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Bender, Doner Returning to Women's Frozen Four

The Frozen Four is set and will once again feature two players from the North Puget Sound region.

NCAA Women's Frozen Four teams are headed to New England for next weekend's tournament.
NCAA Women's Frozen Four teams are headed to New England for next weekend's tournament.
NCAA via University of New Hampshire

Lexi Bender and Molly Doner are heading back to the Frozen Four.

The North Puget Sound-area players will have a second chance at making it to the national title game as the Boston College Eagles and University of Wisconsin Badgers will play in their respective Frozen Four semifinal games next weekend after they easily took care of their opponents in the quarterfinals of the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Hockey Championships on Saturday.

The Badgers and Eagles failed to advance into last year’s Frozen Four title game in Minneapolis.  Wisconsin, who will play Minnesota in the second semifinal, lost to the Golden Gophers in last year’s semifinal game.  Minnesota claimed the national title two days later over Harvard, who eliminated Boston College in the other semifinal.  Instead of Harvard, who was not in this year’s tournament, it will be the Clarkson University Golden Knights as BC's opponent in Friday's first semifinal game.

The NCAA Division I Women’s Hockey Championship Frozen Four will be held on Friday and Sunday in Durham, New Hampshire at the Whittemore Events Center, located on the campus of the University of New Hampshire.

#1 Boston College 5, #8 Northeastern 1

CHESTNUT HILL, Massachusetts – In a game held at BC’s Kelly Rink at Conte Forum featuring two Boston-area schools, U.S. Olympian Alex Carpenter, Megan Keller, and Haley Skarupa all scored a goal and added two assists and goaltender Katie Burt stopped 20 of 21 shots as the Eagles advanced to its fifth Frozen Four in the past six seasons and will carry their undefeated 39-0-0 record into next weekend.

Carpenter’s three-point afternoon put her on top of the NCAA Division I scoring race with 85 points, just one point ahead of her Olympic teammate, Northeastern senior forward Kendall Coyne (84), who was only able to get a point in the game by scoring a goal and preventing Burt from earning her 14th shutout of the season with 1:40 remaining in the hockey game.

Bender (Snohomish), who was named a member of the conference’s First-Team All-Stars at the Women’s Hockey East Awards banquet back on March 4th, earned a +3 rating and managed to get three shots on goal in Saturday’s win.  This will be her second consecutive, third overall trip to the Frozen Four.  The senior defensewoman currently holds the second-highest career assists record held by BC defensewomen with 75.

Brittany Bugalski saved 33 of 37 shots in the loss.

#2 Wisconsin 6, #7 Mercyhurst 0

MADISON – The Badgers shut out the Lakers at their on-campus LaBahn Arena on Saturday night setting up an NCAA Frozen Four semifinal rematch with Minnesota.   This will be Wisconsin’s ninth overall Frozen Four appearance in the program’s history.

The top goaltender in the country, Ann-Renée Desbiens, stopped all 22 shots to earn her Division I-leading 21st shutout of the season.  She improves her record to 33-3-1 overall and dropped her goals-against average to 0.70.

Wisconsin scored two goals in each period with all six scored by a different Badger player – Sam Cogan and Jenny Ryan (1st period), Sydney McKibbon and Emily Clark (2nd period), and Sarah Nurse and Baylee Wellhausen (3rd period).

Doner, who had some ice time in the win, has been on a scoring drought lately and has not scored a point since November 20th.

#3 Minnesota 6, #6 Princeton 2

MINNEAPOLIS – The defending national champion Golden Gophers will be making their 12th overall Frozen Four appearance since the NCAA began the women’s tournament in 2001.

After Princeton's Jaimie McDonnell surprised everyone inside Ridder Arena by scoring the game's first goal just 29 seconds into the opening contest, Minnesota erupted the rest of the night by scoring six unanswered goals.  All three goals in Minnesota’s first period were either on the power play or during a penalty kill.

U.S. Olympian and senior forward Amanda Kessel, the sister of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Phil Kessel, notched up a hat trick and an assisted on Hannah Brandt's power play goal at 4:47 that tied the game at one.  Kessel would then score during the Golden Gopher penalty kill at 6:01 that gave the Gophers the 2-1 lead and then on the power play at 17:35 that extended lead at 3-1 heading into the first intermission.

Sarah Potomak’s goal at 14:24 of the second period was enough to be the game-winner while Dani Cameranesi and Kessel would score her third of the night late in the period to seal up the game.

The Tigers' Molly Contini would cap off the night's scoring with just three seconds remaining in the game.

Amanda Leveille stopped 25 of 27 shots to earn the win for Minnesota.  Kimberly Newell stopped 37 of 43 shots in the loss for Princeton.

#5 Clarkson 1, #4 Quinnipiac 0

In the only upset of the tournament, the Golden Eagles’ Renata Fast lived up to her last name by needing the first ten seconds of the hockey game to seal the win in unassisted fashion beating out Bobcats goaltender Sydney Rossman.  It is being called the fastest goal ever to be scored in NCAA women's hockey tournament history regardless of gender nor division-level of play.

Shea Tiley stopped all 14 Bobcat shots for the Clarkson win.  Rossman saved 28 of 29 shots for the loss.

This will be Clarkson’s second ever trip to the Frozen Four in the program’s history and will face off with Boston College in the first semifinal.  The Golden Eagles won their first national championship in its first-ever trip just two years ago when they beat Minnesota, 5-4.

NCAA Division I Women’s Frozen Four

Friday March 18th

1 pm – Boston College vs. Clarkson

4 pm – Wisconsin vs. Minnesota

Sunday March 20th

11 am – National Championship Game