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NCAA Women’s Tournament: Duluth Can’t Get A Bounce as Minnesota Returns to Frozen Four

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In a tight back-and-forth game that seemed destined to come down to a single bounce, the home University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs couldn’t get the goal they needed to answer Patti Marshall’s third period, and the sixth-seeded University of Minnesota upset the third-seeded Bulldogs 1-0 at Amsoil Arena to advance to next weekend’s Frozen Four in St. Charles, Missouri.

Minnesota Duluth’s Maddie Rooney and Minnesota’s Sidney Peters shined in goal, stopping 28 and 25 shots respectively. In the game’s deciding sequence, Peters made made a sliding pad save to rob UMD’s Katerina Mrazova off a backdoor pass from Ashleigh Brykaliuk. Minnesota answered back shortly after with a backdoor pass of their own from leading scorer Kelly Pannek that found freshman defenseman Patti Marshall just inside the right circle for the goal.

On the ensuing shift, UMD’s Sidney Morin thought she had answered back when she got a clear look at the net with a wrist shot from just above the top of the circles, but she was robbed with an amazing glove save by Peters.

That capped off an afternoon of frustration for the UMD offense, which included she shots that hit off the pipe, that kept the Bulldogs from returning to the Frozen Four for the first time since 2010.

The win advances Minnesota to the Frozen Four for the sixth consecutive season, despite an up-and-down year by the program’s own lofty standards, and a chance at a fifth national championship in six years. They’ll face the one team to defeat them in the NCAA tournament over the past six years in Clarkson in the Frozen Four semifinals.

-Notes and Thoughts

-Minnesota Duluth had a lot of success early by clogging up the neutral zone, and Minnesota’s defense really struggled to move the puck through. The Bulldogs forced a lot of turnovers and icings, giving them a huge edge in possession, but they weren’t able to generate a lot of great chances off of it.

-As the game progressed, Minnesota started generating a lot more pressure in the UMD zone, however, especially with the first line of Potomak-Pannek-Cameranesi. They were able to establish position in the offensive zone, and did a great job of spreading the ice and moving the puck around to create opportunities. Maddie Rooney was brilliant in goal, especially in the second period when the Gophers were able to get a lot of pucks and bodies into her crease, but it felt like a matter of time before that first line capitalized.

-I mentioned the three pipes that Duluth hit, but none were more heartbreaking than the one in the second period when Mrazova caught a nice stretch pass for a breakaway, and her turning backhand shot hit the cross bar.

Fancy Stats

Shots on goal: UMD: 4-10-11-25 MINN: 11-11-7-29

Even strength shot attempts: UMD: 14-14-17-45 MINN: 17-25-14-56

Prime scoring area attempts: UMD: 6-9-6-21 MINN: 10-12-6-28

What do the numbers tell us?

It was a very close game, with a slight edge in pressure going to Minnesota. The Gophers were able to get pucks to the front of the net at a better rate than UMD and had more chances to get the decisive goal.

Final Scoring

First Period

None

Second Period

None

Third Period

7:54 Patti Marshall from Kelly Pannek and Sarah Potomak 1-0 Minnesota

Pannek had the puck near the left half boards and made a great cross-ice pass to Marshall, who had snuck down from the right point, and Marshall’s quick shot was able to get through before Rooney was able to slide across and stop it.