The Gopher women's hockey team needed all the stamina and guile they could muster to defeat nemesis North Dakota on Friday night in Minneapolis. When all was said and done and 118 plus minutes of hockey had been played, the Gophers kept their streak alive with a 3-2 victory. Kelly Terry knocked in a loose puck in front of the net to get the hard hat and, more importantly, the game-winner. Both goalies worked their tails off, with Noora Räty stopping 50 shots and Shelby Amsley-Benzie stopping 57. This game was a real treat for the 2,750 fans who attended, as it was one of the most exciting games all season long.
Things couldn't have started better for the Gophers. Just 52 seconds into the period, Hannah Brandt slammed home a one-timer off an Amanda Kessel pass, making it 1-0 early for Minnesota. The quick start for the Gophers seemed to wake up North Dakota. They proceeded to dominate the period including tying the game up. UND was able to convert a two on one as Ashley Furia slid the puck to the opposite side that Räty was going. It was the first post season goal that she had given up and also broke the shutout streak the Gophers had going at 395 minutes and 1 second. Shots favored UND heavily, 18-7, after one period.
The second period would start with North Dakota on the power play. It didn't take long to convert for the green and black, getting the goal just 29 seconds in. Meghan Dufault received a pretty pass through the crease and put it away giving North Dakota their first lead of the game. The Gophers would finally answer at the 16 minute mark of the period on the power play. Megan Bozek tried a wrap around and the loose puck was put in by Amanda Kessel, who was waiting in front. Things got even more interesting when Milica McMillen was called for a checking from behind penalty. She received a five minute major and was ejected.
The major penalty carried over into the third period, but Minnesota was able to kill it off. Minnesota kept up the pressure and seemed to take over the game with scoring chances. Meghan Lorence had some great chances in the third period, but Amsley-Benzie denied the Gophers. Minnesota had a chance to win it with a power play late in the third period off a Jordan Slavin trip, but could not convert. We go to overtime.
The drama continued to build and the crowd really seemed to react to every rush down the ice. Minnesota and North Dakota continued to trade shots and their respective goalies continued to turn them away. Overtimes one and two were not enough to settle it. So they went to a third.
In the third overtime, things took an interesting turn when Jocelyne Lamoureux was called for tripping. The Gophers power play was kept in check all game by a great penalty kill from UND, but Minnesota found a way. Kelly Terry was camped out in front of the net and put home a loose puck in front of Amsley-Benzie for the game winner. The crowd erupted and then erupted again after the brief review was confirmed that it was a good goal. Minnesota advances to the Frozen Four and keeps it's streak alive. Both teams ended up playing their longest games in school history.
Minnesota is now 39-0 on the season and has won 47 straight games. North Dakota played a great game and kept the Gophers on their heels with their quick transition game. The Lamoureux twins left their mark, as this was their final collegiate game. Gophers fans might find it fitting that Jocelyne was in the penalty box when the game ended. Either way, the Lamoureux's brought UND women's hockey to heights never seen before and might not see again for a while.
To see the boxscore, go here.
The Gophers next challenge will be at the Frozen Four next Friday against Boston College. BC defeated Harvard, 3-1, at home to advance to Minneapolis. The other semifinal will be Boston University against Mercyhurst.
Congrats to all the players and coaches!
Thanks for reading!