Nicole Schammel scored two goals as the No. 1 Gophers defeated Minnesota Duluth 4-1 on Saturday afternoon in the WCHA Women's Final Faceoff semifinals at Ridder Arena before an announced crowd of 2,611.
The Gophers will play the winner of the second game, either Wisconsin or Ohio State, at 2 p.m. Sunday in the championship game.
Schammel's first goal, in the seventh minute of the second period, broke a 1-all tie. She also scored an empty-net goal with 2:29 left in the third. She has 14 goals this season.
"Going into this game, we knew we wanted to have relentless pressure on the puck," Schammel said. "Having a weekend off, we really got our legs underneath us and came in fresh. We were just moving our feet and pressuring the puck the best we could."
The Gophers (30-4-1) badly outshot the Bulldogs, 44-9. But goals, not shots, matter most. So the first period ended in a 1-1 tie despite Minnesota's 17-1 dominance in shots.
Gabbie Hughes gave UMD (15-16-4) a 1-0 lead at 7:20; it was her 19th goal. Gophers captain Kelly Pannek tied it at 12:48.
"We knew we wanted to get one before the end of the period," Pannek said of giving up the first goal of the game. "Obviously, we felt really confident in how we were playing up to that point and if we wouldn't have gotten that goal, we would have tried to get one in the second.
" More than anything, it was just knowing we had to score one to win the game in general — and then when they scored the first one, it was just getting it back."
The Gophers scored twice in the second period — when they had a 11-3 shot edge. Schammel, a redshirt senior from Red Wing, got the first goal and Grace Zumwinkle added a power-play goal with 4:04 left.
Alex Gulstene had eight saves for the Gophers. UMD's Maddie Rooney, the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic goalie, had 40.
Minnesota was 1-for-3 on the power play while holding the Bulldogs scoreless on their lone opportunity with the skater advantage.