Minnesota women assigned rematch with North Dakota in first round

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 11, 2013 - 7:13 AM

After five victories over North Dakota this season, the Minnesota women's hockey team will need another to keep moving toward a national championship.

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Gophers women's hockey players celebrate a goal, which turned out to be disallowed, during Saturday's WCHA Final Faceoff victory over North Dakota. The Gophers won 2-0 and the teams play again Saturday in the NCAA quarterfinals.

The Gophers women’s hockey team is 5-0 this season against North Dakota. To reach the Frozen Four, Minnesota will have to make it 6-0.

One day after defeating North Dakota for the WCHA playoff championship, the Gophers learned they were getting another rematch.

Minnesota (38-0) drew the No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament and will play host to No. 8 North Dakota (26-11-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday, at Ridder Arena.

The winner advances to the Frozen Four the following weekend, also at Ridder Arena.

“They’ve got some world-class players and they’re well-coached, and they’re a hungry team that wants to get to the Frozen Four just as badly as we do,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “It’s going to come down to who executes and who’s going to play better on Saturday.”

Frost said his staff has been anticipating an NCAA quarterfinal against either North Dakota or Wisconsin for about two months. Wisconsin didn’t make the eight-team field after losing to North Dakota in the WCHA semifinals.

North Dakota handed Minnesota its last loss, on Feb. 17, 2012, and since then, the Gophers have reeled off a 46-game winning streak. In the five games this year, the Gophers have outscored North Dakota 23-9, including 2-0 in Saturday’s conference championship.

“They have two of the best forwards in the country, but we know how to beat them,” Gophers captain Megan Bozek said. “If we continue to play like we’ve been playing, I’m not too worried.”

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