Gophers advance to WCHA semifinals after victory over St. Cloud State

Minnesota will face Ohio State next in the WCHA playoffs.

Senior Cara Piazza keeps her balance as she attempts a shot during a game against St. Cloud State at the Roseville Skating Center on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015.

Maddy Fox, Daily File Photo

Senior Cara Piazza keeps her balance as she attempts a shot during a game against St. Cloud State at the Roseville Skating Center on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015.

Max Biegert

The Gophers received two goals from a duo who combined for six goals all year.   

Defenseman Emily Brown put the Gophers ahead 8:57 into the first period.

Then, sophomore defenseman Patti Marshall flung a low shot in from the blue line that got through the Huskies’ Emma Polusny and into the back of the net for just her second goal of the year.

No. 3 seed Minnesota (22-10-3) won 4-1 at Ridder Arena Saturday to complete the first round sweep over No. 6 St. Cloud State (8-20-5) and move on to the Final Face-off versus Ohio State. 

“We want to guarantee ourselves an opportunity to get into the national tournament,” head coach Brad Frost said. 

Minnesota entered the third period with a two-goal lead. Forward Grace Zumwinkle added to that lead with just one minute left in the game, scoring an empty-netter and the fourth goal for the Gophers. 

Goaltender Sidney Peters ended with 25 saves on the night, only conceding one goal. St. Cloud State tied it up at 1-1 just 2:38 into the game after Anderson’s low shot from the blue line went unnoticed by Peters and through her legs. 

Schammel, in both games during the first round of the playoffs, came up with timely goals. Friday night, she scored the first goal of the game in the second period that sparked Minnesota as it ended with five goals. On Saturday, Schammel helped put the game out of reach for the Huskies. She has netted 16 goals on the year and has filled a scoring role that was left empty because of the Winter Olympics.

“Schammel has stepped into a role that I don’t think she knew she was going to be in at the start of the year,” Peters said. “Her heart is in it, she believes in us, and right now that is what leadership looks like on our team.”

Schammel extended the Gophers lead to two goals in the second period.

“I think we are a really fast team and, they way we skate with the puck, we are really dangerous,” Schammel said. “We got pucks to the net and got some dirty goals that really helped.”

The Gophers take on Ohio State in the semifinal next weekend. The second-seeded Buckeyes swept Mankato State over the weekend to advance to the Final Face-Off. The Gophers have been swept by the Buckeye’s twice this season, most recently on the road in Columbus. 

“It’s been real hard for us to handle them this year, we have been up on them and we haven’t been able to finish,” Frost said. “Hopefully we get another opportunity to be up and get the job done.”