A triple-overtime thriller resulted in the Minnesota Golden Gophers extending their undefeated record to a sparkling 39-0-0. A four-hours-and-27-minute-long contest ended when Kelly Terry scored on North Dakota backstop Shelby Amsley-Benzie in the third overtime frame as the Gophers advanced to the Frozen Four.
Having played North Dakota one week earlier in the WCHA Postseason Championship final, the Gophers were facing a very familiar opponent in the opening round of the NCAA women’s hockey tournament. Only 52 seconds into the contest, rookie sensation Hannah Brandt scored her 31st of the year as Minnesota grabbed the 1-0 advantage. Amanda Kessel (with her 53rd assist of the year) and Bethany Brausen were credited with the assists.
North Dakota would even the score at 14:05 of the opening frame. An even-strength goal by Ashley Furia (only her third of the year) was the equalizer for the Fighting Sioux as WCHA All-Rookie selection Meghan Dufault registered her 22nd assist of the year.
Heading into the second stanza, Patty Kazmaier Award finalist Megan Bozek was in the penalty box for Minnesota serving a slashing call. With the power-play advantage, Dufault logged her second point of the game as she scored on Noora Raty at the 29-second mark.
It would take the Golden Gophers 15 minutes and 31 seconds to even the score. Amanda Kessel would log her 44th goal while Megan Bozek was credited with her 35th assist. Despite the goal, North Dakota would quickly enjoy a power-play opportunity. Milica McMillen was called for checking from behind and was given a ten minute game misconduct. Noora Raty would be solid between the pipes as she neutralized the North Dakota power play.
In the final frame, Minnesota would out-shoot North Dakota by a 14-7 tally, but they were unable to score. Fighting Sioux backstop Shelby Amsley-Benzie was equally solid as Raty in her own end. Amsley-Benzie would be tested at the beginning and at the end of the third.
Jocelyne Lamoureux was called for hooking at the 1:30 mark of the third period. With 51 seconds remaining in the frame, Jordan Slavin was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Extra pressure was added on Amsley-Benzie as Minnesota called a timeout after Slavin’s penalty. While she faced a very aggressive Minnesota power play, she successfully brought North Dakota to overtime.
The first and second overtime frames did not resolve anything, as both clubs took 16 shots on goal. While North Dakota played valiantly, a penalty in the third overtime would prove to be the difference. A tripping call on Jocelyne Lamoureux at 17:16 gave Minnesota another power play.
With 15 seconds remaining in the power play, Minnesota’s Kelly Terry would prove to be the hero as she slipped the puck past an exhausted Amsley-Benzie for the game-winning tally. Assists were credited to Rachel Bona and Mira Jalosuo as Minnesota out-shot the Fighting Sioux by an 11-3 count.
The match lasted 118 minutes and 51 seconds for the longest contest in Golden Gophers program history. Although Hannah Brandt won 30 faceoffs, she also lost 31, while Sarah Davis won 17 of 30 faceoffs, the best percentage of any Minnesota player. Jocelyne Lamoureux of North Dakota won 33 of 61 faceoffs while Josefine Jakobsen prevailed in 23 of 38.
Overall, the Fighting Sioux were outshot by a 60-52 mark. Megan Bozek led all Golden Gophers skaters with 10 shots on net, while Michelle Karvinen paced all Fighting Sioux players with 9 shots, respectively. The Golden Gophers will face the Boston College Eagles in the NCAA Frozen Four to be held at Ridder Arena.