The Badgers, who advance to their first-ever WCHA championship match, will face off with No. 1 Minnesota at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis Sunday.
After falling to UMD 3-1 in last year's WCHA Final Five, the Badgers (28-7-1 overall) took the Bulldogs (25-6-2) to overtime, where Cole capitalized on a power-play opportunity 2:34 into the extra stanza. She had help from her linemates, sophomores Lindsay Macy and Sara Bauer, who were each credited with an assist on the play.
Wisconsin, which out-shot UMD 28-19, found itself down after Bulldog freshman defender Rachael Drazan scored 7:10 into the first period.
UW senior forward Jackie Friesen notched the equalizer just 15 seconds into the second period on an assist from junior forward Grace Hutchins but UMD kept it neck-and-neck with a goal from senior forward Nora Tallus less than four minutes later.
Wisconsin out-shot UMD 10-7 in the third period but neither team's goaltender let a puck into her net. At the end of regulation, the teams were tied at 2-2, setting the stage for Cole's heroics.
In net, Wisconsin junior goaltender Meghan Horras stopped 17 shots, while UMD sophomore Riitta Schaublin had 25 saves.
Wisconsin, which is riding a 10-game winning streak, faces the Gophers at 4:05 p.m. Sunday. Minnesota beat Ohio State 7-1 Saturday evening, forcing the Buckeyes into the third-place game with Minnesota-Duluth, which takes place at 1:05 p.m.