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March 5, 2013
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And Then There Were Four; 2013 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF Championship Features Unbeaten Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Ohio State March 8-9 at Ridder Arena
Friday Semifinals Feature No. 2 Seeded Badgers vs No. 3 Seeded North Dakota, No. 1 Seeded, Defending FINAL FACE-OFF Champion Golden Gophers vs No. 4 Buckeyes; Championship Game Set for Saturday Evening; All Tournament Games to Be Streamed Live at WCHA.com; Tickets for FINAL FACE-OFF Available Via Gopher ticket Office at 1-800-U-GOPHER or Online at mygophersports.com; UM Stretches NCAA-Record Winning Streak to 44 Games; Six WCHA Players Among 10 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Finalists; Latest Division 1 National Polls for March 4 Have Minnesota No. 1, Wisconsin No. 6/8, North Dakota No. 7/8
Minnesota hopes to defend its WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF title

MADISON, Wis. – The four survivors of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's first round of post-season play converge on Minneapolis and Ridder Arena this Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, for the 2013 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF, an annual showcase of the best women's teams in the country.

This year's field features three nationally-ranked Top 10 teams, including defending national champion and regular season WCHA champion Minnesota, which is in the midst of an unprecedented 44-game winning streak, along with Wisconsin, North Dakota and Ohio State. Six of the 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, which goes to the best women's college hockey player, will be in action in the tournament.

Two semi-finals will be played on Friday (March 8) when No. 3 seed North Dakota (25-10-1) faces No. 2 seed Wisconsin (23-9-2) at 4:07 pm CT followed by No. 5 seed Ohio State (19-14-3) against No. 1 seed Minnesota (36-0-0) at 7:07 pm CT. All four FINAL FACE-OFF teams swept their first round, best-of-three WCHA playoff series.

Friday's winners will then play for the league championship on Saturday (March 9) at 7:07 pm CT. The winner of the WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF receives the league's automatic qualifier berth in the eight-team NCAA tournament. Minnesota is the defending FINAL-FACE-OFF champion.

All WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF games will be streamed live (at no charge) on the WCHA Website (at ). Jack Swanson and Laura Halldoson will provide play by play and color.

Wisconsin owns a 37-3-1 overall record against North Dakota and the Badgers have won 12 of the last 14 meetings. In postseason play, Wisconsin is undefeated against North Dakota (5-0), having played UND twice in WCHA first-round playoff series (2006, 2007) and once in the Final Face-Off semifinals (2011). The Badgers went 3-1 against North Dakota this season, sweeping UND at LaBahn Arena (Dec. 8-9) and splitting at Ralph Engelstad Arena (Jan. 18-19).

The Badgers advanced to the FINAL FACE-OFF after sweeping St. Cloud State by scores of 5-0 and 4-1 in the first-round of WCHA playoffs, March 1-2. In extending their winning streak to eight games, 10 Badgers recorded points in the series. Madison Packer led the Badgers with two power-play goals and four assists and Brianna Decker chipped in five points on the weekend.

Ohio State allowed the first goal of the series to Minnesota-Duluth, and then the visitors scored seven of the remaining eight goals in the playoff series, advancing to the Twin Cities with 4-2 and 3-0 wins. Tina Hollowell had three points in last Saturday's win and a four-point series overall while defenseman Sara Schmitt had three assists in the series and Chelsea Knapp backstopped both wins. The Buckeyes reach their first WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF since 2010, while the Bulldogs miss out on the event for the first time.

The Buckeyes will face Minnesota, which used a pair of record-setting shutouts by Noora Räty in 5-0 and 8-0 first round playoff defeats of Bemidji State. Räty now has 41 career shutouts, an NCAA record, and she is also the NCAA record holder for shutouts in a season (15).

All eight WCHA-member teams have completed their respective non-conference regular season slates for 2012-13. And through 42 non-conference games, WCHA teams are an impressive 30-8-4 against other Division 1 opponents for a .762 winning percentage. The WCHA is 6-4-4 vs. Hockey East, 6-2 vs. ECAC and 18-2 vs. College Hockey America.

In the latest USCHO.com Women's Division 1 College Hockey Poll issued March 4, unbeaten Minnesota continued as a unanimous No. 1, Wisconsin was at No. 6 and North Dakota was at No. 8.

And in this week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Women's Division 1 College Hockey Poll issued on March 5, Minnesota was No. 1, North Dakota was No. 7 and Wisconsin was No. 8.

This Week in the WCHA

2013 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF @ Ridder Arena, Minneapolis, MN

Games for Friday, March 8: Semifinal: No. 3 North Dakota vs No. 2 Wisconsin, 4:07 pm CT (NC); Semifinal: No. 4 Ohio State vs No. 1 Minnesota, 7:07 pm CT (NC).

Games for Saturday, March 9: Championship Game: North Dakota/Wisconsin winner vs Ohio State/Minnesota winner, 7:07 pm CT (NC)

Last Week in the WCHA

WCHA Playoffs • First Round • Best-of-Three

Results of Friday, March 1: Ohio State 4 at Minnesota Duluth 2 (NC); Minnesota State 1 at North Dakota 6 (NC); Bemidji State 0 at Minnesota 5 (NC); St. Cloud State 0 at Wisconsin 5 (WCHA).

Results of Saturday, March 2: Ohio State 3 at Minnesota Duluth 0 (OSU wins series 2-0); Minnesota State 1 at North Dakota 8 (NC) (UND wins series 2-0); Bemidji State 0 at Minnesota 8 (NC) (UM wins series 2-0); St. Cloud State 1 at Wisconsin 4 (NC) (UW wins series 2-0).

Tickets Available for 2013 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF Playoff Championship at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis March 8-9

Single session tickets for the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association's FINAL FACE-OFF went on sale beginning Monday, March 4. The playoff championship tournament will be held at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn., this Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, and involves three of the top-rated team in the county, including unbeaten and defending national champion Minnesota.

Two semi-finals will be played on Friday (March 8) when No. 3 seed North Dakota (25-10-1) faces No. 2 seed Wisconsin (23-9-2) at 4:07 pm CT followed by No. 5 seed Ohio State (19-14-3) against No. 1 seed Minnesota (36-0-0) at 7:07 pm CT. Friday's winners will then play for the league championship on Saturday (March 9) at 7:07 pm CT. The winner of the WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF receives the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Division 1 Women's Ice Hockey Tournament.

Ticket prices for single sessions are:
Reserved Chairback: $12.00
Adult General Admission Bench: $10.00
Student/Youth/Senior General Admission: $5.00
Group (15+): $5.00

All session tickets, which include the two semifinal games on March 8 and the championship game on March 9, are also available by calling the Gopher Ticket Office at 1-800-U-GOPHER or online at MyGopherSports.com.

All-session ticket prices for the 2013 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF are:
Reserved Chair Back: $20
General Admission/Bench: Adult $18; Student/Youth/Senior $15