The sellout crowd at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis were treated to a great start to the 2013 Women’s Hockey Frozen Four. The first championship semifinal of the weekend would pit the Boston College Eagles and the undefeated No. 1 seed University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The two teams did not play during the regular season, but that didn’t stop the teams from playing an aggressive and physical style of hockey from the opening face-off draw. The first 20 minutes of regulation was full of grit but the Eagles would out-shoot the Gophers 11-9.
Neither team would score in the first period.
The second period would follow suit with the physical style of play. The first blemish for the Gophers came late in the stanza as junior Kelly Terry would draw a tripping minor and send BC on the power play.
Terry was the hero in last weekend’s win in the NCAA Quarterfinal triple overtime game versus the University of North Dakota.
Boston College would take advantage of the extra attacker on the ice when Emily Field picked up a loose puck in front of the net and walked around Gopher goaltender Noora Raty. The late goal would leave the Minnesota home crowd pretty quiet heading into the second intermission.
Minnesota came into the third period trailing for the first time all season. The Gophers used the speed of Kessel on the first shift after the break to draw an early power play opportunity and the Maroon and Gold would answer BC.
Senior defender Megan Bozek took the power play blast from the left point and freshmen Hannah Brandt deflected the puck under the Eagles senior goalie Corinne Boyles.
The goal was No. 32 on the season for the WCHA Rookie of the Year to tie the game at 1-1.
The Brandt goal would spark an offensive fury for Minnesota. The forechecking pressure by the Gophers was their best all game from that point on and the Maroon and Gold were buzzing.
A good offensive zone rush by Gopher forward Rachel Bona would create a scoring chance when she just sent the puck to the front of the net. A rebound would lay in the crease after a Boyles save and senior Becky Kortum would give Minnesota their first lead as she dove at the puck and somehow flipped it in the back of the BC net.
It was the first lead of the hockey game and sent the capacity crowd to a roar.
The lead for the Gophers was short lived and wouldn’t hold as Boston College raced into the zone just two minutes later. Eagles freshmen Haley Skarupa quickly shot the puck on Raty as the senior netminder came out of to the edge of her crease to make a key save. The rebound was picked up though by fellow freshmen Lexi Bender and she capitalized on an open net and tallied her third goal of the season to tie the game up at 2-2.
The Gophers outshot the Eagles 16-8 in the last period of regulation, but could not keep the game from going into overtime.
Fresh off their three overtime win versus North Dakota in the NCAA Quarterfinals, the Gophers would not need the multiple extra sessions like last weekend. Just 1:39 into OT the Gophers would finish off Boston College.
Continuing their offensive pressure from the third period, the Golden Gophers leaned on their third-line of experienced grinders to get the game winner. Junior forward Bethany Brausen would find Sarah Davis in front of the net and the fellow junior would swing wide and beat Boyles from a very short angle.
Minnesota head coach Brad Frost commentated on the game-winner by Davis and how she was able to put the team into the National Championship on Sunday by saying “she’s got real silky hands.”
A classic hockey comment to finalize a instant classic game in an already memorable season.