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Minnesota and Wisconsin advance to the national title game

Another Border Battle is on deck for the 2019 NCAA Championship

Senior Annie Pankowski scored two goals against Clarkson in the Frozen Four semifinals to help Wisconsin advance to the national title game against Minnesota.
Tom Lynn

We’re down to just two teams left in Division I women’s college hockey: Wisconsin and Minnesota, who have been ranked number one and number two for most of the 2018-19 season.

The Badgers and Gophers will play each other in the national championship game at the Frozen Four in Hamden, Conn. If you want to watch these two powerhouses duke it out, tune into the Big Ten Network at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Here’s how each team advanced through the Frozen Four semifinals:

Minnesota 2, Cornell 0

Though this one was a low-scoring game, it was definitely hard-fought, and both teams had some good chances in a scoreless opening period. Cornell earned the game’s first power play as the period was winding down and had two great looks at the back door, but the Big Red couldn’t connect on either.

Momentum shifted to the Gophers’ favor in the second period, and they eventually capitalized on their own power play a little past the 12-minute mark. Minnesota had numbers in front, and Nicole Schammel buried a rebound give her team a 1-0 lead. The Gophers outshot Cornell 12-3 in that middle frame, but couldn’t get more than one past Marlène Boissonnault.

Cornell opened the third period with some strong pressure of their own. Their top line of Amy Curlew, Kristin O’Neill, and Maddie Mills generated plenty of quality chances, but Minnesota goaltender Alex Gulstene and the Gopher defense turned them away. With Boissonnault out of the net for Cornell, Sarah Potomak buried an empty-netter on a great shot from her own blue line with 33 seconds left in the game to seal it for Minnesota.

Wisconsin 5, Clarkson 0

The score in this one wasn’t super indicative of how tight the game was for a while, but it does paint a pretty clear picture of how Wisconsin sat in the driver’s seat for most of this one. They held possession for good lengths of time and made it difficult for Clarkson to break out of their zone. The Golden Knights had some really good chances of their own, but couldn’t find a way to bury one.

Just like the first game at the Frozen Four, the first period between Wisconsin and Clarkson ended up scoreless, though each time had some grade-A opportunities. At about the halfway mark of the second period, Abby Roque got the Badgers on the board first, just burying a one-timed shot from between the hashmarks off a feed from Britta Curl.

Clarkson had a couple of opportunities on the power play to tie it, but the Badgers penalty kill was excellent, killing off all four power-play chances and holding the Golden Knights to just three shots with the player advantage. It was still a tight game in the third period, but a wacky bounce helped shifted the momentum squarely back to the Badgers. Sam Cogan centered the puck from behind Clarkson’s net and it went off the goaltender, the defender, and in for a 2-0 Wisconsin lead.

The Badgers broke the game open after that. Annie Pankowski moved in on a partial break and scored on a power move while falling to her knees, and then added an empty-netter for a 4-0 lead. Presley Norby then scored in the final minute on a rebound to bump the score to 5-0.