Gopher Women Lose to Badgers in NCAA Tourney
MADISON, WI (Gophersports.com) – The No. 5 University of Minnesota women's hockey program fell short of its seventh-straight NCAA Frozen Four appearance as the Golden Gophers fell to No. 2 Wisconsin by a score of 4-0 in the NCAA quarterfinal round at the Badgers' LaBahn Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota (24-11-3) made the program's 11th-straight NCAA postseason appearance by winning the 2018 WCHA Final Faceoff with a 3-1 win over the Badgers in the league championship game last weekend, but the Gophers could not make it two-in-a-row against their border rivals.
Wisconsin (31-4-2) got on the board with a goal by Presley Norby at the 10:08 mark of the opening frame and Abby Roque scored back-to-back goals in the second period to put the host Badgers ahead by three. Claudia Kepler capped the scoring with a power play tally in the game's final two minutes to seal the win for UW.
Sidney Peters made 35 saves for Minnesota as the Badgers outshot the Gophers, 39-12. Wisconsin's Kristen Campbell earned the shutout for the host Badgers.
The Gophers were 0-for-2 on the power play while holding Wisconsin to 1-for-4 with the skater advantage.
The game marked the final collegiate game for Gopher seniors Sydney Baldwin, Cara Piazza, Caitlin Reilly, and Sidney Peters. From 2014-15 to 2017-18, the Gophers led Minnesota to a 119-26-13 record with three NCAA Frozen Four appearances and back-to-back NCAA titles in 2015 and 2016. The Gophers were WCHA regular-season champions in 2015, and the seniors added a WCHA Final Faceoff title to their resume last weekend after being WCHA tournament runners-up in 2016.
In other NCAA quarterfinal action, Ohio State defeated Boston College by a score of 2-0 to earn its first-ever NCAA Frozen Four berth. Clarkson needed overtime to defeat Mercyhurst, but the Golden Knights came out on top, 2-1, and Colgate defeated Northeastern, 3-1.
Clarkson, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Colgate advance to the 2018 NCAA Women's Frozen Four next weekend at Ridder Arena. Ticket packages and single-session tickets are on sale now.
The national semifinals are scheduled for Friday, March 16 with top-seeded Clarkson taking on Ohio State in the first semifinal at 4 p.m. CT and No. 2 seed Wisconsin facing off against No. 3 seed Colgate in the second semifinal at 7 p.m. CT. The semifinal winners advance to the national championship game at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 18. All three games will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.
This season marks the fourth time the national championship will be played on the Gophers' home ice as Ridder Arena also hosted the NCAA Women's Frozen Four in 2010, 2013, and 2015.