March 2, 2012
The Golden Gopher women's hockey team earned a spot in the WCHA Final Face-off championship game with a 6-0 win over North Dakota tonight in Duluth, Minn. Noora Raty tallied her 24th career shutout and ninth this season with the win. Sarah Davis notched her first career hat trick with three goals in the game.
Just over two minutes into the game, Sarah Davis put the puck in the net, but after a review, the goal was not counted as she kicked the puck into the net. It wouldn't take Minnesota long to get on the scoreboard, though, as Emily West scored three minutes and 21 seconds into the game, with an assist by Kelly Seeler. The score remained 1-0 through much of the first period, before Sarah Davis scored with just over a minute remaining to put the Gophers ahead 2-0 going into intermission. Emily West assisted on Davis' goal. The Gophers outshot UND 10-6 in the first period, and successfully killed their only penalty of the period.
Sarah Davis struck again four minutes into the second period, assisted by Sarah Erickson and Megan Bozek, putting the Gophers ahead 4-0. Kelly Seeler went to the penalty box two minutes later, giving UND a power play opportunity. The Gophers held strong, and added their fourth goal shortly after returning to full strength. Jen Schoullis scored Minnesota's goal to go ahead 4-0, assisted by Amanda Kessel and Baylee Gillanders.
Emily West got her second goal of the game when she scored on a deflection 12 and a half minutes into the period, assisted by Mira Jalosuo and Rachel Ramsey. With seven and a half minutes remaining in the period, North Dakota took goaltender Stephanie Ney out of the game and inserted Jorid Dagfinrud into the game in goal. UND's Monique Weber and Minnesota's Amanda Kessel were both called for penalties a minute after the goalie change, as Weber went to the penalty box for two minutes for slashing. Kessel took the first five-minute major penalty of her Gopher career. Both teams skated four-on-four before North Dakota had three minutes on the power play. UND was not able to capitalize with the advantage as the Gophers successfully killed the penalty. Rachel Ramsey took a penalty for checking with just one second remaining in the second period, allowing UND to start the third period with just under two minutes on the power play.
Sarah Davis tallied her third goal of the game and first career hat trick with a goal three and a half minutes into the third period. West and Kessel had assists, giving West four points in the game to tie her career best. Minnesota gave North Dakota one more power play chance in the third period, but once again, successfully killed the penalty.
Shots on goal were even for the teams, with Minnesota and North Dakota each logging 27 in the game. Noora Raty earned her 29th win of the season, and currently holds a season record of 29-5-2. She also earned her ninth shutout of the season and 24th of her career.
The Gophers will play Minnesota Duluth in the tournament finale tomorrow at 7:07 p.m. at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn. In today's first semifinal game, top-seeded Wisconsin fell to the host Bulldogs 3-1.