MINNEAPOLIS – Senior Kelly Terry netted a hat trick in her final game in Ridder Arena to send the Minnesota Golden Gophers to the Frozen Four with a 5-1 victory over Boston University.
“Just very excited and proud of our team,” coach Brad Frost said. “I thought we played really well here tonight. Attempted a ton of shots and maintained a lot of possession, but BU was a very good opponent; their first line in particular caused us some fits early on.”
Terry’s most important role for Minnesota (37-1-1) figured to come on the defensive end, as her line drew the assignment of trying to slow down the high-powered line centered by Louise Warren. Terry responded with a four-point game.
“We figured if we keep it in their end, we don’t have to defend as much,” Terry said. “My linemates are great at forechecking. We communicate so well. If we’re just pesky all game and they can’t get it out, ultimately, that creates offense for us.”
The Gophers also got multi-point games from both of their All-WCHA first team defensemen. Rachel Ramsey scored and both she and Milica McMillen had a pair of primary assists.
BU (24-13-1) coach Brian Durocher liked the position his team was in entering the final frame.
“I was really proud of our kids that they had it in a nice position, 2-1 going into the third period,” he said. “It had a little bit of a look of last weekend when we were going into the third down 2-1.”
In the Hockey East final, BU rallied to upset Boston College. This time, the Terriers saw their opponents make the plays to decide the game.
“I don’t think mentally we played a poor game,” Durocher said. “I think there were just some real outstanding plays by some talented kids, Kelly Terry in particular, that separated them and put the game away.”
Terry scored goals 2:46 and 7:56 into the third period to put Minnesota up, 4-1, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Hannah Brandt sent Maryanne Menefee in alone on Kerrin Sperry to complete the scoring five minutes later.
The Terriers got into penalty trouble in the second period and Ramsey capitalized for the Gophers, burying a second chance opportunity upstairs while skating with a five-on-three advantage to provide the game-winning goal.
“It wasn’t exactly how we drew it up, but we just continued to maintain possession there and eventually wore them down,” Frost said. “A hockey player made a play with Ramsey’s shot there. That was obviously a big momentum shift for us. If they had killed that off, it would certainly have been a momentum shift for them.”
Terry scored the first goal for the Minnesota 12:56 into the game. She threw the puck toward the goal and it went into the net off of a BU skate. Milica McMillen had the only assist.
“I knew somebody was driving back door, and I definitely wasn’t trying to shoot,” Terry said.
It took just 21 seconds for Sarah Lefort to answer for the Terriers. Her missile from the left point popped into the air off of Amanda Leveille’s shoulder and bounced into the goal for her national-best 32nd tally of the season.
Durocher said there was some question by some coming into the season as to how she would perform without national-team caliber linemates Marie-Philip Poulin and Jenelle Kohanchuk.
“Sarah certainly ended all that speculation and had a fantastic year this year,” he said. “She was a leader all year; she always got the big goal. Today, it clearly got us back in the hockey game.”
Ultimately, Minnesota was just too deep for the Terriers.
“There isn’t that drop off on the third line that you might have in some programs, and that’s what really fuels the fire,” Durocher said.
Sperry finished her BU career with a 41-save effort, while Leveille made 28 stops for the Gophers.
Minnesota will face the winner of the Harvard and Wisconsin quarterfinal on Friday.
“We haven’t won anything,” Ramsey said. “We get to go to the Frozen Four, and that’s an incredible accomplishment in itself, being a part of these top four teams here, but we haven’t won yet. Hopefully, next weekend we’ll be throwing the gloves.”