The Gopher Women’s Hockey Team will get a very familiar foe in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday. Minnesota will travel up I-35 and play WCHA mate UMD for the sixth time this season with a trip to the NCAA Frozen Four on the line. UMD defeated the Gophers 2-1 in double overtime last Saturday in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Face-off.
The Gophers knew that UMD would be their opponent immediately after they were defeated last Saturday. The Gophers had to win the WCHA Tournament to move up enough in the Pairwise rankings to be able to host a NCAA Quarterfinal. With their loss, they were locked into the #6 slot in the pairwise. So Minnesota will play an NCAA Quarterfinal on the road for the first time since 2011 when they lost at Boston College.
Minnesota and UMD have played five previous times this season with the Gopher sweeping a series at Ridder Arena in October, the Bulldogs sweeping a series in Duluth in January, and the double overtime game last Saturday. UMD prevailed in the longest game in WCHA Frozen Face-off history after WCHA Player of the Year Laura Stalder batted a deflected puck out of midair and past Gopher goalie Sidney Peters.
The Gophers and Bulldogs will square off at 2:30 PM on Saturday. The winner of that game will advance to the NCAA Frozen Four in St. Charles Missouri on March 17 and March 19.
Wisconsin was awarded the #1 overall seed and they will face CHA Champion Robert Morris at 2 PM on Saturday. The winner of that game will play the winner of St. Lawrence at #4 seed Boston College. That game will take place at Noon on Saturday.
The winner of the Minnesota/UMD game will play the winner of another intra-conference match-up between Cornell and #2 seed Clarkson of the ECAC. That game will take place at 2 PM on Saturday.
All four teams that have ever won an NCAA Tournament in women’s hockey will be in the field with Minnesota (6), UMD (5), Wisconsin (4) and Clarkson (1) represented.
We will have a full preview of the Minnesota/UMD Quarterfinal later in the week.