Either St. Thomas or Hamline will be playing for the NCAA Division III hockey championship on Saturday at St. Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights.
That’s because both the top-ranked Tommies and No. 4 Pipers won national quarterfinal games on Saturday. St. Thomas (25-1-2) rallied from a one-goal deficit entering the third period to beat Wisconsin-Eau Claire 4-3 at St. Thomas Ice Arena, while Hamline (22-3-3) got a hat trick from Molly Garin to beat Wisconsin-River Falls 5-1 at TRIA Rink in St. Paul.
The Tommies and Pipers will meet at 7 p.m. Friday in the Division III Frozen Four at St. Thomas Ice Arena. They have played three times this season, with St. Thomas winning two, including the MIAC playoff championship on March 2.
In the other semifinal, Adrian will meet Plattsburgh State at 3 p.m. Friday. The final is 7 p.m. Saturday.
Against Eau Claire, St. Thomas tied the score 2-2 at 4:01 of the third period on a goal by Sarah Moy and took the lead at 5:32 on Anna Erickson’s goal. Rachel Werdin added an empty-net goal with 29 seconds left for a 4-2 lead before the Blugolds’ Courtney Wittig scored with 15 seconds to play. Mackenzie Torpy made 29 saves for the Tommies.
Hamline advanced to the national semifinals for the second consecutive season by jumping a 3-0 lead over River Falls on a pair of goals by Garin and a shorthanded tally by Bre Simon, who also had three assists. Jaela O’Brien made 25 saves for the Pipers.
NCAA Division III men
Augsburg’s season ended in the NCAA quarterfinals on Saturday when the Auggies lost 4-3 in overtime to defending national champion St. Norbert in DePere, Wis.
Dominic Sacco scored 2:19 into overtime as the Green Knights (23-4-3) eliminated the Auggies (21-4-3) for the fourth consecutive year in the NCAA tournament. Augsburg led 3-1 at 12:27 of the third period after goals by Tommy Carey, Eric Brenk and Jason Kyrch, but St. Norbert rallied with goals by Riley Christensen and Roman Uchyn, the latter with 1:11 left in the third. Nick Schmidt made 36 saves for Augsburg, which was outshot 40-22.