MINNEAPOLIS — Though the score doesn’t show it, the second semifinal of the inaugural women’s hockey Frozen Four is a shootout. No. 2 seed Minnesota-Duluth and No. 3 seed Harvard have combined for 47 shots through two periods, and they head into the final 20 minutes knotted at 1-1.
The score is so low because of the gritty defenses at both ends of the ice. UMD (26-5-4) has played an aggressive forecheck and turned Harvard’s quality scoring chances into soft shots. For the Crimson, rookie goaltender Jessica Ruddock is playing the best game of her young career, using the glove and the pads and coming out of the crease to play the puck when necessary.
In particular, Ruddock has taken away multiple opportunities for UMD winger Maria Rooth, both on the breakaway and on the rebound.
Both goals have come on the power play (though there have only been two penalties called in the game). The Bulldogs opened the scoring 2:38 into the second period when a lead pass from defenseman Brittny Ralph created a partial breakaway for winger Sanna Peura, who beat Ruddock with a slapper from the left circle.
Harvard got the equalizer with 2:02 left in the second on its first man-advantage of the game. Defenseman Tara Dunn fired a wrist shot from the high slot and winger Tammy Shewchuk deflected the puck past UMD netminder Tuula Puputti.
This game may be headed for overtime, unless one team gets another power play. Harvard leads in shots on goal, 26-21, but UMD has had more quality chances. The winner takes on No. 4 seed St. Lawrence in the title game on Sunday.