A dozen of the 14 quarterfinal series played across the four conferences resulted in sweeps, two of those accomplished by the road team. While much of the action went according to script, there were also some upsets, overtimes, and comebacks in the mix.
The field of 30 teams that started the weekend with NCAA Championship dreams was reduced to 16. It will be cut in half over each of the next two weekends to yield the contingent for the Frozen Four.
On paper, the ECAC looked to be wide open. The road teams had proven capable of springing upsets over the course of the season, and all of the hosts had vulnerable stretches. Instead, the four ECAC series produced sweeps by all four of the higher seeds.
Top-seeded Clarkson never let Dartmouth get comfortable, outshooting the Big Green 17-3 over the opening 20 minutes and cruising to a 6-0 victory in the opener. Although her workload picked up, Shea Tiley was up to the task in her first taste of the postseason, earning a 21-save shutout. Cayley Mercer scored twice and added an assist. Saturday’s game remained scoreless until Amanda Titus’ goal at 16:21 of the middle frame, the second straight game where she broke the ice. The Golden Knights had double Dartmouth’s shots on goal in each period and went on to a 4-1 victory.
Harvard had a far easier time against Yale than it did a year ago, dispatching the Bulldogs by scores of 2-1 and 3-0. Jamie Haddad gave Yale the weekend’s first lead, but it would prove to be the only puck it would get past Emerance Maschmeyer. Miye D’Oench and Sydney Daniels tallied to give the Crimson the triumph in a game where all of the scoring occurred in the second period. Daniels struck just 3:28 into Saturday’s game, and Samantha Reber and Josephine Pucci had tripled the advantage before the game’s midpoint. Maschmeyer was flawless in dealing with 24 attempts.
Quinnipiac shook off its late-season struggles, blanking Princeton for the weekend, 7-0 and 2-0. Chelsea Laden made 29 total saves in garnering both shutouts, giving her 16 for the season, one shy of the NCAA record. Emma Woods got the Bobcats off to a fast start on Friday by scoring the first of her team’s four first-period goals 6:04 into the contest. Taylar Cianfarano tallied twice. Nicole Connery’s second-period goal on a power play proved decisive on Saturday, and Nicole Brown hit an empty net.
Cornell had to survive a little more drama than the league’s other winners, but 3-1 and 3-2 victories over St. Lawrence got the job done. Brooke Webster’s tying goal five minutes into the final period was all Paula Voorheis allowed on 19 shots on Friday, and the Big Red got a game winner from Jess Brown to go with a goal by Cassandra Poudrier and an empty-net clincher by Jillian Saulnier. The Saints took a two-goal lead into Saturday’s third period, thanks to markers by Ellie Williams and Jacqueline Wand. Goals five minutes apart by Anna Zorn and Saulnier drew Cornell even, and Emily Fulton netted the winning goal with 3:18 left in regulation.
Clarkson will host Cornell in one semifinal, while Harvard faces Quinnipiac in the other. All the remaining games will be played in Potsdam.
Fan favorite Bye was ousted, as were Lindenwood and Robert Morris, but Penn State makes its first venture into the semifinals and defending champion RIT kept its hopes for a repeat alive.
The Tigers finished at the bottom of the standings, but they were undaunted by having to go on the road to sweep RMU. On Friday, the Colonials’ Maddie Collias provided a first-period answer to Emilee Bulleid’s goal, but Ali Binnington handled the other 30 shots sent her way. Mackenzie Stone scored what proved to be the winning goal out of a scrum 4:19 into the second period, and Caitlin Wallace iced the 3-1 win into an empty net. In game two, Lindsay Grigg took a pass from Wallace and fired in the game’s only goal at the 3:11 mark of the opening period. Robert Morris once again generated 31 shots on goal, but this time, Binnington denied all of them to gain her fifth shutout.
Penn State hosted postseason action for the first time, and the Nittany Lions overcame Lindenwood by scores of 1-0 and 3-1. Shannon Yoxheimer scored the only goal in the opener midway through the first stanza, and Celine Whitlinger made it stand up with a 23-save shutout. Yoxheimer netted her second winning goal in as many days on Saturday, and freshman defenseman Bella Sutton was all over the score sheet with the primary assist and two goals of her own. Whitlinger yielded only a power-play goal to Lyndsay Kirkham.
The remaining teams head to Erie to compete for the crown, with RIT facing Mercyhurst and Penn State taking on Syracuse.
Connecticut became the second road team to advance when it traveled to Orono and swept Maine for the second week in a row. New Hampshire pushed Northeastern to a third game but fell just short after taking a series lead.
Boston College made short work of Providence, advancing with 6-2 and 8-0 triumphs. Meghan Grieves and Andie Anastos potted a pair apiece in the opener, with the latter adding an assist. Katie Burt made 15 saves on Saturday to reach 10 shutouts in her freshman campaign. Dana Trivigno topped the point parade with two goals plus an assist, and Emily Pfalzer had one of each to push past the century mark in points for her career.
