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Forum News Service, Published March 16 2013

Minnesota beats North Dakota in three OTs of NCAA playoff game to stay undefeated

MINNEAPOLIS – When the NCAA Division I women’s hockey bracket came out, many thought the University of North Dakota’s first-round game against the University of Minnesota was the de facto national championship.

After playing an epic, triple-overtime, 118-minute, 51-second thriller that lasted well over four hours, it’s hard to disagree.

Ultimately, the Gophers punched home a goal on the power play – their third opportunity during the overtime – to earn a trip to the Frozen Four and preserve their attempt at an undefeated season. Minnesota won 3-2.

Kelly Terry scored the winner at 18:51 of the third overtime to help the Gophers improve to 39-0 on the season and extend their winning streak to 47 games. The Gophers advance to the NCAA Frozen Four next weekend, which also will be played in their home, Ridder Arena.

“I told our girls after the game that they gave, arguably, the best team in women’s hockey history everything they could handle,” UND coach Brian Idalski said. “They should be proud of that.”

UND freshman goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie stopped 57 shots and UND used goals from Ashley Furia and Meghan Dufault in the opening two periods to post a lead on the Gophers and snap their shutout streak, which was exactly one month old (spanning eight games).

UND’s season ended with a 26-12-1 record. UND gave the Gophers the best push anybody has since a year ago when UND knocked them off in overtime in Ridder Arena on a Josefine Jakobsen goal.

“It’s disappointing,” UND captain Jocelyne Lamoureux said. “We gave them everything they can handle. I’ll be surprised if anyone gives them a game like that next weekend (in the Frozen Four). But it’s disappointing. There’s not any other way to sum it up than that.”

The Gophers got off to a great start, getting a goal just 52 seconds into the game, but UND dominated the rest of the first period, outshooting Minnesota 18-7 and eventually tying the game when Furia put home a Dufault pass on a two-on-one rush.

UND took the lead at the :29 mark of the second period when Michelle Karvinen’s pass from the right circle found Dufault across the slot, and the freshman from Winnipeg one-timed it past Gopher goalie Noora Raty (50 saves).

Minnesota tied the game with four minutes left in the second period when leading-scorer Amanda Kessel converted the Gophers’ third power-play chance of regulation.

The Gophers outshot UND 14-7 in the third period, but Amsley-Benzie was strong.

UND had several chances to win the game during the three overtimes and survived the first two Gophers power plays, but not the third.

Terry poked home a rebound to end the sixth-longest game in NCAA women’s hockey history.

“Obviously, it was a very exciting game,” Idalski said. “I’m proud of our kids. I thought we emptied the tank and gave it all we had today. When it gets to that point, when you are in six periods of hockey, it’s unfortunate that anyone has to lose.”

The game ends a record-setting season for UND, which won the most games in program history and saw seniors Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux finish their careers as the top two scorers in Western Collegiate Hockey Association history.

“I’ll think I will not look back just at this game, but the decision my sister and I made,” Jocelyne said. “I’ll be proud of what we were able to accomplish with our senior class. I have no bones about my freshman year here (at Minnesota), but I’ll look back at the big picture of what we were able to do here and that will mean a lot more than any awards or individual accolades I could have gotten anywhere else.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, M, Brandt (Kessel, Brausen) :52. 2, UND, Furia (Dufault) 14:05.

SECOND PERIOD: 3, UND, Dufault (Karvinen, Jakobsen) :29 (pp). 4, M, Kessel (Bozek) 16:00 (pp).

THIRD PERIOD: No scoring.

OVERTIME: No scoring.

SECOND OVERTIME: No scoring.

THIRD OVERTIME: 5, M, Terry (Bona, Jalosuo) 18:51 (pp).

SAVES: UND, Amsley-Benzie 6-10-14-10-6-11–57. M, Raty 17-7-7-7-9-3–50.