It took the University of Minnesota women's hockey team three overtimes to punch their ticket to the 2013 Frozen Four as they battled to a 3-2 triumph over North Dakota on Saturday. Junior Kelly Terry swatted in the game-winning goal with 1:09 remaining in the third period to keep the Golden Gophers' season alive.
After battling not only a fierce UND program but also exhaustion, the Gophers (39-0-0) ended the longest game in program history as Terry pounded in a rebound with just over a minute remaining in the third overtime. Senior Mira Jalosuo took the initial shot from the blue line, and sophomore Rachael Bona joined Terry in the scrum in front of the net. Both were credited with assists on the goal.
Both teams tallied a goal in each of the first two periods with the Maroon & Gold jumping to a quick early lead.
It took the Gophers just 52 seconds to claim a 1-0 lead as junior Bethany Brausen forced a North Dakota turnover in their own defensive zone. Brausen dished the puck off to classmate Amanda Kessel below the goal line, where the Patty Kazmaier Award finalist found freshman Hannah Brandt streaking to the front of the net. Brandt poked the puck by Shelby Amsley-Benzie to give Minnesota the lead.
North Dakota (26-12-1) came storming back as they put 18 shots on goal to the Maroon & Gold's seven. UND would equalize the match at the 14:05 mark as they capitalized on a 2-on-1 opportunity with Ashley Furia slipping a puck by Noora Raty.
The UND goal snapped a 395 minute and one second scoreless streak for Minnesota opponents. The knotted score was carried into the intermission.
In the second period, North Dakota notched their second goal just 29 seconds into the period on a power play.
The Maroon & Gold received a pair of power-play chances in the second period, but it wasn't until the second opportunity at the 16-minute mark that they evened the score up at 2-2.
Senior Megan Bozek skated the length of ice and wrapped around the back of the net. The Patty Kazmaier Award finalist centered the puck and found Kessel at the far side of the net for the one-timer.
Minnesota went 2-for-7 on power-play situations, while North Dakota was 1-for-2.
With 1:55 remaining in the period, freshman Milica McMillen was called for checking from behind and received a game misconduct. The Gophers skated the remainder of the period a player down and began the third with UND on a 3:05 power play.
From the third period on, the two WCHA rivals battled back-and-forth, but neither team could gain an advantage on the scoreboard.
The thrilling victory extends the Gophers' NCAA record winning streak to 47 games and advances them to their second consecutive Frozen Four, which will be held at Ridder Arena on March 22 and 24.
Minnesota will face Boston College, who defeated Harvard earlier today in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Game times have yet to be decided for the games on Friday.