Kayla Tutino scored four times, all assisted by Marie-Philip Poulin, when Boston University claimed game one over Vermont, 8-1. Rebecca Leslie returned to the line-up with a pair of tallies. The Terriers pulled away early on Saturday in winning 7-2. Victoria Bach opened the scoring a minute in and added two helpers. Samantha Sutherland found the net twice.
Sarah MacDonnell put Connecticut ahead to stay on Friday with a second-period goal and added an assist as the Huskies defeated Maine, 3-2. Teammate Kayla Campero also had a goal and a helper, as did Audra Richards and Emilie Brigham for the Black Bears. Both Maine’s Meghan Treacy and UConn’s Elaine Chuli were bidding for shutouts on Saturday, and their efforts forced the game to overtime still scoreless. It was Chuli that was rewarded with the 45-save shutout when Rebecca Fleming scored 10:31 into bonus hockey to give the Huskies a 1-0 win.
They aren’t the only Huskies advancing, as Northeastern came back from a game down to take its series versus New Hampshire. Ashley Wilkes made 40 saves and Cassandra Vilgrain scored 17 seconds into the final period to make 2-1 winners out of the Wildcats on Friday. On Saturday, Caroline Broderick twice scored tying goals for UNH, the second coming with 1:55 left in regulation to knot the score at 2-2. However, a half minute later, Denisa Krížová cleaned up the rebound of a Kendall Coyne breakaway to give NU the 3-2 win. On Sunday, Coyne scored on an early power play, but Ali Praus’ first career goal drew the Wildcats even by the first intermission. Amy Boucher gave UNH the advantage in the second period, but Jordan Krause responded 91 seconds later. Coyne sniped a power-play goal to give the Huskies a lasting lead at 13:17 of the final stanza. Krížová’s long pass sent Coyne in on another breakaway, which she converted to complete her hat trick and give Krížová her third assist of the day. Down 4-2, UNH got an extra-attacker goal from Kayla Mork with just under three minutes remaining, but the Wildcats couldn’t find an equalizer before their season expired.
Hockey East moves to Hyannis for the remainder of its tournament, with BC facing Connecticut and BU matching up with Northeastern.
Bemidji State kept the best season in program history rolling as it recorded 20 wins for the first time and brought the curtain down on Minnesota-Duluth’s year in the process. Ohio State was also eliminated, but it stretched North Dakota to a third overtime in the final game of the series, the longest game of the season to date.
The Bulldogs and Beavers split both regular season series, so it was no surprise that they played a dramatic quarterfinal. Stephanie Anderson scored twice, Ivana Bilic had helpers on both, and Whitney Wivoda also scored as BSU took Friday’s game, 3-2, with Brittni Mowat making 35 saves. The edge then shifted to Kayla Black and UMD, as the hosts won the second game, 2-0. Ashleigh Brykaliuk broke a scoreless tie at 7:31 of the final period and added an empty-net goal with a second left. Black saved all 29 shots. The deciding game was following a similar script; Brigette Lacquette scored the game’s first goal almost five minutes into the final frame. This time, however, the Beavers’ extra-attacker strategy paid off when Hanna Moher beat Black with 34 seconds in regulation to force overtime. At 12:08 of the extra session, Kaitlyn Tougas scored on a rush to give Bemidji State a 2-1 victory and advance it to the semifinals for the second time. Anderson assisted on both goals and Mowat made 35 saves to earn the win.
Ohio State battled as hard if not quite as long. The Buckeyes took a 2-1, second-period lead on Friday via power-play goals by Kari Schmitt and Sara Schmitt. Andrea Dalen regained control for UND by potting a pair of goals, and then following an empty-net goal from Meghan Dufault, Dalen completed the 5-2 win and her hat trick into another empty net. Samantha Hanson drew first blood for UND midway through the second period on Saturday, but Kayla Sullivan tied it up 10 minutes later. The third period and the first two overtimes belonged to the goalies; Kassidy Sauve finished with 40 saves for OSU and Shelby Amsley-Benzie made 36 stops for the hosts. At 3:17 of the third OT, Becca Kohler got the puck ahead to Dufault to create a two on one. Dufault ladled a pass over a defenseman’s stick to Amy Menke, who finished the 2-1 win with shot that hit net high to the glove side.
The other two WCHA series weren’t nearly as gripping. Dani Cameranesi scored twice with four helpers, and Hannah Brandt had four points and a hat trick as Minnesota routed Minnesota State, 10-0, to take game one. The Mavericks kept Saturday’s game closer, but fell by a 5-1 margin. Maryanne Menefee scored twice, giving her three goals and three assists for the series.
Wisconsin handled St. Cloud State by scores of 5-1 and 4-1. Kim Drake’s three assists highlighted Friday’s game. Nobody had more than one point on Saturday, as once more the Badgers took a multi-goal lead into the first intermission and never looked back.
The brackets for the WCHA Final Face-Off on Saturday have Minnesota opening versus Bemidji State, while Wisconsin and host North Dakota square off in the second semifinal.