Minnesota continues its quest for a third-straight NCAA national championship in the NCAA quarterfinal round this weekend. The Gophers travel to Duluth, Minn., for a rematch of last weekend’s WCHA Final Face-Off semifinal with Minnesota Duluth. Game time is set for 2:37 p.m. CT Saturday at UMD’s AMSOIL Arena.
About the NCAA Tournament Field
The Gophers (25-7-5) secured one of four at-large berths to the 2017 NCAA Women’s Hockey Championship, joining No. 3 seed Minnesota Duluth, St. Lawrence, and Cornell to make up the at-large selections. Postseason conference tournament winners No. 1 seed Wisconsin (WCHA), No. 2 seed Clarkson (ECAC Hockey), No. 4 seed Boston College (Hockey East), and Robert Morris (College Hockey America) all secured automatic berths and round out the tournament field.
Along with the Bulldogs hosting the Gophers, Wisconsin hosts Robert Morris, Clarkson hosts Cornell, and Boston College hosts St. Lawrence in quarterfinal action. All four games are set for Saturday afternoon, and the four winnings teams will advance to the 2017 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four co-hosted by the St. Louis Sports Commission and Lindenwood University at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., March 17-19.
No. 5 Minnesota is making its 10th-straight and 15th overall appearance in the NCAA postseason. The Gophers have won four of the last five national championships, and Minnesota has advanced to five straight NCAA title games. The Gophers are in search of their 13th Frozen Four appearance, eighth national title overall, and a historic third consecutive NCAA crown.
Meanwhile, No. 3 Minnesota Duluth returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2010-11 season. The Bulldogs are hosting an NCAA quarterfinal game for the first time since 2009-10. Minnesota Duluth has won five NCAA titles (2001, 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2010).
Gophers in NCAA Quarterfinal Games
Minnesota is 9-2-0 all-time in NCAA quarterfinal games since the tournament expanded to eight teams in 2005. The last time Minnesota traveled for an NCAA quarterfinal match-up was during the 2010-11 season; the Gophers dropped a 4-1 decision on the road at Boston College. Overall, the Gophers are 23-9-1 in NCAA tournament games since 2000-01.
About the Match-Up: Minnesota vs. Minnesota Duluth
Minnesota is 51-27-7 in 85 games all-time against Minnesota Duluth in a series dating back to November 1998. The Gophers are 2-3-0 against the Bulldogs this season, but Minnesota had a 21-game unbeaten streak (20-0-1) against the Bulldogs from Jan. 2012 to Oct. 2016. Each team earned a sweep on its home ice during the regular season before Saturday’s double-overtime battle.
The Gophers and Bulldogs have only met once in the NCAA postseason. Minnesota dropped a 3-2 decision to UMD in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinal round in 2010, and the Bulldogs went on to win the national title. The teams also met in the national semifinal round in 2000, which saw Minnesota win 3-2 on the way to its AWCHA national title.
Brad Frost Is Ready
Golden Gopher head coach Brad Frost talked to MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm this week: