In the past, the University of North Dakota women’s team has had trouble with bad teams that have hurt their Pairwise Ranking. The past couple of seasons, it’s been their kryptonite. On Friday afternoon, the Fighting Hawks lost a heartbreaker to the Syracuse Orange 3-0. That could’ve dealt the Hawks a serious blow to their NCAA postseason chances. We won’t know till later. Ironically, almost a year to the date, the Hawks lost a 5-2 shocker to the Orange in Syracuse, New York. That loss did some serious damage to the Hawks final Pairwise Rankings.

Fast forward to this season, the Fighting Hawks found themselves in the same predicament. Losing the second game to the Orange would’ve been devasting. Entering Saturday’s game against the Orange, the Fighting Hawks had one mission, get the split.

Mission accomplished!

While it wasn’t pretty, the Hawks came out on the right side of a 3-0 non-conference win. The game started slowly. The Orange forechecked the Hawks aggressively, giving them little room to roam. The Hawks would eventually break through at the 6:40 mark of the first when freshman forward Ryleigh Houston would score her second goal of the year on the power play.

In the second period, freshman All-World forward Emma Nuutinen score her seventh goal of the season. For those not familiar with her,  Nuutinen is a very talented forward that skates very well and has a deadly shot. Each week, we’ve seen a little bit more of her skill set. Check out her goal in the gif below.

Nuutinen scored UND’s second goal at the 15:47 mark of the second period, this is a perfect example of why her head coach wants her to shoot the puck more. Good things happen when she puts the puck on net. Nuutinen’s goal gave UND the much-needed space to help them secure their seventh win of the year. Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed by her head coach.

“Emma (Nuutinen) is poised with the puck, patience, her ability to see the ice and protect the puck and maintain possession,” head coach Brian Idalski said. “She got good hands – good size and she’s good in tight areas.”

“I was good pass from Anna (Kilponen) and I had space,” Nuutinen said.

While the win wasn’t pretty and at times, the game wasn’t all that interesting to watch, the head coach was happy that his team got the win and the all-important series split with the Orange.

“I thought what we needed to do to win a hockey game,” head coach Brian Idalski said. “Obviously, playing with a lead helped us out a lot. We defended well.”

About The Author

College Hockey Writer, Contributing Editor

Eric Burton is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers college hockey and the University of North Dakota for Inside Hockey. Eric is the editor of the SIN BIN. Lastly, Eric was the college hockey writer for The Hockey Writers.

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