With the postseason finally here, the games have more meaning than ever. Several of the usual suspects, including Boston College, Minnesota and Wisconsin, took part in the most-talked about contests of the week.
Check out these stories and more below.
[divider]OFFENSE OF THE WEEK: Wisconsin[divider]
David Stluka/University of Wisconsin Athletics[/credit]
With a pair of back-to-back routs, first-ranked Wisconsin swept Minnesota State in the WCHA opener to move on to the next round of the conference tournament.
In Friday’s contest, the Badgers came out of the gate hot, recording 15 shots on goal in the first to the Mavericks’ four. Despite the heavy-handed approach, Minnesota State netminder Chloe Crosby managed to keep the league’s leading troupe off of the scoreboard in the first frame.
The story of the second period changed quickly, with Wisconsin’s Sydney McKibbon finding the back of the net on a power-play opportunity just 36 seconds into the frame. Less than four minutes later, McKibbon netted her second of the game, this time on a short-handed attempt.
With the offense finally seeing results, the Badgers quickly shot out to a four-goal lead, thanks to additional tallies from Annie Pankowski and Sam Cogan. Wisconsin recorded 21 shots on goal in the frame, once again outshooting Minnesota State, who tallied five shots, by a wide margin.
Wisconsin’s Sam Nurse opened the third frame with a quick power-play goal, finding the back of the net 46 seconds into the period. Through the final 20 minutes, the Badgers netted two more goals, the first by Abby Roque and the final short-hander earned by Cogan.
In their statement 7-0 victory, Wisconsin outshot the Mavericks 45 to 15 and successfully defended against eight power-play opportunities by Minnesota State. Goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens earned her 14th shutout of the season with 15 stops.
As the top seed, the Badgers will meet the lowest-remaining seed on home ice next Saturday while Minnesota State finishes their season.
[divider]DEFENSE OF THE WEEK: Merrimack[divider]
Against the nation’s sixth-ranked team in Boston College, Merrimack very nearly forced a third game in the first round of the Hockey East Tournament.
Merrimack netminder Samantha Ridgewell was by far the best player on the ice for her team in the contest, making 46 stops as she attempted to backstop her team to an upset win over Hockey East’s top seed. Ridgewell’s only goal allowed came midway through the first period, when defenseman Megan Keller found the back of the net.
Through the rest of the game, neither team managed to score again, though both had plenty of chances. Ridgewell successfully fought off 31 shots in the final two periods, with 16 saves coming in the third alone.
At the other end of the ice, Eagles netminder Katie Burt racked up 28 stops for her seventh shutout of the season and her second in as many games.
With the 1-0 win, Boston College swept Merrimack and advance to the next round of the conference tournament.
[divider]UPSET OF THE WEEK: Bemidji State over Minnesota[divider]
Bemidji State shocked fourth-ranked Minnesota on Saturday by forcing a third game in their WCHA Tournament opening series. After dropping game one to the Golden Gophers, the Beavers fought back to grab a 2-1 victory in the second contest.
In the opening frame, Bemidji climbed out to an early lead after Summer Thibodeau found the back of the net at the 6:15 mark. The goal served as the lone score in the first period as the Beavers outshot their competition by an 11-6 margin.
Through much of the second frame, neither team scored, though both had plenty of chances. Finally, with less than 30 seconds left before intermission, Minnesota’s Sarah Potomak lit the lamp on a short-handed attempt to bring her team back to even.
Entering the final period tied at 1-1, Bemidji’s offense put its foot on the gas, and finally netted the game-winner just past the midway point of the third frame. Ciscely Nelson earned credit for the tally as her team grabbed the 2-1 win.
Netminder Brittni Mowat was close to perfect in the crucial victory, making 33 saves with 11 stops in each period and allowing just a single goal. Minnesota’s Sidney Peters made 21 stops and allowed two goals in the contest.
The series will be decided later today, with the winner moving on to face a new opponent next week.
[divider]GAME OF THE WEEK: Quinnipiac at Princeton[divider]
Courtesy Quinnipiac University Athletics[/credit]
60 minutes weren’t enough to establish a winner in tenth-ranked Quinnipiac’s visit to eighth-ranked Princeton in the first round of the ECAC Tournament. 90 minutes weren’t enough either. In fact, it took 106 minutes for the game to finally come to a resolution.
After a scoreless opening frame, the Tigers grabbed a quick lead in the second period, tallying the game’s first goal at the 4:44 mark with Carly Bullock’s 20th lamplighter of the season. Just over ten minutes passed before her teammate Kelsey Koelzer found the back of the net to lift Princeton to a 2-0 lead to enter intermission.
In the third, Quinnipiac netted a pair of goals in 49 seconds to bring the score back to even. Meghan Turner tallied her team’s first goal less than two minutes into the frame, while Raquel Pennoyer notched the game-tying mark soon after.
From there, despite both teams’ best efforts, the contest remained knotted up at 2-2.
In the first overtime period, Quinnipiac’s Sydney Rossman recorded 15 crucial saves to keep her team’s hopes alive. At the other end of the ice, Princeton’s netminder Steph Neatby was kept busy as well, making eight saves to force a second overtime.
Rossman made 17 stops in the next overtime, frustrating Princeton’s high-flying offense. Neither team scored once again, and the contest moved into a third overtime.
Finally, after 106 minutes, the Bobcats’ Kate MacKenzie slid the puck past Neatby and won the game for her squad, 3-2.
In total, Rossman recorded a career-high 59 saves in the contest while Neatby had 60, enough to set a program record for most saves in a game. Neatby replaces a record that’s been in place for over 20 years, when Susan Gouchoe made 58 stops in November 1985.
Princeton won the series’ second contest on Saturday, so the teams will meet once again later today to decide who will move on in the ECAC Tournament.