Minnesota Falls in 5-4 Overtime Heartbreaker to No. 1 Wisconsin
Provided by the University of Minnesota
The No. 3/5 University of Minnesota women’s hockey team lost in heartbreaking fashion tonight in the WCHA Championship game. The Gophers fell to Wisconsin 5-4 in overtime. The loss drops the Gophers to 26-9-2. Wisconsin kept its 24-game unbeaten streak intact and are now 34-2-2 on the season.
Minnesota jumped to an early 2-0 lead by the hands of Sarah Erickson. She deflected a Megan Bozek shot to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead at 9:46 in the first. Erickson then scored her second of the period at 15:38, also in the first. Erickson rang a shot off the pipe. It hit Wisconsin goalie Alex Rigsby’s back and bounced off. Rigsby tried to stop it before it crossed the line, but the puck trickled past for her 20th goal of the year.
Sarah Davis added her 11th goal of the season when she went high at 10:50 in second period. Kelly Terry made a great feed to Davis along the boards and she went back and forth from forehand to backhand and released a shot high for the goal. Brianna Decker scored at 14:34 to put the game at 3-1 when she scored her 33rd goal of the year on a power-play attempt. Meghan Duggan put the game at 3-2 when she scored at 15:12 in the second. Knight fed Duggan the puck from the backboard and she was coming through the slot undetected. Jen Schoullis scored at 18:13 in the second to put the game at 4-2 when she capitalized on an Amanda Kessel feed.
Wisconsin came back in the third to tie the game and send it into overtime. Madison Packer scored an even strength goal at 13:38. Duggan netted her second goal of the game when she scored at 15:45 in the third period to tie the game.
Into the overtime, Minnesota had a power-play opportunity when Brianna Decker went into the box for a hold. The Gophers had one of its two shots on goal during that time, but Wisconsin came out of the gate with 12 shots on goal. Kelly Nash used a screen in front of Raty to score her third goal of the season and the game-winning goal.
Although allowing five goals, Raty had a great game. She had 10 saves in the first, 14 in the second, 16 in the third and 11 in the overtime to produce a career-high 51 saves. Her previous best also came against Wisconsin in a 2-2 tie game, Jan. 29 at the Kohl Center. The 51-save performance also tied a school record. Former Gopher Erica Killewald had 51 saves in the 2-2 tie against Minnesota Duluth, Feb. 12, 2000.
Making the all-tournament team were Minnesota’s Raty, Kessel and Bozek, while Wisconsin’s Nash, Geena Prough, and Duggan also earned the honors. Wisconsin’s Briana Decker was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Minnesota will wait to see who it will play in the NCAA regional next weekend. The Gophers are currently in a three-way tie for fifth overall in the PairWise standings. The announcement will be made on NCAA.com at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow.