First-time participant Clarkson highlights Frozen Four quartet

Entering the NCAA tournament, most thought that Boston College was the road team with the best chance of earning a win. Instead, the Eagles were the only team not to come within a goal at any point of the third period as Clarkson reached its first Frozen Four.

Leading into the game, the big questions were: would Erin Ambrose be able to play, and could Clarkson win if she didn’t? The answers were, “No,” and an emphatic, “Yes.”

In the absence of its talented sophomore blueliner, Clarkson got big efforts from its senior class in a 3-1 victory over BC. Patty Kazmaier Award top-three finalist Jamie Lee Rattray assisted on all three tallies. Vanessa Gagnon netted a pair, the game’s first goal on a deflection and a rebound opportunity to make it 3-0 early in the final period. Brittany Styner scored the ultimate game-winner and added an assist, and defenseman Vanessa Plante got into the act with a helper. All told, the senior class accounted for eight points while Erica Howe made 23 saves to ensure her resume would include a Frozen Four trip.

The Golden Knights improve to 29-5-5 on the season, surpassing the 28 wins from last year as the most in program history.

Mercyhurst derails Cornell for second straight season
When Mercyhurst dropped No. 2 seed Cornell in overtime last year, it was a surprise. This time, the Lakers didn’t need OT to end the Big Red’s season in Lynah Rink, outshooting the hosts in every period.

Cornell’s Emily Fulton opened the scoring with 7:39 gone and netted her second with 4:29 remaining, but in between, Christine Bestland assisted on one goal and scored two more; Mercyhurst held on for a 3-2 triumph. The three points give Bestland 226 for her career, moving her ahead of Jesse Scanzano into second place in program history. Kaleigh Chippy had the other tally, and Amanda Makela made 29 stops to advance Mercyhurst to its fourth Frozen Four in six years.

The Lakers will face Clarkson in the late semifinal on Friday.

Minnesota repeats win over Boston University in championship rematch
Senior Kelly Terry’s four-point game included a hat trick, her second of the year and the third of her career. Terry’s opening goal off a defender’s skate was quickly answered by Sarah Lefort’s 32nd goal of the season, tops in the country. Minnesota went back up on a second-period, five-on-three goal by Rachel Ramsey. Terry added two goals early in the third period and Maryanne Menefee completed the scoring, giving the Gophers a 5-1 win. Amanda Leveille recorded 28 saves as Minnesota reached the Frozen Four for the 10th time.

Wisconsin stops Harvard to reach seventh Frozen Four
Alex Rigsby got the best of Harvard’s Emerance Maschmeyer in a battle of two of the premier goaltenders in the country. Wisconsin won 2-1, as all three goals were scored with 16 minutes and change elapsed in a period. Blayre Turnbull started the scoring in the first period, and Katy Josephs doubled the Badgers’ advantage in the next frame. Maschmeyer made 42 saves to keep the Crimson in the game, and Dylanne Crugnale finally got them on the board with 3:23 remaining.

However, Rigsby made 23 saves, including a diving effort with her stick to knock down a puck headed for a wide-open net. The win gives her 100 in her career, tying her with Hillary Pattenden for second-most in NCAA history.

Wisconsin will meet Minnesota on Friday. The Badgers hold a 2-1 edge in the teams’ prior national tournament encounters.