NCAA Women’s Frozen Four
Ridder Arena • Big Ten Network
4 p.m.: Ohio State (24-10-4) vs. Clarkson (34-4-1)
7 p.m.: Wisconsin (31-4-2) vs. Colgate (33-5-1)
2 p.m.: Semifinal winners
Clarkson upset Wisconsin to win last year’s NCAA championship game. Those teams – seeded first and second, respectively -- are perennial powers. But they’ll be challenged by unseeded Ohio State and third-seeded Colgate, two teams that had never before reached the NCAA tournament, let alone the Frozen Four.
Wisconsin knocked the Gophers from the NCAA quarterfinals last week, but local fans will have several Minnesota natives to watch. Ohio State has seven: Charly Dahlquist (Eden Prairie), Maggie Cory (Lino Lakes), Dani Sadek (Lakeville North), Liv Halvorson (Benilde St. Margaret’s), Rebecca Freiburger (Rochester Lourdes), Liz Schepers (Mound Westonka) and McKenna Wesloh (Elk River). Wisconsin has four: Breanna Blesi (Maple Grove), Grace Bowlby (Edina), Presley Norby (Minnetonka), Sophia Shaver (Wayzata) and Mekenzie Steffen (Hill Murray). Clarkson has two: Taylor Turnquist (Spring Lake Park) and Jenna Brenneman (Breck). Colgate has one: Kendall Williamson (Edina).
The Gophers have won four or the past six NCAA titles, but Clarkson has a budding dynasty of its own with two titles in the past four years. The Golden Knights beat Minnesota in the 2014 NCAA championship and again in last year’s Frozen Four semifinals in St. Charles, Mo. Wisconsin has won four NCAA titles but none since 2011.
Several top women’s college hockey players were away from their schools this winter for the Olympics. But this event still has some notable standouts. Clarkson’s Loren Gabel has 74 points in 39 games and is a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award. Wisconsin sophomore Kristen Campbell, a transfer from North Dakota, leads the nation with a 1.13 goals against average. Clarkson senior Shea Tiley (1.25), Colgate junior Julia Vandyk (1.76) and Ohio State junior Kassidy Sauve (1.92) aren’t far behind.
“We’re not going to be the ones … as the fourth-ranked team of the four, sitting back and just bedazzled by all the lights and the press,” Ohio State coach Nadine Muzerall said. “We’re here to win a tournament.”