UND women to play for WCHA title

For the first time in program history, UND is off to play for the WCHA championship.

UND earned the biggest win in program history on Friday afternoon, topping the University of Wisconsin 2-1 in the semifinals of the league tournament at Ridder Arena (see a photo gallery of the game here).

It’s easy to call it the biggest win for several reasons.

First of all, UND has never won a game this late in the season.

Second of all, everything was on the line and everyone knew it. If UND lost this game, its chances of making the NCAA tournament turned to less than 1 percent. Knowing that, UND came out blazing, outshooting UW 9-1 in the opening minutes and 21-10 in the opening two periods.

Third of all, UND had the task of pretty much eliminating UW from NCAA contention for the first time under coach Mark Johnson.

I posted two keys to the game in the Friday morning reading – women’s edition.

1. Get scoring from an unlikely source. Check. The goal from Ashley Furia certainly qualifies. It was only the second of the year for Furia (and the first one came when a Minnesota State goalie inadvertently threw the puck in her own net and Furia was credited for it). Furia tipped home a Tanja Eisenschmid shot for the first goal of the game, which allowed UND to play with the lead almost the whole game.

2. Slow down Brianna Decker. The 2012 Patty Kaz winner went without a point on the night and UND goalie Shelby Amsley-Benzie came up with a huge save in the final seconds of the game on Decker.

A few other notable items came from the contest:

****Jocelyne Lamoureux is now tied for second all-time in NCAA scoring, trailing only Meghan Agosta, who played at Mercyhurst (what would have Jocelyne done playing in the CHA for four years? Yikes).

****Monique is tied for fourth, trailing only Jocelyne, Agosta and Julie Chu. Again, incredible for someone who played over half of her career on defense.

****Jocelyne is up to 81 points on the season — one shy of her single-season program record that she set a year ago.

****Minnesota enters tonight’s WCHA championship game on a 45-game winning streak. Its last loss was to North Dakota in Ridder Arena.

****Since going down 2-1 against Bemidji State a few weeks ago, Minnesota has not allowed a goal. That’s five straight shutouts and a shutout streak of 340 minutes, 56 seconds. Noora Raty’s streak is at 280:56.

****Since the Lamoureux twins have joined the team, UND is now 4-4 all-time at Ridder Arena.

UND is not yet in the NCAA tournament. I think you can safely proclaim them in if Boston College, Boston University and Cornell all win games today. Of, of course, UND could take all the drama out of it by winning the WCHA championship.

The game begins at 7:07 p.m. Darrin Looker will have the call on The Fan 1440 AM and Tom Miller will be covering the game for the Herald.

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