Minnesota falls behind early; drops semi-final game to the Lakers

The Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team didnâÄôt have time on their side in their NCAA semifinal game. The No. 2 Gophers (32-5-3 overall) ended their season Friday night by losing to No. 3 Mercyhurst (31-5-0) in a 5-4 battle that went down to the last second in Boston. Minnesota entered the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006. Coach Brad Frost said he thinks Minnesota could have tied the game if there had been another period. âÄúIf it was football, it would have been great playing another quarter or another period,âÄù he said. âÄúBut itâÄôs hockey, and youâÄôve got three periods. 60 minutes, and we didnâÄôt get it done in the right amount of time.âÄù The Gophers advanced to the Frozen Four with a 4-3 win over Boston College on March 14. Senior captain Gigi Marvin continued that momentum to score the first goal against the Lakers on a power play. However, Mercyhurst scored the next five goals of the game. After Mercyhurst scored three goals in the first period, starting goaltender first-year Alyssa Grogan was pulled in favor of sophomore Jenny Lura. Grogan had been battling food poisoning two days prior to the game. Frost said it was a tough time of the year for Grogan to have something like that happen. âÄúWe felt confident in [Grogan], and she felt like she could go,âÄù Frost said. âÄúAfter the first period, it was evident to the coaching staff and to Alyssa that she just couldnâÄôt go anymore. Jenny came in and did what she needed to try and keep us in the game.âÄù The LakersâÄô first two goals of the game came on Gophers penalties. Minnesota took four penalties in the first period and was on the short end of a five-on-three. Frost said the penalties hurt the Gophers early on in the game. âÄú[Mercyhurst has] some good players that move the puck well,âÄù he said. âÄúThey capitalized on their opportunities. But after that period, I think we played some disciplined hockey.âÄù Minnesota didnâÄôt have any penalties in the second period, but took four in the third. The third period is also when the Gophers picked up their momentum and made a comeback. Entering the period down 5-1, Minnesota responded with three goals in seven minutes from sophomore Jen Schoullis, Marvin and first-year Monique Lamoureux. Frost said he is proud of how his team responded to bring the score to 5-4, but it was too little, too late. âÄúOur goal was to come out here and win a national championship,âÄù he said. âÄúOur motto for the last half of the year was to play Gopher hockey for 60 minutes and we played Gopher hockey for 40.âÄù Frost said that despite the accomplishments the Gophers had this year, the team took this loss really hard. âÄúOnly one team is going to be happy at the end of the year,âÄù he said.