Below is the News Tribune article from Wisconsin's 4-1 victory over UMD:
Christa Lawler Duluth News Tribune
Published Monday, March 19, 2007
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — The Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey team took an unusual route to the NCAA Frozen Four championship.
The Bulldogs had 10 losses, overcame nine injuries and finished with a U.S. College Hockey Online poll ranking of No. 8. But once in the playoffs, UMD rode its underdog role to the finals and received the matchup it would have received if the NCAA had asked the Bulldogs to name their opponent — Wisconsin.
In the end, the top-seeded, defending national champions proved that “dominant” was more than just a superfluous billing. The Badgers used a three-goal second period to beat the Bulldogs 4-1 in Sunday’s final at Herb Brooks Arena.
UMD coach Shannon Miller said she could feel — on the bench and in the locker room — that the team was missing a spark that had carried the Bulldogs to this point.
“It was obvious we had half a tank,” Miller said. “We didn’t go out with a full tank of gas. They did what we’ve asked for the last couple months, dig deeper and deeper and get it done. … They didn’t have that spark. … There was just something a little off, something not there.”
UMD (24-11-4) came into the game with a mental advantage that no other team in the country could claim — the Bulldogs earned a 2-0 win over the Badgers (36-1-4) earlier this season, the only hiccup in the Badgers’ near-perfect finish. UMD pushed both games of its most-recent series with Wisconsin to overtime — tying 1-1 and losing 2-1.
“I remember being frustrated playing against them,” Wisconsin senior Sara Bauer said. “They play us tough all the time.”
UMD can take one significant stat from the matchup. The Bulldogs found a way to score on Wisconsin sophomore goaltender Jessie Vetter, who hadn’t allowed a goal in NCAA play since last year’s quarterfinal win overMercyhurst. She closed the season with 10 shutouts and didn’t give up a goal since mid-February before UMD broke through in the second period with its only goal — ending a postseason shutout streak of 448 minutes, 32 seconds.
The Badgers outscored opponents 9-1 in their three NCAA tournament games.
Ultimately, a 1-0 quadruple-overtime win over Harvard in the quarterfinals proved to be the closest the Badgers came to being upended.
The Bulldogs opted for freshman goalie Kim Martin in the final, after playing senior Riitta Schaublin in their 3-2 overtime win over Mercyhurst last week in Erie, Pa., and Friday’s 4-3 double-overtime victory over Boston College in the semifinals.
Martin had 20 saves in Sunday’s loss.
Miller said the freshman has played sparingly this season because of a knee injury that has flared recently. Saturday the Swedish Olympian seemed ready to go, so they gave her the start.
“She made some great saves for us [Sunday],” Miller said.
Wisconsin’s power play had struggled coming into the playoffs, going 3-for-26 through the WCHA tournament and NCAA quarterfinals and semifinals. The Badgers improved on the stat to take a 1-0 lead in the first period.
Junior winger Jinelle Zaugg scored at 9:00 when she picked up the puck off a faceoff in the Bulldogs’ zone, skated in alone on Martin and laid the puck low to the goalies’ left side.
Erika Lawler worked through UMD’s defense and put the puck between Martin’s skates from the left faceoff circle for a 2-0 lead at 7:24 of the second.
Meaghan Mikkelson carried the puck into the Bulldogs’ zone, dished off to Sara Bauer, who put the puck high over Martin’s left shoulder and Wisconsin took a 3-0 lead at 11:56.
The Bulldogs finally broke Vetter’s playoff shutout streak with a power-play goal at 14:23. Noemie Marin wound up from the point, and freshman forward Emmanuelle Blais tipped it past Vetter. It was the first power-play goal the Badgers had given up in eight games.
Wisconsin responded off the following faceoff, going ahead 4-1 just 10 seconds later. Lawler got the shot off and Martin left the rebound near the crease. Jasmine Giles skated in and put it past her at 14:33.
The response was crucial, Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson said.
“That’s a sign of a team that responds to a little bit of adversity,” he said. “You tend to be a little comfortable. The fourth goal was one of the key components of the game because of the way they responded so quickly. Then instead of 3-1, it was 4-1.”
Both teams were held scoreless and to four shots on goal in a defensively-heavy third period.
“In the championship game, always try to find energy,” Marin said. “We have a lot of character and heart. There is so much you can do. We tried the best we can but we fell short.”
This was UMD’s first loss in the NCAA women’s hockey championship.
A WCHA team has won the title since the NCAA sanctioned the event in 2000-01. UMD won the first three championships from 2001-03. Minnesota followed with back-to-back wins before Wisconsin took its first title in 2006.
* This is the third consecutive year that the Bulldogs’ season has ended with a loss on March 18.
* This is the second consecutive year that the Frozen Four has been an All-WCHA final. The Badgers topped Minnesota 3-0 at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis in 2006.
* UMD senior forward Jessica Koizumi was named to the all-tournament team along with Wisconsin’s forwards Bauer, who was named most outstanding player of the tournament, and Zaugg, defensemen Mikkelson and Bobbi-Jo Slussar and goaltender Vetter.