NCAA Tournament Recap: On to the Frozen Four
The first round of the NCAA tournament is officially over yes, there were some big surprises.
The four teams who will advance to the Frozen Four next week in Minneapolis are officially set.
And then there were FOUR!#SeeYouinMinneapolis pic.twitter.com/DugIb4sQYr— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) March 11, 2018
Wisconsin, Clarkson, Colgate and OSU will battle for the national championship after each advancing out of their respective quarterfinals. Here’s how all the games went down on Saturday:
Ohio State University 2, Boston College 0
If it was a shock when Boston College was taken to overtime in the Beanpot, it was a stunner when they lost the Hockey East conference tournament, and to be taken out by UConn was a complete surprise. It was expected that the Eagles would come out with a chip on their shoulder after the upset, easily dispatching OSU en route to a Frozen Four appearance.
Instead, OSU came out and kept BC on their heels for the first 40 minutes, shutting out the Eagles and punching their ticket to their first ever Frozen Four appearance...in their first ever national tournament.
After both teams took a few minutes to find their footing, the game went into the first intermission scoreless. But it was Lauren Boyle who put the Buckeyes in front with a power play goal that she ripped past BC goaltender Katie Burt.
BC poured it on the the third period, firing 23 shots at OSU goaltender Kassidy Sauvè, who stopped them all. With just over four minutes to go, the Buckeyes doubled their lead; Maddy Field shot a puck at Burt and then managed to sneak the rebound past her.
This was OSU’s first ever bid to the national tournament, and now they’ll make their first appearance in the Frozen Four, facing off against...the defending national champions. Welp.
Clarkson 2, Mercyhurst 1 (OT)
Everybody expected Clarkson to walk all over Mercyhurst. The defending national champions have looked solid all season, and the fact that Mercyhurst was in the tournament at all was a surprise; they upset the nationally ranked Robert Morris University in the CHA conference tournament.
So the fact that the Lakers went into the third period clinging to a 1-0 lead was absolutely bonkers. If OSU upsetting BC was wild, Mercyhurst bringing down Clarkson would have broken the internet.
With just 21 seconds left in the second period, Mercyhurst struck first on a goal from Brooke Hartwick, with assists going to Molly Blasen and Emma Nuutinen (Nuutinen recently returned to the team after winning an Olympic bronze medal with Team Finland).
Five and a half minutes into the third period, Clarkson tied things up thanks to Michaela Pejzlova on a power play blast.
Overtime seemed to stretch forever, but finally Elizabeth Giguere ended things, sending the Golden Knights back to the Frozen Four to defend their title.
GAMEWINNER! @CUknights freshman sensation @EliGiguere11 scores at 16:52 of OT to lift Knights to 2-1 victory over Mercyhurst in @NCAAIceHockey quarterfinal game @ClarksonUniv Cheel Arena. On to the FROZEN FOUR!!!! pic.twitter.com/fiPqZGTDB5— ClarksonAthletics (@ClarksonUSports) March 10, 2018
Wisconsin 4, Minnesota 0
In the border battle between Minnesota and Wisconsin, things were a little interesting heading into the matchup. Though Wisconsin was the clear favorite, the Gophers had upset the Badgers to earn the WCHA conference title and a spot in the national championship.
Wisconsin wasn’t about to let another upset happen again, and shut out Minnesota decisively. Presley Norby got the Badgers on the board first on a bit of a strange play, picking up a rebound left in the slot by Minnesota netminder Sidney Peters.
🚨GOOOOOOAAAALLLL🚨@BadgerWHockey strikes first and takes a 1-0 lead (9:52 left 1P) over Minnesota at LaBahn Arena! #OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/XzHR2eQhZF— Wisconsin Badgers (@UWBadgers) March 10, 2018
In the second frame, Abby Roque put the game a bit further out of reach for the Gophers when she scored two goals in 16 seconds, the fastest consecutive goals in the tournament’s history.
Some pretty big names on this list that #Badgers center Abby Roque now leads with goals 16 seconds apart. pic.twitter.com/nJ4wlUp7Im— Todd Milewski (@ToddMilewski) March 10, 2018
Claudia Kepler capped off the scoring for Wisconsin with the team’s fourth goal...assisted, of course, by Roque.
Kristin Campbell made 12 saves for the Badgers in the shutout win.
Colgate 3, Northeastern 1
Wisconsin will face Colgate, who knocked off Northeastern in a tight contest.
After another scoreless first period, the Raiders opened the scoring with a goal from Breanne Wilson-Bennett, who picked up a rebound lying behind Northeastern goalie Aerin Frankel.
Less than two minutes later, Northeastern quickly evened things up when Andrea Renner beat Colgate netminder Julia Vandyk. Both teams went into the second intermission with a goal apiece and a trip to the finals on the line.
In the third period, it was Colgate who broke the tie when Olivia Zafuto zipped down the slot and wristed a puck past Frankel.
OZ, you're a wizard pic.twitter.com/cuhw5iXTNR— Colgate W Hockey (@ColgateWIH) March 10, 2018
Bailey Larson picked up the empty net goal to seal the 3-1 victory.
The Frozen Four will be in Minneapolis; both semifinal games will be on March 16 at Ridder Arena, and the championship game will be on March 18.