MINNEAPOLIS — Sarah Davis scored an overtime goal to lift Minnesota over Boston College, 3-2, Friday night and advance to the Women’s NCAA D-I Hockey Championship game.
Minnesota (40-0-0) has won 48-straight games dating back to late last season, an NCAA record.
Davis scored her seventh goal of the year just 1:39 into the extra period when she took the rebound from a shot by Bethany Brausen and skated left. She waited until Boston College goaltender Corinne Boyles lunged for the puck, and then shot over her for the game-winner.
“The puck just came to me,” Davis said of the overtime goal. “I had enough of an angle. I think I stressed my teammates out, but fortunately I had enough of an angle narrow and in a little bit, but I am very happy about it.”
Boyles said she stepped out too much on the play, allowing Davis to score.
“Everybody played great in front of me, and there are certainly no regrets coming out of that [play],” Boyles said.
Boyles finished with 36 saves. Minnesota goaltender Noora Räty had 26.
Minnesota outshot Boston College 39-28 in the game, but trailed by a goal entering the third period. The Gophers soon changed that, scoring a power-play goal less than two minutes into the period to tie the score at 1-1.
The Gophers extended their lead midway through the third period when Becky Kortum found the back of the net on a rebound from Rachael Bona’s shot.
Boston College responded two minutes later when Lexi Bender scored on a second chance. Räty came far out of the net to contest a shot from Haley Skarupa and left the entire left side of the net open for Bender.
Gophers coach Brad Frost said his team found a way to score a goal when trailing, something it has not had to do much this season.
“When our team is pushed, we get a goal,” he said. “The team found a way, as they have all year.”
Kortum said the team had no doubts it would win, despite trailing after two periods.
“That speaks for the character of our team,” she said. “I would lay it on the line for any of these girls.”
It took nearly two full periods to open the scoring. Neither team was able to score in a physical, hard-fought first period, despite good scoring chances off of power plays. The intensity picked up with the scoring, and climaxed as Davis jumped off the boards and celebrated with her teammates after scoring the winning goal.
Both goaltenders were tested early. Räty made 11 saves in the first period, while Boyles made nine saves.
Räty said she didn’t have to make many adjustments throughout the game, even though she gave up a few rebounds and shot opportunities.
“Every time I go out there, I want to play my own game,” she said.
Räty credited her defensive corps for not allowing Boston College to crash the net.
The sellout crowd at Ridder Arena was quiet for most of the night, waiting for the hometown team to take control of the game. As time wound down in the third period, fans from both sides expressed gasps of excitement and fear for the fate of their team’s season.
In the end, the Gophers faithful were treated to the second game-winning overtime goal in as many weeks. Minnesota beat North Dakota, 3-2, in triple overtime last weekend to advance to the Final Four.
Despite another setback in the NCAA semifinals, Boston College coach Katie King Crowley said she watched her team grow in front of her Friday night.
“This is probably one of the closest teams that we’ve had at Boston College, and you could see that on the bench. You could see that in the locker room between periods,” she said. “To see the way they backed each other in this game was phenomenal.”
Minnesota will face either Boston University or Mercyhurst for the NCAA title Sunday afternoon.