Is the hard part over for the Gophers’ women’s hockey team?
It took three overtimes Saturday, but Minnesota defeated North Dakota 3-2 in the NCAA quarterfinals, becoming the only WCHA team to reach the Frozen Four this season.
Since the NCAA began sanctioning a women’s ice hockey championship in 2001, a WCHA team has won it every year. Minnesota-Duluth has won five national titles, Wisconsin four and the Gophers three.
Minnesota (39-0) won last year’s NCAA title and owns a 47-game winning streak. Friday brings a semifinal matchup with Boston College (27-6-3) for the Gophers.
That game will start Friday at 5 p.m. at Ridder Arena, Minnesota’s home rink, with the other semifinal — Boston University vs. Mercyhurst — following at 8 p.m. The championship game is 3 p.m. Sunday.
The Gophers lost 4-1 to Boston College in the 2011 NCAA semifinals, but the teams haven’t met since.
“A couple of our classes remember that pasting pretty good,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “But it’s a new team. It’s going to be a real exciting game. They’re a real offensive, fast team, and they get up and down the rink, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The Gophers survived Saturday’s marathon despite losing freshman defenseman Milica McMillen to a checking-from-behind game misconduct in the second period and senior co-captain Bethany Brausen being limited to one period because of an unspecified injury.
“Any time we can have a little adversity — we haven’t had a ton of it,” Frost said. “All these things, when you come out stronger, are huge benefits through the year.”