The Gophers earned the top seed in the eight-team NCAA women’s hockey tournament for the third season in a row and will be host to CHA champion Rochester Institute of Technology a quarterfinal at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ridder Arena.
Ridder also will be host to the Frozen Four, with games on March 20 and 22.
Minnesota (31-3-4) qualified for the tournament for the eighth consecutive year. The Gophers look to make a fourth consecutive appearance in the national championship game, winning two of the past three national titles.
The Gophers, who were upset by Bemidji State in the WCHA semifinals, secured one of four at-large berths to the tournament. WCHA tournament champion and No. 4 seed Wisconsin, Hockey East champion Boston University and ECAC champion and No. 3 seed Harvard joined RIT (15-8-5) in securing automatic berths. No. 2 seed Boston College, Clarkson and Quinnipiac also received at-large berths.
In other quarterfinals, Wisconsin will be host to Boston University, Boston College will host Clarkson and Harvard will be at home against Quinnipiac.
Gophers spin no-hitter
Dalton Sawyer worked the first seven innings of a combined no-hittter for the Gophers, which beat Creighton 9-0 in the first nine-inning no-hitter in Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park history.
Sawyer walked four and hit two batters with pitches, but only allowed one runner to reach third. He struck out five in a career-long outing. Tyler Hanson and Lance Thonvold each pitched one inning.
According to the university, the last Gophers no-hitter came exactly two years ago, on March 8, 2013, when Tom Windle held Western Illinois hitless at the Metrodome.
Minnesota (5-7) scored its runs on 12 hits. Right fielder Matt Fiedler went 3-for-5 with two runs. Left fielder Jordan Smith, shortstop Michael Handel and catcher Matt Halloran each had a pair of hits, and Halloran had three RBI. The Gophers stole three bases.
The Gophers first got on the board when center fielder Alex Boxwell singled with one out in the third, and second baseman Connor Schaefbauer drove him in with a double to left.
Third baseman Tony Skjefte led off the fifth with a triple, and designated hitter Jake Bergren drove him in with a grounder for the second run.
The Gophers batted around in the sixth, scoring five times.