MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – March 6, 2021 – For the second consecutive season, No. 1 seed Wisconsin will meet No. 3 seed Ohio State in the WCHA Final Faceoff Championship Game.
The Badgers downed border rival Minnesota, 5-3, while the Buckeyes exploded for five second period goals en route to a 7-2 win over second-seeded Minnesota Duluth to set up a rematch of the 2021 league title game on Sunday at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
The two foes skated to a 0-0 tie in regulation a year ago before Ohio State's Tatum Skaggs netted her second overtime game-winner in as many days to clinch the Buckeyes' first WCHA postseason crown. The winner will skate off with the league's automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
The Badgers will be playing for their ninth WCHA tournament championship in 14 title game appearances and are playing in their seventh-consecutive Final Faceoff Championship Game.
Ohio State's appearance will be their third all-time and OSU will be seeking to add a second Final Faceoff championship in as many years.
Sunday's championship game will begin at 2:07 p.m. CT and will stream live on FloHockey.tv.
Final Faceoff Semifinal 1: No. 1 Wisconsin 5, No. 4 Minnesota 3
Freshman Makenna Webster scored twice and three other Badgers lit the lamp as top-seeded Wisconsin opened the 2021 WCHA Final Faceoff with a 5-3 win over fourth-seeded Minnesota on Saturday afternoon at Ridder Arena.
Wisconsin got on the board first on a goal from Patty Kazmaier candidate Sophie Shirley, who registered her 10th goal of the season with 7:52 to go in the opening period on a feed from Britta Curl.
The Badgers pushed the lead to 2-0 on Webster's first goal of the game at the 12:48 mark of the second period. But Minnesota answered 1:26 later on a goal from WCHA All-Rookie forward Abbey Murphy, her eighth of the season, to cut the lead to 2-1. The one-goal margin stood until late in the second period when Webster netted her second tally of the afternoon, scoring on the power play with 1:22 to go to give the Badgers a 3-1 advantage after two periods.
Minnesota drew to within a goal again at 3-2 just 1:35 into the third period on junior Amy Potomak's third goal of the season. But Wisconsin upped their lead to 4-2 a few minutes later on an unassisted goal from freshman Lacey Eden, who pounced on a loose puck in front of the Gopher net and potted her seventh goal of the season.
Minnesota's Grace Zumwinkle again cut the Badger lead to one with her 17th goal of the season with 4:31 left in the game but Wisconsin iced the contest with 14 seconds left on an unassisted power-play goal by Curl, the second man-advantage goal on five attempts for the Badgers on the day.
Final Faceoff Semifinal 2: No. 3 Ohio State 7, No. 2 Minnesota Duluth 2
A five-goal second period explosion propelled No. 3 seed Ohio State to a 7-2 win over second-seeded Minnesota Duluth in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Faceoff at Ridder Arena on Saturday evening.
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 6:50 into the contest as senior Emma Maltais scored an even-strength tally, the fourth goal of the season for the Patty Kazmaier Award finalist. The Bulldogs answered mid-way through the opening period as freshman forward Katie Davis registered her first collegiate goal for UMD to tie the score at 1-1.
Ohio State broke the game open in the second period, finding the back of the net five times, including four goals in the first eight minutes of the period. Following a Bulldog penalty, Jennifer Gardiner potted her seventh of the season at 17:40. Gabby Rosenthal added her third of the campaign just 1:20 later with an even-strength tally at 16:20. Tatum Skaggs then upped the lead to 4-1 with her seventh goal of the season with 13:58 left in the frame. Maltais capped the explosion with her second of the game 1:55 later.
Freshman Clara Van Wieren cut into the Buckeye lead with 9:38 remaining in the period, rifling a shot over the shoulder of netminder Andrea Braendli to trim the deficit to 5-2. The score did nothing to slow the Buckeye onslaught as Liz Schepers added the fifth OSU goal of the period less than three minutes later. Maltais registered the primary assist on the score for her third point of the period and fourth of the game.
Skaggs wrapped up the scoring for the Buckeyes in the third period, registering a power-play goal with just over eight minutes remaining in the contest for the 7-2 final and her second tally of the night.
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women's League
The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association is marking its 22nd season in 2020-21. The nation's premier women's hockey conference, WCHA member institutions have won a record 17 national championships since the league's inception in 1999 (including 16 of a possible 19 NCAA titles), while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, 105 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team, NCAA Division I conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), The Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). The WCHA will grow to eight members with the addition of the University of St. Thomas (Tommies) beginning with the 2021-22 season. For more information, visit wcha.com.