BEMIDJI, Minn. --
Minnesota used two power-play goals to defeat the University of North Dakota women's hockey team, 3-1, on Saturday night in the WCHA Final Face-Off championship game at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn.
Goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie needed to play her best hockey of the year, and she did just that to provide UND with a fighting chance. Amsley-Benzie turned away a total of 41 shots, including 17 in the second period alone. On the weekend, she made a total of 76 saves and only conceded the two power-play goals to Minnesota in the championship game.
UND got on the board first its own power-play goal early in the second. Michelle Karvinen’s blast from the point was blocked away in front, but Josefine Jakobsen was there to pick up the rebound for North Dakota. It was the first power play of the weekend for North Dakota, and would remain the only man advantage it would get all game.
The Gophers responded with an offensive surge, and tied it up on their second power play of the game midway through the second period. Rachel Ramsey’s got a shot through traffic that found an opening just inside the right post. Minnesota scored three minutes later on another power play, to take a 2-1 lead.
Despite outshooting UND 19-6 in the second period, Minnesota could not find a way to beat Amsley-Benzie during even strength play. The strong play by Amsley-Benzie ensured UND only had a one-goal deficit to fight back from to start the third period.
North Dakota, looking to tie things up, came out strong in the final period of play and came close on several chances. Unfortunately, UND could not find an answer, before the Gophers scored an empty-net goal to secure the win with 1:16 remaining.
UND forward Meghan Dufault, who scored the game-winner against Wisconsin in the semifinals, and defenseman Tanja Eisenschmid, who assisted on the lone goal against Minnesota, were both named to the WCHA Final Face-Off All-Tournament Team.