A veteran quartet
We’re down to four teams, and those four are an accomplished bunch. A week from now, these senior classes will have concluded their careers by collectively playing in 12 Frozen Fours. These programs have also combined to win the last five NCAA Championships. Yes, this will be all new for the freshmen, but even they get a boost by looking around the locker room and seeing all the teammates that know exactly what this stage means.
Boston College two notches from history
While all four squads are playing to earn a national title, BC can add the cachet of being the second club to place that NCAA crown atop a perfect season. If the selection committee did the Eagles a disservice by serving them a fifth game versus Northeastern, that wasn’t in evidence on Saturday as they breezed to a 5-1 victory, their 39th straight. Alex Carpenter got her team off to a flying start with just 50 seconds gone and added a late empty-netter, Tori Sullivan also scored twice, and Haley Skarupa was all over the score sheet with a goal and three assists. Katie Burt made 21 saves, surrendering only a late consolation goal to Kendall Coyne.
That gave Coyne 50 goals on the season and 141 in her career, fourth in NCAA history. She becomes just the second player to reach 50 in an NCAA campaign; Harvard’s Nicole Corriero had 59 in 2004-05.
Clarkson gets scoring out of the way early
Senior defenseman Renata Fast scored the quickest goal to open an NCAA tournament game, needing just 10 seconds to record the only goal in Clarkson’s 1-0 defeat of host Quinnipiac. The Golden Knights got revenge on the Bobcats after falling to them by a reversed 1-0 score six days earlier in the title game of the ECAC Hockey tourney. Fast’s unassisted tally was the only one of Clarkson’s 29 shots to elude Quinnipiac goaltender Sydney Rossman, while Shea Tiley stopped all 14 shots she faced.
Clarkson will meet Boston College in the NCAA tournament for the third straight season. The two teams traded 3-1 quarterfinal decisions the last two years, with the Eagles winning 12 months ago.
Minnesota advances despite early scare
Princeton’s Jaimie McDonell continued the trend of first-minute goals, gaining the Tigers a lead with just 29 seconds played, but Amanda Kessel scored a hat trick as the Gophers rallied for a 6-2 win. Minnesota’s power play clicked on both of its opportunities, its penalty kill added a short-handed goal to give the Gophers a 3-1 lead at the first intermission, and three even-strength goals in the middle stanza put the game away. Amanda Leveille made 25 saves to record the 96th win of her career, six of which came in the NCAA tournament.
Wisconsin blanks another victim
Ann-Renée Desbiens registered her fifth-straight shutout of Wisconsin’s postseason, giving her 21 on the season, as the Badgers dispatched Mercyhurst, 6-0. Desbiens denied all 22 shots from the Lakers, while six different Badgers were hitting the twine, two in each period. Sarah Nurse had one of the goals and assisted twice. Sydney McKibbon scored the eighth short-handed goal for the nation’s best penalty kill.
Wisconsin advances to face a familiar opponent in WCHA foe Minnesota. The Badgers own a 3-2 advantage in the five games played this year, after the Gophers dumped them in Frozen Four semifinals in each of the last two seasons.