For the fourth time this season, the two best NCAA Division III women’s hockey teams in Minnesota — St. Thomas and Hamline — will face off. This time, a spot in the national championship game will be at stake.
The top-ranked Tommies and No. 4 Pipers meet in the Division III Frozen Four semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday at St. Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights. St. Thomas (25-1-2) won the MIAC regular-season and tournament titles, earning the Tommies the top seed in the NCAA tournament and the right to host the Frozen Four if they advanced. Hamline (22-3-3) was runner-up to St. Thomas in MIAC play and the conference title game, but the Pipers are the only team to beat the Tommies this season.
Adrian (Mich.) and Plattsburgh (N.Y.) State will meet in Friday’s 3 p.m. semifinal. The championship game is Saturday at 7 p.m.
The Tommies-Pipers semifinal will match teams with contrasting styles. St. Thomas plays a structured defensive system and is allowing only 0.93 goals per game, second nationally to Plattsburgh State’s 0.79. Tommies goalie Kenzie Torpy has a nation-best 13 shutouts, along with a 0.92 goals-against average and .954 save percentage.
Hamline counters with offense. The Pipers are averaging 4.39 goals per game, fourth nationally, and boast the nation’s top scorer in Bre Simon, who has 26 goals and 37 assists for 63 points, which is 13 more than the runner-up, Plattsburgh State’s Annie Katonka. Hamline’s Leah Schwartzman ranks third with 46 points (19 goals, 27 assists).
The teams split the regular-season series, with St. Thomas winning 3-2 on Feb. 15 and Hamline prevailing 3-2 in overtime the next day. The Tommies beat the Pipers 2-0 in the MIAC tournament final on March 2.
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