The two-time defending national champions will begin the opportunity for a third in a different locale: the road.
Minnesota (25-7-5) will face in-state WCHA foe Minnesota Duluth (25-6-5) at AMSOIL Arena at 2 pm CT Saturday. The Bulldogs earned the third seed in the eight-team NCAA Tournament when the bracket was announced Sunday evening.
WCHA regular season and conference tournament Wisconsin is the top overall seed.
The quarterfinal game will be a quick rematch of Saturday's WCHA Final Faceoff semifinal where Minnesota Duluth won 2-1 in double overtime. Whoever wins advances to the Frozen Four in St. Charles, Missouri March 17-19.
Playing away from Ridder Arena ends a streak of Minnesota spending five straight seasons hosting a NCAA Quarterfinal, which get played at home rinks before the neutral site Frozen Four. Not coincidentally the Gophers streak of reaching the national championship (winning four) has happened during that stretch.
Minnesota was swept by UMD in January when the two teams played in Duluth. Patty Kazmaier top-3 finalist Lara Stalder scored 3 goals during that series. She has six in five games against the Gophers this season, including the double OT winner.
Still, the Gophers feel good about its chances in single elimination. Minnesota out-shot the Bulldogs 63-41 and had 20 shots on UMD goalie Maddie Rooney in the first overtime. Sidney Peters made a career-high 39 for the Gophers.
Most of all the two-time defending champions got back captain Dani Cameranesi last weekend. The senior has 18 goals despite playing two games since December 3rd. To put in perspective it took Kelly Pannek (the leading scorer in the nation) until Game 3 of the WCHA First Round to top her as the leading Gopher goal scorer. (Linemate Sarah Potomak also now has 19 goals.)
Cameranesi made her presence known in the WCHA Final Faceoff, putting up 14 shots on goal.