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2021 NCAA Women's Hockey Tournament: Semifinal Preview

The season has three remaining games. Today we preview the penultimate two, that will set the stage for the National Championship.

Northeastern Athletics/ Jim Pierce

After a rather predictable quarterfinal round we have moved onto the Frozen Four. We have two traditional teams in this round, the Wisconsin Badgers who have a record seven straight appearances and the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs returning after a long time away. The Ohio State Buckeyes are making only their second appearance while the Northeastern Huskies are making their debut.

#1 Northeastern Huskies v. #5 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs - 2PM - ESPN3

How they got here

Northeastern took care of business against the eighth seeded Robert Morris Colonials. After being held close with some outstanding goaltending the Huskies offense took charge in the second half of the game and their superior depth showed.

Duluth took extra time to get their only goal as they beat the fourth seeded Colgate Raiders in Overtime. It was a very evenly matched game but neither team was able to get a lead, though Colgate had an obvious no goal called back.

Expectations

Northeastern is still the top seeded team for a reason. Duluth has history as a program. There has been a mystique when it comes to the WCHA in this tournament, in fact the WCHA has only ever lost once to Hockey East, but none of those games have ever featured NU.

The Huskies have some elite talent up top but also have the depth and the best goalie in the country. Duluth also has some great forwards and a very good goalie, but lack the depth.

Predictions

Northeastern really should win this game. They have more better talent. Duluth has shown they are capable of some great games see their series against Wisconsin that apparently is what got them into the tournament, however, they are capable of some really bad games see their Bemidji State series. In the end the Huskies should be able to put together a better 60 minute product.

Northeastern 3 - Minnesota Duluth 1

#2 Wisconsin Badgers v. #3 Ohio State Buckeyes - 7PM - ESPNU

How they got here

Wisconsin embarrassed the seventh seeded Providence College Friars early, scoring a rather soft goal while holding the Friars without a shot for the entirety of the first period. The rest of the game saw PC have a few opportunities but the Badgers were never really in doubt of advancing.

Ohio State actually gave up the first goal of the game and didn’t score until very late int he second. They would score the final three goals of the game against the sixth seeded Boston College Eagles. They also dominated the shots taking 43 of the last 51 shots of the game.

Expectations

These two teams have been pretty evenly matched all season. Wisconsin won the last meeting in OT to take the WCHA title, but four of the five meetings were decided by a single goal, the Badgers lead the series 3-2.

While Wisconsin probably has more talent, the Buckeyes seem to match up well with Wisconsin. Honestly either one of these teams could easily win.

Predictions

The SBNation poll actually predicted this matchup at the start of the season with the Badgers as the second ranked team and the Buckeyes at third. I could flip a coin and have as much of an idea of who will really win this game. Ohio State is due to get to that next step and I think they want this a bit more.

Ohio State 2 - Wisconsin 1 OT