Regardless of falling wanting a nationwide title, Minnesota completed loads this season.
Sixty minutes was not sufficient for Friday evening’s Nationwide Collegiate Athletic Affiliation (NCAA) Frozen 4 semifinal sport, the Gophers’ final of the season. .
The 2 Western Collegiate Hockey Affiliation (WCHA) powerhouses, Minnesota and Wisconsin, had yet one more thrilling matchup to find out which crew would advance to the nationwide title sport and which crew would go dwelling.
Previous to time beyond regulation, the Gophers had been trailing for greater than half of the third interval and wanted to discover a method to rally again and tie the sport.
Discussing what Minnesota might do to internet the equalizer, ice-level reporter Hilary Knight stated on the ESPN+ broadcast, “get a great bounce — you simply want pucks on internet.”
Enter Madeline Wethington. Instantly after Knight’s remark, the senior defender blasted a shot from the purpose that deflected off of a Wisconsin defender and previous goaltender Cami Kronish to tie the sport.
Time expired a couple of minute later, and the 2 groups headed into time beyond regulation.
Regardless of the unbelievable comeback effort from the Gophers with Wethington’s late game-tying purpose, Wisconsin nonetheless emerged victorious.
Within the closing minutes of the primary time beyond regulation, Jesse Compher discovered Caroline Harvey in a chief capturing place on the high of the appropriate circle. The All-American Wisconsin freshman made no mistake; Harvey delivered the season-ending blow with a top-shelf shot to beat Minnesota goaltender Skylar Vetter.
A season to be pleased with
No matter their shortcomings within the Frozen 4, Minnesota’s 2022-23 season was one with many particular person and crew accomplishments.
The Gophers achieved 30 wins for the primary time because the 2018-19 season and the seventh time with Brad Frost as head coach.
“We’re very pleased with the season we had,” Frost stated in a press e mail.
Nevertheless, 30 wins was not the best crew accolade; the Gophers dominated the WCHA match and claimed their first convention title because the 2017-18 season.
The crew additionally returned to the Frozen 4 for the primary time since 2018-19. Though the crew didn’t carry dwelling the trophy, this season was a step in the appropriate course for the longer term.
Acquainted fifth-year faces depart
With each season finish comes the departure of graduating gamers.
The Gophers must say goodbye to 9 fifth-year gamers, seven of which have performed at Minnesota since their freshman 12 months.
Catie Skaja, Gracie Ostertag, Taylor Heise, Grace Zumwinkle, Crystalyn Hengler, Emily Oden and Abigail Boreen will all transfer on after 5 seasons with the crew.
Each Heise and Zumwinkle completed their collegiate careers within the Prime 10 of level scoring in Gopher historical past. Moreover, each have been Prime 10 finalists for the 2023 Patty Kazmaier Award. Heise gained the award final season, changing into the primary Gopher to take action since Amanda Kessel in 2013.
Heise, Zumwinkle and Oden reside in first, second and third place, respectively, in video games performed as Gophers. Boreen and Hengler additionally maintain Prime 7 spots in that very same record.
Initially, it could be troublesome adjusting to the losses. Nevertheless, there are a lot of returning gamers that Gopher followers can sit up for.
The longer term is vibrant in Minneapolis
Wanting forward, sophomore Abbey Murphy was second in NCAA purpose scoring with 29 objectives and was named the WCHA Ultimate Faceoff’s most excellent participant.
Fellow sophomore Ella Huber had an unbelievable season as nicely, tallying 29 factors in 37 video games. Sophomore netminder Vetter had an impressive 12 months, incomes a spot on the All-WCHA Third Crew along with recording seven shutouts.
There’s lots of upside with first-years Josefin Bouveng, Madison Kaiser and Nelli Laitinen, who all improved considerably all through the season. Laitinen was additionally named to the WCHA All-Rookie Crew.
Minnesota’s 2023-24 season is not going to be wanting alternatives for redemption — this season’s accomplishments present promise for this system’s future.