Created: 03/21/2014 8:15 PM KSTP.com
No. 1 Minnesota rallied past No. 3 Wisconsin in a 5-3 come-from-behind win to advance to the 2014 NCAA Women's Frozen Four national championship game at Quinnipiac's High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Sports Center Friday evening.
Minnesota (38-1-1) scored three unanswered goals in the third period, rallying from 3-2 and 1-0 deficits, and sophomore Amanda Leveille (Kingston, Ont.) tied her career-best with 34 saves as Wisconsin (28-8-2) outshot the Gophers, 37-28, for the game.
Sophomore Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) and senior Kelly Terry (Whitby, Ont.) each had two points on one goal and one assist, and freshmanDani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) recorded two assists to lead the Gophers.
Minnesota finished 2-for-3 with the man advantage, and the Gophers held the Badgers scoreless on their lone power-play opportunity.
The Gophers trailed 1-0 after one period and 3-2 after two periods but rallied in the third period with three goals to advance to their third-straight national championship game.
With a 16-7 advantage in shots on goal in the first period, Wisconsin took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Brittany Ammerman scored an unassisted tally at four-on-four with 1:22 remaining in the period, and Leveille kept the game tight with 15 saves in the opening 20 minutes.
Minnesota then took a quick 2-1 lead on second-period goals by Terry and sophomore Maryanne Menefee (Lansing, Mich). Terry put the Gophers on the board when she pounced on the rebound of a shot by linemate Cameranesi just 33 seconds into the period, and Menefee buried a feed from Terry on the back door at 2:12.
However, Wisconsin fired back with two goals to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Katy Josephs scored at 16:20 before Karley Sylvester regained the Badger lead with 31 seconds remaining in the middle frame.
The Gophers rallied in the third period, beginning with a power-play goal by Brandt to tie the game at 3-3 at the 5:37 mark of the third period. Junior Rachael Bona (Coon Rapids, Minn.) scored the eventual game-winner on a highlight reel goal assisted by senior Sarah Davis (Paradise, N.L.) at 8:06 before senior Baylee Gillanders (Kyle, Sask.) ripped a blistering shot past UW goaltender Alex Rigsby with 2:28 remaining to seal the Gophers' national semifinal victory.
With the win, Minnesota extends its current unbeaten streak to 26 games at 25-0-1.
Minnesota will face the winner of Friday's second semifinal between Clarkson and Mercyhurst in the 2014 national championship game at 2 p.m. CT Sunday.