Women's hockey: UW pushes Minnesota to the limit

Badgers score twice late in third period, but top-ranked Gophers win it in overtime

The Wisconsin women's hockey team had little time to savor an unbelievable comeback in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament championship game.

Badger senior defender Carla MacLeod forced overtime with two goals in the final 50 seconds of regulation but Minnesota senior forward Krissy Wendell netted the game winner just 19 seconds into the extra session, taking advantage of a 5-on-3 power play.

Top-ranked Minnesota (33-2-2 overall), which also won the WCHA regular season title, sewed up the top seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament with the win

No. 3 Wisconsin (28-8-1) pulled junior netminder Meghan Horras late in the third period in favor of an extra attacker and the gamble paid off, as MacLeod fired a one-time slap shot from the right point that beat Gopher senior goalie Jody Horak low to the far side at 19:10 in the third.

Moments later, sophomore forward Lindsay Macy circled up the side boards to the left point and feathered a cross ice pass to MacLeod. The pass was a little too far ahead, but MacLeod let it bounce off the boards, picked it up above the circle, skated to the faceoff dot and ripped a wrister over Horak's glove, beating the Minnesota netminder short side for her sixth goal of the season at 19:36.

With only 14 seconds left in the third period, however, UW senior defender Bobbi-Jo Slusar got caught on an island on her defensive blue line and was whistled for an interference minor after taking a Gopher to the ice.

In the waning moments of regulation, Badger forward Sara Bauer forced a neutral zone turnover, giving UW a scoring chance in the closing seconds. UW junior forward Nikki Burish, however, was called for a high sticking minor as the third period expired, giving the Gophers the 5-on-3 advantage to start overtime.

On Minnesota's first rush of the extra session, senior forward Kelly Stephens found Wendell wide open below the right circle. Horras lunged back to her left to try and make the save, but Wendell's quick wrister found the net to give Minnesota the win.

Wisconsin out-shot Minnesota 18-11 in the first two periods but the Gophers took a 1-0 lead with five seconds left in the second session on a power-play goal. On the play, Wendell's pass from the right point found junior linemate Natalie Darwitz to the left of the crease for a point-blank chance.

Minnesota's second goal also came on the man-advantage, with freshman forward Bobbi Ross' tally off a rebound opportunity at 5:26 in the third period.

Horras made 22 saves for Wisconsin, while Horak had 21 saves.

Darwitz, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, had two assists and a goal Sunday, giving her 63 assists and 39 goals this season, for a nation-leading 102 points.

MacLeod and junior forward Sharon Cole represented UW on the WCHA All-Tournament team. Cole netted an overtime game-winner in the semifinals against Minnesota-Duluth.

Minnesota's Wendell, Horak and defender Lindsay Wall and Minnesota-Duluth senior forward Caroline Ouellette rounded out the all-tourney team.

UWBadgers.com Box Score


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