Gophers Win Third Straight Final Face-off
BEMIDJI, Minn. – The No. 1 ranked Minnesota women's hockey team scored two power-play goals in the second period and added an empty-netter in the third to secure a 3-1 win over No. 3 seed North Dakota and claim its third-straight WCHA Final Face-off title Saturday night.
Junior Rachel Ramsey and freshman Dani Cameranesi led the Gophers with two points each on one goal and one assist. Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille and senior Kelly Terry joined Ramsey and Cameranesi on the WCHA Final Face-off All-Tournament Team. Ramsey was named the Final Face-off Most Valuable Player as well.
Minnesota (36-1-1) finished two-for-three on the power-play and outshot North Dakota, 44-21, en route to its sixth WCHA postseason title. Leveille finished with 20 saves, while UND's Shelby Amsley-Benzie kept the game tight with 41 saves.
North Dakota (20-11-4) took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Josefine Jakobsen at 2:45 of the second period after the teams played a scoreless first period. However, Minnesota answered with two second-period goals to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission before sealing the victory with an empty-net goal late in the third.
Minnesota outshot UND 13-10 in the third period but could not extend its lead until North Dakota pulled Amsley-Benzie with 1:30 remaining.
With the victory, the Gophers earn the league's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The rest of the eight-team tournament field will be announced live on NCAA.com at 5 p.m. CT on Sunday.
The NCAA first round is set for March 14-15, and the 2014 NCAA Women's Frozen Four is March 21-23 in Hamden, Conn. If the Gophers host a game, it is expected to be scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, March 15 at Ridder Arena.