Minnesota to battle Wisconsin in WCHA Championship game

Brian Deutsch

All Minnesota coach Laura Halldorson had to say for her team to win Saturday’s thrilling overtime matchup against Minnesota Duluth was please.

“I went over and said can you guys please end this,” Halldorson stated while commenting on her choice words to her team as it took to the ice for the overtime period.

With Halldorson’s words still fresh in her mind, sophomore forward Gigi Marvin needed barely over a minute to fulfill her coach’s wish.

The goal lifted the Gophers women’s hockey team to a 3-2 win in the semifinals of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Championships.

After Bulldogs senior defenseman Ashly Waggoner got called for a questionable tripping penalty in the first minute of overtime, Marvin gave her team the win when she rifled a top-shelf wrister past freshman goalie Kim Martin.

With the win, Minnesota advanced to the championship game where it will face off with Wisconsin, which also advanced Saturday.

Tomorrow’s game will be the third straight WCHA Championship game between the two teams. The Badgers won last year on its way to an NCAA Championship while the Gophers did the same two years ago.

“We’re pretty excited about Wisconsin, we’ve really been concentrating on what happened in the past stays in the past,” Minnesota junior forward Erica McKenzie said. “Tomorrow is one game, sixty minutes.”

Marvin’s overtime goal capped off a back and forth battle that lasted throughout the game. A game saw Minnesota come out stronger than ever.

Senior forward Andrea Nichols gave the Gophers a 1-0 lead in the final 40 seconds of the first period when she slipped a rebound past Martin.

But the Bulldogs answered back 4:12 into the second period with a power-play goal after freshman forward Saara Tuominen threw the puck towards the net.

The puck appeared to bounce off Minnesota forward Whitney Graft’s skate, off the post, then over the goal line before sophomore goalie Kim Hanlon could adjust to the deflections.

The Gophers caught a break later in the period though when Martin made a rare mistake in net for Duluth.

Minnesota sophomore defenseman Melanie Gagnon cleared the puck into Bulldogs territory, where Martin was waiting to trap the puck in the crease.

But a bouncing puck jumped over Martin’s stick and into the net, giving the Gophers a 2-1 lead. The lead didn’t last long though as Duluth senior forward Jessica Koizumi recorded the Bulldogs’ final goal to knot the game at 2-2 with just over 15 minutes to go in the game.

“We’re just really excited to move on,” Halldorson said. “I’m really proud of our players. They found a way to win it.”

Wisconsin advances

The Wisconsin women’s hockey team extended its unbeaten streak to 22 games and set a school record by posting its fifth straight shutout Saturday, knocking Ohio State out of the WCHA Championships with a 4-0 win.

After dropping four regular season games to the Badgers earlier this season, the Buckeyes hung with the WCHA regular season champs for most of the first period until Wisconsin freshman winger Jasmine Giles chipped in a rebound just beyond the prone reach of senior net-minder Erika Vanderveer at the 2:22 mark.

Ohio State couldn’t get past the Badgers’ defense and sophomore goalie Jessica Vetter, who stopped all 22 shots for Wisconsin, earning her fifth shutout of the season.

“You look at it and say if one of those goals had gone in, it could have been a different game,” Ohio State coach Jackie Barto said.

The Badgers added a short-handed goal in the second and a pair of goals in the third to advance to the WCHA Championship game.

Goals by Period 1 2 3 OT Tot

————————————-

Univ. of Minnesota.. 1 1 0 1 – 3

Minnesota Duluth…. 0 1 1 0 – 2

1st period – 1, MINN, Andrea Nichols/14 (Anya Miller/18, Dagney

Willey/10) 19:20 (pp). Penalties – Melanie Gagnon, MINN (checking)

3:52; Jill Sales, UMD (slashing) 5:08; Gigi Marvin, MINN

(interference) 13:34; Sara O’Toole, UMD (tripping) 14:10; Anya Miller,

MINN (roughing) 16:45; Jessica Koizumi, UMD (interference) 17:40.

2nd period – 2, UMD, Saara Tuominen/12 (Emmanuelle Blais/19, Jill

Sales/11) 4:12 (pp). 3, MINN, Melanie Gagnon/5 12:39. Penalties –

Melanie Gagnon, MINN (checking) 3:24; Jaime Rasmussen, UMD (checking)

16:57.

3rd period – 4, UMD, Jessica Koizumi/18 (Saara Tuominen/25, Jill

Sales/12) 4:50 (pp). Penalties – Ashly Waggoner, UMD (checking) :55;

Maggie Souba, MINN (checking) 3:38.

OT period – 5, MINN, Gigi Marvin/18 (Brittany Francis/20, Bobbi

Ross/16) 1:08 (pp). Penalties – Ashly Waggoner, UMD (tripping) :52.

Shots on goal – MINN 9-5-3-2 19; UMD 6-3-14-0 23.

Power plays – MINN 2 of 6; UMD 2 of 5.

Penalties – MINN 5 (10 min); UMD 6 (12 min).

Goalies – MINN, Kim Hanlon 11-6-0 (61:08 minutes, 23 shots-21

saves); UMD, Kim Martin 11-6-2 (61:08, 19-16).

Penalty shots – None.

A-1343 T-2:22

Referee:Jay Mendel Linesman:Dan Kovarik; Joe Harris

Win-Kim Hanlon (11-6-0). Loss-Kim Martin (11-6-2).