The last three weeks have been very competitive in the WCHA as all eight teams were fighting for a spot in the WCHA tournament. The Bulldogs have really been playing well the last couple weekends as we picked up a sweep from Minnesota State and a close overtime win against Ohio to send us into the WCHA tournament starting this Friday, March 2nd at Amsoil arena in Minnesota Duluth.
The past couple weekends have been very close for the Bulldogs as we were fighting with Ohio State for home ice advantage. The Bulldogs needed two straight wins against Minnesota State to ensure our home spot for playoffs. Even though we were fighting through a lot of injuries we were able to come out with a 4-1 win the Friday night and a 7-1 win the Saturday night. Saturday night was a milestone for one of the Canadian National Team players – Haley Irwin as she earned her 200th career point scoring the second goal for the Bulldogs that night. This was a very special night for Haley as she celebrated her 200th career point on her senior night as a Bulldog. After the game all the senior player’s parents came onto the ice to celebrate their daughter’s past four years as a Bulldog. It is always a very sad night for the freshman, sophomores and juniors, as it becomes reality that our leaders and our best friends will not be playing with us next season. It’s been pretty tough the past two years saying bye to a lot of our seniors, as they have to head back to their home countries. A lot of Bulldogs come from Europe to play hockey and it is really hard seeing them go.
After sweeping Minnesota State the Bulldogs earned home ice advantage where we faced off against The Ohio State Buckeyes in a best of three series. The winner of this series would have the opportunity to play in the WCHA tournament with 3 other teams to claim the league title. Our series against Ohio was very close! The Friday night we came out with a 4-3 win over Ohio. The second game was even closer. After leading the Buckeyes 3-2 after the 2nd they were able to come back and tie the game with a little over 3 minutes remaining. After 7 minutes of overtime, Shara Jasper, a freshman from Colorado, was able to bury a backdoor goal to send the Bulldogs to the WCHA tournament.
We are very excited to host this tournament at Amsoil arena as it has been held in Minneapolis at Ridder arena for the past 5 years. This is a great opportunity to be able to practice and play on our home ice all week to ensure we are ready for Friday night. The Bulldogs will faceoff against the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers at 4:30pm and the Minnesota Gophers will take on North Dakota at 7:30pm. The winner of each game will move onto the Championship game held on Saturday.