SUPERIOR, Wisc. — St. Lawrence pulled the first upset of the inaugural NCAA Frozen Four back in 2001, and now the Saints have the first upset of the inaugural eight-team NCAA tournament as well.
St. Lawrence (27-7-5) defeated No. 2 UMD (26-6-2) 3-2 in overtime on Friday night behind goalie Jessica Moffat’s career-high 42 saves and Emilie Berlinguette’s two goals, including the game-winner at 11:11 of overtime. The three-time NCAA champion Bulldogs had never lost an NCAA tournament game.
“I thought it was a pretty good hockey game,” said St. Lawrence coach Paul Flanagan. “I thought it was very well played by both teams It was a gutsy performance from our team, coming off a disappointing loss last weekend in the ECACHL semifinals.”
The game-winning goal came as Berlinguette capitalized on a bad pass and walked in all alone on Schaublin, made two moves, and finally put the puck over the All-WCHA UMD goaltender. With the two-goal effort, Berlinguette maintained her status as the Saints’ go-to player down the stretch.
The Saints never trailed in the victory, and captain Rebecca Russell put her team ahead just 3:42 into the opening period. Russell converted a pass back from Crystal Connors beneath Schaublin for the 1-0 lead.
UMD answered with 3:34 to go in the period when Noemie Marin, sitting on the left post, tipped the puck over Jess Moffat after a shot from Caroline Ouellette.
Berlinguette put St. Lawrence ahead at 4:26 of the second period on a delayed penalty call. Connors picked up a loose puck and centered to Berlinguette in the slot, from where she finished for a 2-1 lead.
Once again UMD answered at 14:21 of the second period. Ouellette picked up the puck off the faceoff and skated around in front of the Saints net and beat Moffat stick-side to knot the score at 2-2 with 5:39 to play in the second period.
St. Lawrence outshot UMD 16-12 in the final frame of regulation, but both goalies held strong. Schaublin finished with 32 saves.
St. Lawrence will face the winner of the Harvard-Mercyhurst game in the NCAA semifinals at the Whittemore Center in Durham, N.H. on Friday, March 25. Harvard and Mercyhurst play Saturday afternoon in Cambridge, Mass. at the Bright Hockey Center.