Nebraska Omaha, Maverick fans will have noticed, has never had a NCAA Division 1 women’s ice hockey program.
Hopefully some of the school’s top brass read this blog over the coming days, though, and start thinking about changing that.
For any readers that don’t know already – see: any of you who haven’t been within earshot of my relentless screams of excitement over the past few weeks – I will be heading to Duluth, Minn. Thursday to cover the 2012 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four for NCAA.com.
From Thursday through to Sunday’s national championship game, I’ll be posting photos from my trip on my professional Facebook page as well as bits and pieces on the games and the players and coaches involved.
The women’s NCAA tournament began on Mar. 10, with all quarterfinal (opening round) games taking place at host campus sites that day. Each game was very exciting, with goals galore – 34 goals were scored in the four games – and, at many points, mastery of the technical aspects of the game that was better than fans often see in men’s college hockey.
Some quick recaps of the four quarterfinal games:
(Video courtesy University of Wisconsin)
Top-ranked Wisconsin punched its ticket to Duluth in a 3-1 quarterfinal win over visiting Mercyhurst at Madison’s Kohl Center. The Lakers didn’t make things easy for the Badgers, and the visitors held UW to a 1-1 tie until past the halfway point of the third period before Badger senior Hilary Knight scored the eventual game-winner with a shorthanded goal at 11:18.
(Video courtesy University of Minnesota)
No. 2 Minnesota experienced a much less turbulent passage into the Frozen Four, casting aside WCHA rival North Dakota 5-1 at the Gophers’ home rink, Ridder Arena. Each goal for the hosts came off the stick of a different Gopher, and Minnesota goaltender and Finland international Noora Raty finished the night with 28 saves.
(Video courtesy Cornell University)
In arguably the game of the tournament thus far, third-seeded Cornell and Boston College essentially played two games at Cornell’s Lynah Rink before BU finally fell 8-7 to the Big Red in triple overtime. Junior defenseman Lauriane Rougeau ended the game with a highlight-reel backhanded goal with ten seconds remaining in the third extra period.
No. 4 Boston College also found save passage in Duluth, besting St. Lawrence 6-3 at BC’s Kelley Rink. Five unanswered goals did the trick for the Eagles, with four BC skaters having multi-point afternoons and goaltender Corinne Boyles making 28 saves.
Wisconsin will play Boston College at Duluth’s Amsoil Arena Friday at 5:00 p.m.. Minnesota and Cornell are set to meet in the evening’s second national semifinal, starting at 8:00.
The final will take place Sunday at 3:00 p.m..