CANTON, N.Y. — Last season’s 3-2 NCAA quarterfinal win for St. Lawrence NCAA quarterfinal overtime win over Minnesota-Duluth was exciting enough, but round two this season might have been even better.
Unfortunately for UMD (22-9-3), the result was the same — a one-goal defeat to the Saints (31-4-2), this time by a 1-0 margin.
“If there was a trophy for hitting the most posts, we’d have it,” said UMD coach Shannon Miller. “We’ve had trouble scoring for the past month, but we’ve played well. You start to think sooner or later it will start to change, but our shots hit posts instead of the net.”
The game’s lone goal came from Patty Kazmaier finalist Sabrina Harbec at 13:27 of the second period on the power play — the Saints’ seventh compared to just two for UMD at the time. Minnesota Duluth was unable to clear the puck as the advantage ticked down. A bouncing puck landed right on the stick of Harbec, who moved in on Schaublin, another Kazmaier finalist. The sophomore dragged the puck through the crease to her forehand, sniping a shot over the Minnesota Duluth netminder’s shoulder to ignite the crowd of 816.
The shot was the only blemish of an otherwise exceptional game for Riitta Schaublin, who made 40 saves.
“[Schaublin] made so many good saves in the first period, we were just trying to make her go from side to side,” Harbec said. “She is so big that when she drops down, there are no openings in the net.”
“Schaublin played a tremendous first period and kept her team in it,” said St. Lawrence coach Paul Flanagan. “We knew we had to break the ice, so we tried to keep our pressure on them throughout.”
After taking the lead, the Saints held on for dear life. After UMD was whistled for the first eight of 10 penalties, St. Lawrence took five of the last seven. But the difference was that UMD could not convert.
“We knew what we had to do,” said UMD co-captain Krista McArthur. “It hurts we were on the penalty kill for a lot of the game, but I thought we did a really good job.”
Jess Moffat made 24 saves for the Saints shutout.
“I’ve been going over the game in my head all week,” said Moffat. “I just tried to keep my head in the game as best I could.”
St. Lawrence advances to face Wisconsin in the NCAA semifinals. Flanagan was grateful for everyone who helped the Saints get there.
“That was a great game and amazing atmosphere,” Flanagan said. “It is a credit to our players to set the stage for this matchup. We had awesome fan support, and had some great individual efforts.”
UMD coach Shannon Miller, whose team had some off-ice issues in February, had no complaints about how her team finished in March.
“Our team battled really hard, and I’m proud of how hard we worked,” she said.