Milica McMillen who beat Altmann with a point blank shot at 16:54, again bringing the Gophers to within a goal.
That set up the four-goal third period, as each team scored twice. First, it was Meaghan Pezon who skated down the right wing and fired top shelf on Gopher goaltender Sidney Peters, putting the Whitecaps up 4-2. The Gophers answered back with a Brook Garzone score off a nice pass from Caitlin Reilly about halfway through the period. It looked like the game may have been heading toward overtime until Pezon buried her second goal of the game with 2:40 left on the clock. The Whitecaps hung on to seal the victory and even their season series against the Gophers.
The Whitecaps will be back in action this weekend as they head up to Grand Forks, ND, to play the Fighting Hawks on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The puck drops at 2 pm each day.