MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - The top-seeded Minnesota women's hockey team secured the program's 11th NCAA Frozen Four appearance with a 6-2 victory over the RIT Tigers at Ridder Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Gophers were lead by Hannah Brandt and Kate Schipper with three points each.

Photo courtesy: gophersports.com
Photo courtesy: gophersports.com

Minnesota (32-3-4) took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission after scoring two goals in the opening five minutes. The Gophers added two power-play tallies in the second period, and the teams exchanged goals in the third.

"When you get shut out last week, we've had a long week waiting for this one," head coach Brad Frost said. "To score early and to be able to extend the lead was big.

"I think the magnitude of the game is what really brought out the best in our players. They knew RIT was going to come out extremely hard, and they did just that."

The Gophers took an uncharacteristic seven penalties for 36 penalty minutes, including two game misconducts, but held RIT to one-for-five with the man advantage while scoring three power-play goals of their own.

"Our power play all night was obviously a huge momentum thing for us, especially with some of the major penalties that we got, so to extend the lead there was big for us."

RIT (15-19-5) was led by Carly Payerl and Emilee Bulleid, who combined on both of the Tigers' goals. Ali Binnington made 46 saves for RIT as the Gophers outshot the Tigers, 52-19.

The win secured Minnesota's fourth-straight and 11th overall trip to the NCAA Women's Frozen Four. The Gophers improved to 8-2-0 in NCAA quarterfinal games as well.

"When you know the Frozen Four is sold out three months ago and we haven't even made it there yet - there's some pressure on the kids to get there," Frost said. "Now that we're there, I know that we'll play very free and they're very excited about the opportunity."

Boston College, Wisconsin and Harvard join Minnesota to make up the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four field. The Gophers face No. 4 seed Wisconsin at either 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. CT next Friday, March 20. Boston College and Harvard face off in the other semifinal, and the national championship game is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT Sunday, March 22.

No. 2 seed Boston College defeated Clarkson, 5-1, and No. 4 seed Wisconsin defeated Boston University also by a score of 5-1. No. 3 seed Harvard shut out Quinnipiac, 5-0.

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