NCAA women's Frozen Four preview

  • Updated: March 16, 2012 - 1:52 AM

NCAA WOMEN'S FROZEN FOUR

Friday: Wisconsin vs. Boston College, 5 p.m.; Gophers vs. Cornell, 8 p.m.

Sunday: Championship game, 3 p.m.

Where: Amsoil Arena, Duluth

TV/radio: A free video webcast is available at ncaa.com. The Gophers' website, gophersports.com, will have free radio broadcasts and live blogs from their games.

Previous champions: WCHA teams have won all 11 NCAA titles: Minnesota Duluth (five), Wisconsin (four) and the Gophers (two). Wisconsin is the defending champion.

Wisconsin at a glance: Senior forward Hilary Knight, a mainstay on the U.S. national team and one of the greatest players in Badgers history, is particularly driven to bring top-ranked Wisconsin (32-4-2) its fifth title in seven years. She scored the game-winner in last week's NCAA quarterfinal against Mercyhurst, giving her 259 points -- the most in Badgers history, and the fourth-highest career total in NCAA Division I. The Badgers have gone 9-1 in the NCAA tournament since she joined the program in 2008-09. ... Sophomore goaltender Alex Rigsby leads the nation with a save percentage of .952 and has nine shutouts.

Boston College at a glance: The fourth-ranked Eagles (24-9-3) have a 3-3 record in the NCAA tournament and are the only team in the Frozen Four that has not played in the championship game. They have made it to the semifinals twice -- including last year, when Wisconsin scored the winning goal with 48 seconds left. They are 0-4 against the Badgers; this season, they have an 8-4-2 record against ranked teams. Freshman phenom Alex Carpenter, BC's leading scorer with 20 goals and 18 assists, is the daughter of former NHL All-Star Bobby Carpenter. There are two Minnesotans on the roster: seniors Danielle Welch of Hastings, whose 42 career goals are the most of any player on the team, and Andrea Green of Chanhassen.

Cornell at a glance: A superb senior class has helped reshape the program at Cornell (30-4), which is in the Frozen Four for the third consecutive year. The third-ranked Big Red won the ECAC regular-season title for the third year in a row, then outlasted Boston University 8-7 in three overtimes in the NCAA quarterfinals. Senior forwards Rebecca Johnston (188 points), Catherine White (167) and Chelsea Karpenko (133) are all among the top 10 scorers in Big Red history, and Amanda Mazzotta's 53 career victories rank first among Cornell goaltenders. The Big Red leads the nation with 4.71 goals per game.

Gophers at a glance: Two weeks ago, the Gophers (32-5-2) won the WCHA conference tournament for the first time since 2005. They are hoping that could be an omen, since their last NCAA championship also came in 2005. They are the only team in the Frozen Four that won its conference tournament. The second-ranked Gophers have given up just four goals in their past six games, and in the WCHA tournament, they shut out North Dakota in the semifinals and Minnesota Duluth in the finals. Goaltender Noora Raty leads the nation with 10 shutouts this season and a goals-against average of 1.34. She has combined with her teammates to give up only 51 goals this season, the fewest in Division I.

RACHEL BLOUNT

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