Gophers Heading Back to NCAA Title Game
Durham, NH (GopherSports.com) - Sarah Potomak scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give Minnesota a 3-2 win over Wisconsin and send the Gophers to their fifth-straight national championship game Friday night.
Potomak's game-winner came at the 15:00 mark of overtime when she picked off a Badger defenseman in the UW zone and fired it past Badger netminder Ann-Renee Desbiens to seal the 3-2 win.
Minnesota (34-4-1) received goals from Taylor Williamson and Amanda Kessel during regulation. Lee Stecklein led the Gophers with two points on a pair of assists, and Amanda Leveille made 37 saves in the win.
"In games like this, your big-time players have to step up, but there have to be some unsung heroes as well," head coach Brad Frost said. "Taylor, and I guess you can call Potty an unsung hero even though she's National Rookie of the Year and playing on our first line, that was a huge goal for her. Anytime you can get contributions from your third line, it's really big. That's one of the things that we've been talking about."
The game marked the third-straight national semifinal win for the Gophers over Wisconsin (35-4-1). The Badgers were led by Desbiens' 38 saves and received goals from Sophia Shaver and Emily Clark.
The Gophers took an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Williamson. Stecklein worked the puck into the Wisconsin zone and fed a pass to Williamson in the slot, where the freshman fired a shot past Desbiens just 2:15 into the game.
Wisconsin's Shaver then scored an unassisted tally to tie the game at the 11:35 mark of the opening period when she intercepted a pass in the Gopher end and one-timed it past Leveille.
The game remained tied at 1-1 until the final 20 seconds of the second period when UW's Clark banged a rebound into an open net after Leveille made the initial save on a shot by Sam Cogan.
Kessel scored the game-tying goal just 27 seconds into the third period off assists from Hannah Brandtand Stecklein. The Badgers controlled play most of the final frame, but the teams required overtime to settle their sixth meeting of the season.
The Gophers will face undefeated Boston College (40-0-0) in the national championship game at 1 p.m. CT Sunday in Durham, N.H.
The first Frozen Four semifinal also required overtime as the Eagles rallied to defeat Clarkson (30-5-5) by a score of 3-2. Clarkson led 2-0 early in the second period, but BC's Haley Skarupa scored twice, including the overtime game-winner, after the Eagles' Kailya Johnson tied the game with 3:53 remaining.