Live Blog NCAA semifinal: (3) Gophers women’s hockey vs. (2) Minnesota-Duluth

by John Hageman

Update: Cornell has defeated No. 1 Mercyhurst in overtime 3-2 and will move on to the championship game Sunday. 

Starting for the Gophers: #41 Noora Raty #22 Anne Schleper #20 Alexandra Zebro #17 Emily West #10 Brittany Francis #4 Sarah Erickson That’s all folks. The Gophers almost pull off a comeback, but their season will end here with a 3-2 loss to Minnesota-Duluth. The Bulldogs will face Cornell here at Ridder Arena for the NCAA national championship at noon Sunday. 3rd period 54.3-We’re not done yet. West knocks the puck in unassisted in the middle of a crowd. Duluth timeout. Looks like they will put Raty back in for a final push. Put Gus Johnson on hold, we may have a great finish here at Ridder Arena. Bulldogs lead 3-2. 1:17-Gophers call timeout in an effort to mount a comeback. Looks like they’ve pulled Raty right away, and the faceoff is on the other end. 6:58-Bulldogs get back to full strength and the Gophers still have not made a dent. They are running out of time to make a comeback. 8:58-Gophers will be on the power play again after Kacy Ambroz gets called for body checking after she sent Laura May into the wall. 11:33-UMD’s Audrey Cournoyer heads to the box for slashing. The Gophers will have a shortened power play. 13:11-As soon as the Gophers get back to full strength, they send another to the box. This time it’s Schleper for interference. 15:45-Minnesota’s Terra Rasmussen will gets called for hooking, and the Gophers will be on the penalty kill yet again. 17:20-Gophers getting a few shots on goal right away. For the first time in a long while, they have some kind of an offensive setup going. 20:00-Here we go folks. Just 20 minutes separate the Gophers from the end of their season. Let’s see if any March madness carries over into Ridder Arena tonight. 2nd period This game seems to be playing out like the WCHA championship game. The Bulldogs have scored the first two goals in each game, but Minnesota has not gone away. We’ll see if they can carry any momentum they have from that first goal into the final period. Before you count the Gophers out, remember that in last year’s semifinal game Minnesota was down 5-1 against Mercyhurst going into the final period and mustered three goals before their comeback fell short. They have proven they are capable of a comeback. Minnesota currently leads in shots on goal at 20-18, but Harss has been a solid rock for the Bulldogs in net. Penalties plagued the Gophers in the second period. They hadn’t traveled to the box in the entire first period, but made a visit four times in the second, disrupting any offensive momentum. 44.7-UMD’s Emmanuelle Blais puts the game at 3-1. Francis had the puck stolen from her, and Blais wound up from the top of the circle and sent the puck past Raty. 2:30-Erickson picks up the puck in the neutral zone and takes it all the way, knocking the puck past Harss and in. Erickson did the same thing the last time these teams played in the WCHA championship game with the Gophers down 2-0. She scored the only two goals of the game for the Gophers, but it wasn’t enough. We’ll see what happens here. Bulldogs still lead 2-1. 3:53- A Minnesota pass towards the UMD net almost bounces off Duluth’s Jaime Rasmussen and in, but Harss covers it up. 6:24-Jalosuo gets called for hooking. 7:05-Tuominen puts the Bulldogs up 2-0. Fridfinnson found Tuominen wide open on the opposite side of the net, and she snuck it past Raty. Bulldogs lead 2-0. 7:58-Gophers back to full strength. Still looking for that first goal. 9:58-Seeler is in the box again, this time for high-sticking. 10:22-Blankenship manages to keep the puck in the UMD zone and fires a wrister from between the circles, but Harss makes the chest-save to keep the shutout going. 13:40-Gophers back to full strength with no harm done. They will look to get some momentum going in their offensive zone, which has been non-existent save for the few rushes here and there in the past few minutes. 15:40-Seeler heads to the box for slashing. Bulldogs will be on their second power play of the night. 16:03-Terra Rasmussen gets on a 1-on-1 break, but her shot is denied by Harss. Still 1-0 Bulldogs. 19:22-Bulldogs will get their first power play of the game as Emily West heads to the box for tripping. That’s the first penalty called tonight that involved any contact, as UMD’s two penalties were too many players on the ice. 1st period After one, it’s 1-0 Minnesota-Duluth. The Gophers lead in shots on goal 13-7, but haven’t managed to get one past Harss. Minnesota had a scare there in the final seconds, as Saara Tuominen almost knocked the puck past Raty on a breakaway, but it bounced harmlessly off the side of the net. Minnesota head coach Brad Frost talked yesterday about one bad bounce being the difference, and it seems that could be the case tonight. The Gophers will look to get one of those bad bounces to go their way here in the second. 52.1-Seeler’s shot was slapped so hard it ends up in a UMD player’s sock. 5:00-Gophers currently outshooting the Bulldogs 11-5 thanks to some early penalties, but still no goal to show for it. 9:42-Gophers on their second power play as Gina Dodge heads to the box. Still 1-0 Duluth. 14:05-Bulldogs get on the board first. Laura Fridfinnson caught Raty out of position and put it past her for the first goal of the game. 17:54-Gophers are first on power play as Jessica Wong heads to the box.