Outside of the two overtime games between Minnesota-Duluth and Bemidji State and St. Cloud putting a bunch of goals in on Minnesota, the first round proceeded with minimal fanfare.
Notably Wisconsin, a team long known for goaltending and defense, didn’t do very well at either this season. They were known for their offense with their top three of Daryl Watts, Abby Roque, and Sophie Shirley not only performing at even strength, but on the power play as well.
#1 Wisconsin vs. #4 Minnesota-Duluth
Saturday, March 7th, 2 PM CT
Wisconsin ran roughshod over the Bulldogs in this series though, again, they couldn’t keep the goals down and thus allowed a sliver of hope. Their power play was good, but that’s largely due to only having to kill 7 penalties, which seems a little suspect. Duluth had a two-goal lead late in the final game, but Wisconsin would tie it up with two goals in the final minute.
Wisconsin – Wisconsin’s trainers. The Badgers played 34 games this season. The top SIXTEEN Wisconsin scorers played 34 games, and 17 of the top 18 played 34 games.
Minnesota-Duluth – Ashton Bell. The Duluth defender didn’t get enough recognition nationally.
Prediction: Wisconsin 5-2
#2 Minnesota vs. #3 Ohio State
Saturday, March 7th, 5 PM CT
A lot of back and forth. Not sure what happened in Minneapolis to allow the Buckeyes to get the jump shots-wise, but they clearly found something that worked. Other than the lopsided special teams numbers, again on curiously few penalties, this series was very even.
Minnesota – Amy Potomak. Sarah’s slightly less-heralded sister had the game-winner in both games of a series that was tight early.
Ohio State – Andrea Braendli. With the OSU shooters a bit sluggish in game two, it was the OSU netminder holding things down.
Prediction: Ohio State 3-2