Live Blog: (3) Gophers women’s hockey vs. Minnesota State

by John Hageman

3OT 18:44-There it is. West knocks in another game-winner on Altmann’s glove side. Gophers move on to the WCHA Final Face-Off. Holy Moly. Gophers and Mavericks will not give in. Minnesota State came out strong that period early, and outshot the Gophers 9-5. Minnesota had plenty of chances down the stretch, but I imagine fatigue is playing a huge part of why they have not put one in the net yet. And if you have been wondering, yes, this is the longest game the Gophers have ever played. We’re bordering on feature-film length here people. We’ll have another twenty-minute period coming up here at Ridder Arena. One more thing, two of the other WCHA games tonight are already done with one period. 2OT 5:20-To illustrate what kind of game this has been, picture this: Blankenship’s shot just bounced off of Altmann’s stick and dribbled off her head and missed going into the back of the net by inches. Figures. 11:01-Raty makes a save but drops the puck, a golden opportunity for the Mavericks but they can’t put it in. Gophers having trouble getting the puck to the net and only have one shot on goal this period. 14:51- 85 minutes of hockey later, we’re still not done. These players must be exhausted. We need some more time to sort this one apparently, and we are headed for a second overtime. This one will be 15 minutes long. Gophers had some good opportunities to put this game away in the first overtime, but could not come up with a goal. Raty also came up big for the Gophers, and is one of the biggest reasons they are still in this one. We are tied or close to tied in almost every major category, with Minnesota and the Mavericks each tallying 35 shots on goal through the first overtime. OT 3:33-Blankenship heads to the box for body-checking. Bad omen of the day: It’s 3 to 3, with 3:33 left. 7:45-This game should have probably ended about seven times by now, but both goalies are making some big saves. 17:24-West’s shot is saved and goes in after the whistle, so it doesn’t count. Minnesota State does not want to end their season today, and we are heading to overtime. Both teams are tied not only on the scoreboard, but in shots on goal, each tallying 28 in regulation. We will have a 20-minute period of overtime, as opposed to the five minutes in the regular season. There is also no shootout, and we will play here until someone scores. 3rd Period -52.1-We are less than a minute away from overtime here folks. Raty just made an amazing save to keep this game at a tie when an Minnesota State player had a one-timer just in front of the net. -5:43-Schleper had no choice but to hook Young on a breakaway, and she will head to the penalty box. -7:14-West gets tripped up, and Buganski will go to the box. 8:57-Jones had a wide-open chance, but knocked it off the top of the crossbar. -11:40-MSu’s Udvig heads to the box for tripping, giving the Gophers an opportunity to break this tie. -12:25-Minnesota State is now outshooting the Gophers 21-19 -17:13-Mavericks do not want their season to end here. O’ Connor gets her second of the game in a crowd to tie the game up at three apiece. Gophers have the lead 3-2 going into the final period. The second period was a somewhat emotional one, with tempers flaring all over the ice. Seeler went to the box three times that period, and I imagine she’s getting an ear-full right now. The Gophers have limited Minnesota State to just 13 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes, but that stat does not matter much if they keep giving up opportunities like they did on O’ Connor’s goal. Raty has looked a bit more solid after that first goal allowed, making some key saves in the second to keep the Gophers ahead. The Gophers would have that final goal a bit earlier if the crossbar was about a half an inch farther to the left. Kortum made a great play in the slot and knocked it off the bar with about a minute left in the period. Hewitt, who went down earlier in the period and needed help getting off the ice, has not returned to action yet. I wouldn’t expect to see her back based on how long she was on the ice. 2nd Period 18.6-Blankenship makes a fantastic play, bringing the puck up the ice and knocking it off the top of the crossbar and past Altmann. Schleper and Raty get assists. Gophers up 3-2. 5:15-MSU’s Mackley gives the penalty right back, as she sent West into the wall and gets called for body-checking. 5:42-Seeler goes to the box yet again for tripping. 7:31-O’Connor ties up the game at 2-2 on another odd-man rush. O’Connor put the puck just above Raty’s glove to get the score. 8:35-The Erickson, Francis, and West line has a great shift. They had some great opportunities in the crease and slot, but could not come up with anything. 12:24-Penalty kill does a great job suffocating the Mavericks while creating a few opportunities of their own. 14:24-Seeler goes back to the box for cross-checking. She needs to settle down a bit. 15:40-There’s the Noora we know. She made a great save on a breakaway to deny the Mavericks the tie. Crowd cheers her on, she’s obviously a fan-favorite. 16:54-Seeler and O’Connor get into it, both will head to the box. 17:29-Goal counts, Gophers up 2-1. Bozek and Schleper get assists. Francis gets a bit of redemption. Her rebound attempt just seconds before was denied. 17:29-Francis scores a goal, but it is under review. Hewitt slammed into the end wall, and looks like she hurt her left leg. 18:57-Raty draws a penalty from Leinonen. The fellow Finn will head to the box for checking the goalie. At the end of one, we’re all tied up at one apiece. Minnesota came out a little slow, but the defense has really picked it up here in the last 10 minutes of the period. Minnesota leads the shots on goal total 11-6. Frost has said all year that he would like to take less penalties, which the Gophers have been able to do as of late. They have just one so far here, and had only two in the final regular season game against Wisconsin. MSU has Alli Altmann back in goal tonight. She was pulled after giving up five goals in favor of Paige Thunder, who may have the best name in the WCHA.

1st period

1:55-Minnesota’s first penalty of the game. Erickson heads to the sin bin for high-sticking. 3:55-Mavericks have not had a shot on goal for a while. Minnesota leads in that category 9-4. 8:45-Somehow time did not tick off the clock before the Gophers could score. Bozek one timed the shot from the far circle after a pass from Schleper. 8:45-Hewitt gets called for high-sticking, giving the Gophers a 5-on-3 for 14 seconds. 10:32-MSU’s Holly Snyder will go to the box for the first penalty of the game for interference. 14:16-Mavericks on the board first. Jenna Hewitt tapped the puck off the inside of Raty’s left skate and in. That was pretty un-Noora like. That may be a sign of fatigue and concern for the Gophers.

16:55-Mavericks get a couple of shots on goal, but still no score. Minnesota head coach Brad Frost wanted the team to come out with more intensity today, we’ll see if that leads to some goals.