In a game where both teams had ice running through their veins, it was the Bulldogs who ended up Frozen.
NCAA Frozen Four, that is, where the No. 5 University of Minnesota Duluth women's hockey team is headed after knocking out No. 4 Colgate University 1-0 in overtime in the NCAA Quarterfinals to earn the Bulldogs first Frozen Four berth in 11 years. The win also was head coach Maura Crowell's 100 win behind the UMD bench, and fittingly against her alma mater, the Raiders.
"What a great hockey game from start to finish, two really good teams duking it out," said Crowell. "We stuck with it and carried our momentum from the third period into the overtime and what a finish. It's nice to see our captain bury that goal so clutch. Our team is thrilled, it's just a really special moment for our program."
Over three periods in regulation, the two sides traded opportunities, but it was UMD that outshot the Raiders 10-7 in the second period and after a 8-8 third period, grabbed the momentum in overtime and never let go.
Senior defenseman Ashton Bell finally lit the lamp to break the scoreless game at 6:39 of the overtime and after 66:39 quarterfinal minutes had been played. The captain had driven to the net all night, and the game-winner was no different. Bell picked up the puck on her own blueline and skated along the boards before cutting into the slot and wristing a shot off the bar to send UMD both into an on ice celebration and into the next round.
"It was just a free puck, I had a clean lane to the net and just took a shot far post and it went in," said Bell. "It's an incredible feeling and I still have chills right now."
UMD goaltender Emma Soderberg held the Raiders off all night, making 30 saves in her NCAA postseason debut. Soderberg also posted her sixth shutout of the season, which ties her for the third most in program history as she becomes the fourth Bulldog netminder to record six or more shutouts.
Colgate, who along with UMD put 30 shots on net, got 29 saves from Kayle Osborne. The Raiders, who were 0-of-1 on the game's lone power play, finished the season 15-7-1.
UMD returns to the NCAA Frozen Four for the first time since 2010 -- which also marks the last time the Bulldogs won it all. UMD will face top-seeded Northeastern University Thursday at either 2:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Times will be determined after the second day of NCAA Quarterfinal games wrap up tomorrow at the Erie Insurance Arena.
BULLDOG NOTES: UMD head coach Maura Crowell is now 1-1 in the NCAA postseason, while as a program, the Bulldogs improve to 5-4 in quarterfinal games ... This marks the eighth Frozen Four trip for the Bulldogs (2021, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2003, 2002, 2001) ... With the win, UMD remains unbeaten against the Raiders all-time at 3-0.