March 11, 2017
DULUTH, Minn. - The No. 5 University of Minnesota women's hockey team used a goal by Patti Marshall and a shutout from Sidney Peters to secure a 1-0 win over No. 3 Minnesota Duluth and punch its ticket to the program's sixth-straight NCAA Women's Frozen Four.
The Gophers (26-7-5) broke a scoreless tie at the 7:54 mark of the third period when Marshall scored off a feed from Sarah Potomak and Kelly Pannek. Peters finished with 25 saves in her eighth shutout of the season in the NCAA quarterfinal at AMSOIL Arena Saturday afternoon.
"Well, what a great game. Both teams just left it all out there," head coach Brad Frost said. "We're ecstatic to be going to our sixth Frozen Four in a row. This is a huge thing for our program. We've gone through a lot this year with injuries and some different things. I'm just so proud of our team and the way that they've battled through that adversity and come out stronger on the other side. I don't think anyone wants to see us in the Frozen Four other than our program, and we relish that."
Minnesota will face No. 2 seed Clarkson in the Frozen Four semifinal next weekend in St. Charles, Mo., in a rematch of the 2014 NCAA Championship game. The other semifinal pits top-seeded Wisconsin against No. 4 seed Boston College.
The Gophers and Bulldogs remained scoreless until the game's 48th minute. Minnesota held a 22-14 advantage in shots on goal over the first two periods but could not solve UMD netminder Maddie Rooney, who finished with 28 saves, until the third period.
Marshall finally broke through when she caught a cross-ice pass from Pannek through traffic and shoveled the puck past Rooney on her glove side with 12:06 remaining in the game.
"I saw Kelly curling up the wall, and she's a heads-up player," Marshall said of her goal. "I tried to find a seam back door and she found me. [Maddie Rooney] is a great goalie who has been playing really well lately, so I just tried to keep it low."
"I don't know if anybody else in the country, or on our team, makes that play other than Kelly Pannek," Frost said of the game-winner. "You talk about what separates Kelly from every other player in the country, and it's the vision you saw right there. That's a big-time, big time play. Then for Patti to see it, get in the right spot, and finish; 90% of the time, that hits a player's stick and goes into the corner, because they're not strong enough on their stick, but she just buried it. It was a phenomenal play."
The Gophers saw phenomenal play on the other end of the ice from Peters as well, including stopping UMD's Sidney Morin on a point blank shot just after Marshall's goal.
"Sid was amazing," Frost said. "Anytime they had great opportunities, they either hit crossbars or Sid made the save. We had our chances as well. Overall, just a fantastic game, and I'm proud of our team."
The Gophers' one-goal game with the Bulldogs was the closest game of the four NCAA quarterfinal match-ups. Clarkson won 3-1 over Cornell, and Wisconsin and Boston College both rolled past their opponents with the Badgers winning 7-0 over Robert Morris and the Eagles topping St. Lawrence, 6-0.
"[UMD's] seniors were the backbone of their team this year with Stalder, Brykaliuk, and McGovern," Frost said of Minnesota Duluth. "Those guys were absolutely awesome. Every time they were on the ice, we had to pay extra attention to them. When they did get loose, Sid was there to make the save. We want to congratulate them on a great game here tonight and an incredible season."
The back-to-back defending national champion Gophers continue their quest for a historic third-straight NCAA title when they make their 13th Frozen Four appearance next week.
The St. Louis Sports Commission and Lindenwood University are co-hosts for this year's NCAA Women's Frozen Four, which will be held at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo.
The first semifinal pits Wisconsin against Boston College and is set for 5 p.m. CT on Friday, March 17 with Minnesota and Clarkson facing off in the second semifinal at 8 p.m. CT. The national championship game is at 2 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 19 and will air live on the Big Ten Network.
Annual Golf Outing Set for July 24
The 2017 Gopher Men's Golf/Gopher Women's Hockey Golf Outing will be held Monday, July 24 at North Oaks Golf Club.
Potomaks Named to Canada's Centralization Roster
Sarah Potomak and Amy Potomak are among the 28 players named to Canada's Olympic centralization roster.
Seven Gophers Named Academic All-District
Women's hockey senior Lee Stecklein is among the at-large sport honorees recognized for academics.