NCAA Women’s Hockey: Frozen Four Edition

#1 Minnesota (39-0-0) vs. #4 Boston College (27-6-3)

Friday, March 22nd at 6:00 PM E.T.

The game can be viewed live through NCAA.com.

Season series: N/A, did not face each other

It took three overtimes, but Minnesota managed to keep their bid for a perfect season alive in the quarterfinals against North Dakota. Junior forward Kelly Terry scored for the Gophers with 1:09 remaining in the sixth frame of the overtime thriller to give her team a 3-2 win. It was a very entertaining, back-and-forth match-up with great displays of goaltending on both sides.

Boston College earned their ticket to the Frozen Four with a 3-1 victory over Harvard. The Eagles got a few lucky bounces, specifically on Caitlin Walsh’s game-winner. But they did a good job of limiting Harvard’s top forwards for most of the game, and Corinne Boyles was very good in net when the Crimson really started to put on pressure in the third period.

Minnesota Keys to the Game: Get pucks deep and pin the Boston College defenders in their own zone. The Gophers definitely have an advantage depth-wise, but they still need to be wary of the Eagles’ skill up front. If their best players get grade A chances, they’ll definitely find a way to score. Minnesota will also want to disrupt Boston College’s confidence as much as possible, and they can do that by dominating play in all three zones.

Boston College Keys to the Game: If the Eagles want to succeed where every other Minnesota opponent has failed this year, they’re going to need to be very opportunistic and cash in on their chances. They can’t afford to be too unlucky. Boston College also needs to win the neutral zone, to prevent the Gophers from getting too much going in transition. That will also help them start their own offensive push. Finally, the Eagles definitely seemed to relax a little against Harvard with the lead in the third period, and they cannot let that happen against the Gophers.

Key Players for Minnesota

  • Kelly Terry, F: She netted the game-winner in triple overtime for the Gophers last weekend, and although she is mostly a secondary scorer, she has been almost a point-per-game player over the course of the year. She’s one reason why Minnesota’s offense is so deep.
  • Rachael Bona, F: She really showed her strengths against North Dakota in the quarterfinals; she’s speedy and tenacious, and just always seems to be buzzing around the puck. That makes her an extremely valuable player for the Gophers.

Key Players for Boston College

  • Corinne Boyles, G: She was stellar last weekend against Harvard and she needs to turn in the same kind of performance this weekend if the Eagles hope to advance.
  • Haley Skarupa, F: The freshman phenom scored in the quarterfinals to tie the game at 1, giving her 24 goals and 51 points on the year. Few rookies have the game-changing abilities that she’s already displayed many times, and she’ll definitely be counted on to help the Eagles’ offense this weekend.

#3 Boston University (27-5-3) vs. Mercyhurst (29-6-1)

Friday, March 22nd at 9:00 PM E.T.

The game can be viewed live through NCAA.com.

Season series: N/A, did not face each other

Boston University advanced to the Frozen Four with a 5-3 win over Clarkson. It was a pretty crazy quarterfinal game between the two, with the Terriers jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the third period after scoring two goals in 26 seconds. The Golden Knights netted the next two goals of the game, though, to cut the BU lead to one with about five minutes left. But Boston University was able to seal the deal and move on after a pretty convincing effort on the whole.

Mercyhurst punched their ticket to Minneapolis after upsetting #2 seed Cornell on the road, winning 4-3 in overtime. The contest had a very exciting end to regulation; the Lakers took a 3-2 lead with just 1:13 left, but the Big Red scored just seconds later to knot things up again. It was a great effort on Mercyhurst’s part to stick with it the entire game.

Boston University Keys to the Game: The Lakers will definitely be playing with a chip on their shoulder, so the Terriers have got to be wary of their potential nothing-to-lose attitude at any point in the game. BU did a good job of establishing their offense against a very good defensive team in the Golden Knights, so they’ll look to do the same this weekend. Mercyhurst has obviously got some players who can put the puck in the net, so it’s important for the Terriers to make sure they’ve got things tightened up defensively.

Mercyhurst Keys to the Game: The Lakers will have a lot of confidence heading into this match-up after their upset win against Cornell, and they’ll want to use that to their advantage by building momentum right off the bat against Boston University. They’ll probably need to win the special teams battle; it’ll be huge for them if they can shut down the Terriers’ power play and score a few power play goals of their own.

Key Players for Boston University

  • Marie-Philip Poulin, F: If she’s on her game (and there’s a very good chance that she will be), she’ll be the most dangerous player on the ice on Friday night. She’s got great vision and play-making abilities, and will be huge for the Terriers’ success this weekend.
  • Kerrin Sperry, G: She will have the biggest impact on whether or not Boston University is able to crush the Lakers’ confidence. She needs to make a few game-changing saves to prevent Mercyhurst from earning another upset win.

Key Players for Mercyhurst

  • Stephanie DeSutter, D: She scored a goal last week and has really come into her own this year, tallying 17 points from the blue line. She was impressive in both ends of the rink against Cornell and if she can put in that kind of performance again, it will really bolster the Lakers’ chances.
  • Christine Bestland, F: She wasn’t able to net any goals against the Big Red and although other players were able to step up and score, it would be great for Mercyhurst if she can produce this weekend.

Gabriella Fundaro

Gabriella Fundaro

Gabriella is now in her third season of covering NCAA and international women's hockey for The Hockey Writers. She is the founding editor of At Even Strength, a website dedicated to providing full-time coverage and analysis of women's hockey. She is currently working towards a degree in Communication at the University of North Dakota, and is also interning with UND Athletic Media Relations. She can be reached on Twitter (@gabfun) or via e-mail (gfundaro10 [at] gmail [dot] com).
Gabriella Fundaro
#tbt that time we celebrated one holiday by dressing up as other holidays http://t.co/mQf5r6S99x - 12 mins ago

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