Live Blog: (3) Gophers women’s hockey vs. (6) Clarkson

John Hageman

Starting for the Gophers: #41 Noora Raty #2 Kelly Seeler #26 Michelle Maunu #17 Emily West #10 Brittany Francis #4 Sarah Erickson Overtime 16:51-Once again, West knocks in the game winner. She stole the puck deep in the Clarkson zone, made a couple of moves and snuck it past Dahm. Gophers move on to face Minnesota-Duluth in an epic rematch of the WCHA title game for the NCAA semifinals. Gophers win 3-2. -You heard right folks, we are headed for another overtime. With just 1:44 between them and the Frozen Four, Raty let in the goal to tie it up. I’m starting to lose track of how many overtimes we have had recently. There was one in the final regular season series against Wisconsin, a triple-overtime against Ohio State, a double overtime against Ohio State, and one here today. That’s a lot of extra hockey people. 3rd period 1:44-Wow. That was the most un-Noora like thing I have ever seen. Somehow, with nobody around her, she let a shot from the blue line sail over her glove. It’s all tied up 2-2. 4:15-Gophers kill the penalty. Clarkson had only a few chances, and Minnesota did a good job of clearing the puck. 6:24-Bozek will head to the sin bin for cross-checking and Clarkson will have another power play. 7:55-Minnesota gets called for a high stick when the puck flew up in the air just in front of the Clarkson net. 10:09-Clarkson gets on the board after Melissa Waldie caught a pass from Britney Selina on a 2-on-1. Waldie put the puck up over Raty’s stick and in. Gophers still lead 2-1. 13:21-Raty makes an aggressive save moving well out of the crease. The puck came loose and she almost left the net wide open. Gophers still lead 2-0. 15:00-Minnesota continues to attack the net while Clarkson has yet to tally a shot on goal this period. 19:24-West gets on a breakaway and is tripped up at the last second. Baribeau will head to the box. She was slow to get up, but knowing West she will come back with some fire. Gophers will have a shortened power play. 20:00- We will have another 57 seconds of the Clarkson power play as Francis’ penalty carried over from the second. 2nd period Gophers add another to go up 2-0 going into the final period. As you all know, I love situational stats. Here’s a couple that bode well for the Gophers: They are 19-3-2 when scoring first and 22-0-1 when leading after two periods. Yikes. Both goalies have 23 saves today, but the Gophers are leading the shots on goal 25-23. This would be a big game for Raty. Ever since she got back from the Olympics, she has seemed to struggle more than when she left. A lot of that has had to do with defensive breakdowns, but a shutout would do wonders for her confidence. The good thing about having an Olympic goalie in net, she has already had way more pressure put on her this year. The NCAAs are a cakewalk. Well, not really. I’m sure the entire bench breathed a collective sigh of relief when that goal was waved off. Before the puck was kicked in, it was knocked off the crossbar and fell behind Raty without her noticing it. Had that shot gone in, we would have a much different game here. 1:02-Francis tried to disrupt a Clarkson 2-on-1 but gets called for interference. 2:24-What a play by West. After driving the puck all the way up the ice and having her shot denied, she stayed with the play and got a goal on a rebound off an Erickson shot. Gophers lead 2-0. 4:31-Clarkson evens it up with a power play goal…nevermind. The puck was kicked and sent in by a Clarkson player. No goal. Minnesota leads 1-0. 6:08-Minnesota returns the favor as Seeler gets called for high-sticking. 8:45-Gophers get another power play here, as Juana Baribeau goes to the box for tripping. 11:58-Clarkson is starting to wake up here, and are now outshooting Minnesota 18-16 including a few great opportunities just in front of the Gophers net. 13:44-Neither team is getting much going in their offensive zone. It’s still 1-0 Gophers. 17:01-A small fight breaks out in front of the Minnesota net after Raty’s save. Seeler and Danielle Skirrow will head to the box. We will have 4-on-4 hockey for two minutes. 1st period Gophers are in good shape after one, getting the only goal of the period to lead 1-0. Minnesota is only outshooting Clarkson 14-12, but the Gophers’ opportunities have been much more high quality. Minnesota will need those kind of looks against Laura Dahm, who is seventh in the country in goals against average. The junior also had a stellar ECAC tournament with a 1.77 goals against average in five games. It almost comes as no surprise that the lone goal came from Francis. In her career, she has a tendency to turn on the jets and start producing in the second half of the season. She has 36 points this season, with 21 coming in the second half. 2:37-Gophers back to full strength. Rasmussen almost had a short-handed goal, and the Gophers seemed to gain some momentum from that goal. 4:37-Minnesota’s Anne Schleper heads to the box for interference. 5:41-Francis’ shot from in close on the near side of the net bounces off a Clarkson stick and in for the power-play goal. Gophers up 1-0. 6:45-Clarkson’s Tegan Schroeder gets called for tripping. This will be the Gophers’ second power-play attempt. 7:12-Raty stuffs a couple of rebound attempts from her back. Still no score. 9:00-Gophers power play ends with no harm done. Golden Knights had a few good deflections on Minnesota shots to keep it at 0-0. 11:00-Just as Minnesota gets back to full strength, the roles were flipped and the Gophers will be on the power play. 13:03-Clarkson gets the first power play of the day as Francis heads to the box for hooking. 13:34-Gophers had a great shift from their top line, getting multiple shots to the net. But still no score. 16:16- A Clarkson shot on goal from the far circle seemed to catch Raty off guard, but she is able to recover and make the save. 17:11-A little back and forth action here, Minnesota leads in shots on goal at 2-1. Final Update: Minnesota-Duluth defeats New Hampshire 2-1. They will await the winner of this game. Update on the Update: Minnesota-Duluth’s Jessica Wong has added a power play goal to put the Bulldogs up 2-1 with 16 minutes left in the game. Update: It looks like that rematch with the Bulldogs next round may never happen. New Hampshire is tied with Minnesota-Duluth 1-1 going into the final act. Earlier today, No. 1 Mercyhurst sent Boston University home packing early with a 4-1 win. The game here at Ridder will determine the final spot at the Frozen Four, unless New Hampshire and Minnesota-Duluth go into eight overtimes.

Pregame: If anyone remembers my pregame rant from last week, it looks like the Minnesota band might have the upper-hand this time around. From what I can gather, Clarkson’s band is made up of about six guys banging on drums in to no real rhythm. This does not bode well for the Golden Knights.