Minnesota ends Final Face-Off run with double overtime loss

UMD goalie Maddie Rooney set a new school saves record during the game.

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Sidney Peters defends the goal from the Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at Ridder Arena.

Courtney Deutz, Daily File Photo

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Sidney Peters defends the goal from the Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at Ridder Arena.

Tommy Sletten

It took almost 92 minutes for a deciding goal to break
through in an all-out grudge match of the WCHA Final Faceoff Semifinal, in
which Minnesota fell 2-1 to in-state rival Minnesota-Duluth.

Prowess between the pipes was highlighted throughout the
game, as Gophers goaltender Sidney Peters made 39 saves, including an
acrobatic, diving deflection that kept Minnesota alive in the first overtime.

Bulldogs goalie Maddie Rooney made a program record 62
saves, just three off of the WCHA Tournament record.

“Definitely would like to have some of those back, but
[Rooney] stood on her head and played unbelievable and so did our goalie, Sid,”
said sophomore forward Sarah Potomak. “It was just a battle between the two
goalies it felt like, but she’s a great goalie so I give her the credit she
deserves.”

While Minnesota dominated possession, time on attack, and
shots through regulation and one overtime, the No. 2 Bulldogs’ counter attack
proved to be the difference maker.

Minnesota-Duluth senior, and Patty Kazmaier Award finalist,
Lara Stalder, scored the golden goal in the second overtime to send Minnesota
packing, and advanced her team to play WIsconsin in the WCHA Final Faceoff
Championship.

“Three breakaways in that first overtime, outshooting them
20-8 in the first overtime, over 100 some odd attempts here tonight,” said head
coach Brad Frost.  “Sometimes you win
games the wrong way and lose games the right way … Tonight, the big scoreboard
at the end of the game said that we lost, but for us we’ll learn from it and
hopefully move on and play next weekend.”

Despite the loss, the No. 5 Gophers will still be in the top
eight in the nation, which would qualify them for the NCAA Tournament.

However, Minnesota should be on the road for the NCAA
Quarterfinal for the first time since the 2010-2011 season, where they lost to
Boston College 4-1.

Redemption may be just around the corner for the Gophers
though, as a matchup against the Bulldogs is very possible in the NCAA
Quarterfinal.

“I think we are in, we are hoping that we are in, but until
everything rolls out tomorrow we’re not sure,” Frost said. “I would imagine
that if we are outside the top four, which I would think we would be, I would
imagine we would head back up to Duluth.”

This semifinal game saw the long-awaited return of Minnesota
senior forward Dani Cameranesi.

The assistant captain had been out with injury for the last
six weeks, and tied a program record with 14 total on the game.

“I’m feeling great,” Cameranesi said. “I was
actually just joking, saying I missed too many games so they wanted to throw
two at me right away. It was a lot of fun battling out there, and being back on
the ice with my family feels really great.”

Cameranesi was unable to net any of her chances, however, as
the lone goal was scored by Sarah Potomak.

Potomak evened up the game in the second period with an
unassisted goal from the left wing, going coast to coast to beat Rooney, the
lone goal for the Gophers in this matchup.

“It’s kind of a tough pill to swallow but I’m really
proud of our team and the way we played,” Potomak said. “We are not going to
dwell on it, we are just going to move forward and do the best we can,
hopefully next weekend.”