People’s United Center hosts NCAA Women’s Frozen Four: Minnesota vs Cornell

Patrick Flatley, Women's ice hockey beat reporter

By: Patrick Flatley

Minnesota held off ECAC Hockey regular season champions Cornell 2-0 in a defensive battle, for the first of the semifinal games in Hamden, Connecticut.

Photo Courtesy: Minnesota Athletics

The Golden Gophers’ Nicole Schammel broke the stalemate halfway through the second period on the powerplay. The redshirt senior found the puck off a deflection and scored the game winning goal.



Both teams had their chances to score throughout the game but the goaltenders for each team stole the show. Cornell’s Marlene Boissonault stopped 25 of 26 shots, yet her counterpart Alex Gulstene saved a perfect 15 of 15.

Cornell came out flying in the third period forcing Minnesota to take their timeout only three minutes into the final frame. While the Big Red applied pressure, the Golden Gophers bent but did not break. Minnesota killed a penalty with four minutes left and scored on the empty netter, sealing the victory and a spot in the National Championship on Sunday.


3 Stars of the Game


3. Kristen O’Neill

The Big Red junior captain was flying from the second she stepped on the ice in warmups. Cornell didn’t score so O’Neill wasn’t on the score sheet (unlike when she first visited Hamden this year), but she was by far the most noticeable player for Cornell. The Big Red had their best chances when the dangerous first line center was on the ice. O’Neill finished the day with two shots and was 18-11 in the faceoff circle.


2. Marlene Boissonnault

Cornell’s goalie kept the high-power Minnesota offense to only one goal before the Golden Gophers capitalized on an empty net with 33 seconds left in the game. Boissonnault had too many highlight saves to count, including a breakaway save in the first period and a couple backdoor chances on the penalty kill to keep her team in the game. The lone goal was while her team was shorthanded, and came off a deflection and scramble in front of the net. Without Boissonnault standing on her head all game, this semifinal would have been a completely different story.


1. Alex Gulstene

The sophomore goaltender didn’t have as many shots to stop as Boissonnault, but the shutout is impressive in its own in such a big game like a Frozen Four semifinal. Gulstene said in her press conference that there were stretches where she didn’t get many shots which could be hard for goalies, but that it was important for her to stay mentally strong throughout. They will need her lockdown goaltending on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. to take home the National Championship against the winner of Wisconsin/Clarkson.