A Sarah Davis goal 1:39 into overtime punched undefeated University of Minnesota's ticket to its second consecutive national championship game, lifting the Gophers to a 3-2 Frozen Four semifinal win over No. 4 Boston College at Ridder Arena Friday night. Now 40-0-0, host Minnesota will have an opportunity to defend its 2011-12 national title Sunday afternoon.
The top-seeded Gophers will play either No. 4 Mercyhurst or No. 3 Boston University Sunday at 3 p.m. for the championship in Minneapolis.
After skating to a 2-2 tie through regulation, a Bethany Brausen feed from behind the Eagle net found Davis in front. Davis waited for BC goaltender Corinne Boyles to drop to the ice before maneuvering her way across the goalmouth and flipping home the game-winning goal, her seventh of the season, 1:39 into the extra session.
Though the first period was a scoreless one, each team had its chances.
Just 1:50 into regulation, a Becky Kortum shot from below the dots found iron. Boston College held an 11-3 shot advantage early in the first period, but Gopher goaltender Noora Raty kept the Eagles off the board through one.
Minnesota recorded the final six shots of the frame, including four on the power play, but couldn't solve Boyles. After killing off a Boston College power play 11 minutes into regulation, the Gophers came close to breaking the deadlock on a power play of their own when Maryanne Menefee and Kelly Terry each missed the net on one-time looks from the slot.
Five minutes into the second period, Menefee got the attention of the crowd with a near miss on a point-blank shot and just over a minute later, Terry snuck in from the side of the net on an odd-man rush, but hit the post on her shot attempt.
After the teams exchanged chances back and forth throughout the period, the Eagles finally broke through on their second power play of the night on Emily Field's 16th goal of the season. Field emerged from the corner and had her initial bid blocked by a diving Mira Jalosuo, but the sophomore forward went upstairs on the follow-up to give BC a one-goal advantage that held through the end of the middle frame.
There were 25 ticks left on a Boston College power play and 1:49 left in the period at the time of the tally, which caused Minnesota to trail after 40 minutes for the first time all season.
After Amanda Kessel danced past Eagle captain drew on penalty early in the final frame, Minnesota evened the score at one when a Megan Bozek blast from the point was redirected by Hanna Brandt through Boyles' five-hole 1:42 into the period.
BC's lead lasted for just 3:29, but Boyles stood on her head for a majority of the period to keep the Hockey East regular season runners up in the game, denying Kessel multiple times, including on a three-on-one rush 4:04 into the period.
The Gophers gained a 2-1 advantage at 12:12 when Kortum cleaned up a Rachael Bona rebound at the edge of the crease, but Boston College knotted the score exactly two minutes later with a rebound goal of its own. Räty kicked aside a low shot by Haley Skarupa, but Lexi Bender was waiting at the doorstep to pot the game-tying goal.
Despite a 16-8 edge in shots in the third, Minnesota could not regain the lead before the end of regulation. Davis' heroics, however, went on to save the day for the Gophers.
With the win, Minnesota improved to 3-0 in overtime on the year with all three wins coming by 3-2 scores. The Gophers topped Bemidji State Feb. 16 and earn a Frozen Four berth with a triple-overtime triumph over North Dakota last Saturday.
Boston College finished the season with a 27-7-3 mark.