This post has been updated.
HAMDEN, Conn. — Just a week after storming into Boston and knocking off third-seeded Northeastern in overtime, Cornell women’s hockey could not repeat its New England playoff magic, falling to the No. 2 seed Minnesota, 2-0.
“I’m really proud of our group,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “I thought we played a real strong team game today. And I’m proud of what we accomplished all year long … These last couple of months, this is a team that’s really come together and played real hard as a team.”
After a scoreless opening frame in which both teams appeared evenly matched, the Golden Gophers opened the scoring on a well-executed power play in the second before icing the game with an empty-netter in the third. Minnesota will advance to play either Clarkson or Wisconsin in the NCAA championship game on Sunday.
“In the first period we had a lot of odd-man opportunities and didn’t really take advantage of them,” Derraugh said. “It’s always a fine line … getting pucks in deep and sometimes we don’t recognize when we have a chance to make a strong offensive play.”
Cornell (24-6-6, 17-3-2 ECAC) kept up with Minnesota (32-5-1, 19-4-1 Big Ten) throughout most of the contest, but the Gophers’ defensive strategy was overpowering, and the Red was never able to find the right opportunity to bury the puck. Cornell mustered just 15 shots on goal in the process of being shutout — its fourth such defeat this season.
“Minnesota’s a great hockey team and they’re strong defensively, and we knew that,” said junior defender Micah Zandee-Hart. “So we knew goals weren’t going to come easy, but I think we had our fair share of opportunities, and we just couldn’t put one in the back of the net.”
Despite the loss, Cornell’s defense did an excellent job of slowing down Minnesota’s best-in-the-nation scoring offense, which normally averages over four goals per game.
“We played the way we played all year long, which is in aggressive defense,” Derraugh said. “I thought we did a pretty good job overall as a team today.”
Senior goaltender Marlène Boissonnault made 25 saves, while Minnesota netminder Alex Gulstene needed only 15 to earn the shutout.
“We analyzed their plays and whatnot,” Boissonnault said. “We gave our hearts out, that’s how we played the whole game. And it ended up shutting doors [for the Minnesota offense].”