Once again, Minnesota is two wins away from a women's hockey national championship.
Senior forward Kelly Terry scored three goals Saturday afternoon for her third career hat trick and sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille made 28 saves as the Gophers defeated Boston University 5-1 in an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal. Rachel Ramsey and Maryanne Menefee also recorded goals for Minnesota (37-1-1), which advances to its third straight Frozen Four.
"I thought we played real well tonight, attempted a lot of shots and maintained a lot of possession, but BU was a real good opponent. The first line in particular caused us fits early on," Minnesota head coach Brad Frost said. "Their goaltender played really well, but we're excited to be advancing to the Frozen Four."
"32 goals is a fantastic year," said Terriers head coach Brian Durocher. "There was a lot of question marks without Miss Poulin as her center and Janelle Kohanchuk, another national team kid, on her right wing, and Sarah certainly ended that speculation and had a fantastic year this year.
"She always got the big goal and today it got us back in the hockey game."
The Terriers kept the game close despite killing three penalties in the first period. According to Durocher, BU did a better job staying in lanes and making it difficult for the Gophers to get to the net rather than be all-out aggressive.
"Today we did a good job," he said about the PK, which Frost called one of the better ones Minnesota had seen this season. "They could have gotten away from us when it was 4, 5-1 in penalties, but the kids kept it at bay."
"You always have to get one on the 5x3," she said. "It could be 5-0 and you still want to get one because it's just that opportunity, being up two men."
Minnesota pulled away in the third with a trio of goals. Terry had the first two in the opening 7:56, including the speedy senior going top shelf on Sperry, who made 41 saves in a losing effort. That highlight-reel goal brought hats on the ice while giving the Gophers breathing room.
"Anybody who walks into the building notices Kelly Terry the second she walks on the ice. You have to make sure you're watching because she's so fast," said Frost about Terry, whose line spent most of the game trying to shut down Lefort, 27 goal scorer Louise Warren and Samantha Sutherland.
"Relentless offensively, relentless defensively, always on the puck, our best penalty killer."
Menefee added the dagger with 7:09 remaining when she was sprung free by Patty Kazmaier finalist Hannah Brandt.
With the win, Minnesota plays the winner of Harvard/Wisconsin. (Mercyhurst and Clarkson also advanced.) Regardless of who advances, the Gophers don't mind.
"We know Wisconsin a lot better than we know Harvard, but that will be a great game there tonight. The last couple years to get to the Frozen Four, we've played North Dakota 6 times each," he said. "So it doesn't matter who we play."
-Minnesota senior defenseman Baylee Gillanders left the game midway through the first after hobbling off the ice. She returned to begin the second, later setting up Terry's second goal.
-Ramsey on being without her normal D partner Gillanders: "It's a little terrifying for me to lose my D partner. Baylee is fantastic, really is such a great leader for us defensemen on and off the ice so that when she's missing from the bench it's definitely noticed. Everybody did a really great job stepping up and filling in her shoes; especially our younger defensemen.
"I know she was hurting there, but I expect her to be fully recovered for next weekend and she's not going to miss this last game at home as a senior. It's a special moment for her. She's going to play her heart out and she definitely did."
-Terry on the Gophers seeming to play its best hockey with the stakes raised:"It seems like we only get better when we play tougher opponents so I think that carried over to today."
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate