Never underestimate the heart of a champion. Especially one with great goaltending.
With key sweeps this past weekend, Providence men and Minnesota women served notice that wresting their Frozen Four titles from their grips will not be easy.
In a key Hockey East showdown against Notre Dame, Friars’ junior goalie Nick Ellis (right) made 18 of his 34 saves in the third period of Saturday’s 3-1 win over Notre Dame and had 20 more saves in Friday’s 3-2 overtime win. The sweep dropped the Fighting Irish from first to third in the conference standings and gave Providence sole possession of second place with this weekend’s games remaining.
The Friars trail Boston College by two points for the league title and earned a first-round bye with the sweep.
Minnesota senior goalie Amanda Leveille (right) was no less spectacular, turning away 31 shots in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win to go with her 35 saves in Friday’s 4-0 shutout as the No. 3 Gophers swept No. 2 Wisconsin in the regular-season finale for both squads.
Ellis and Levielle take home ASN Hockey Players of the Week honors for their work between the posts.
Leveille outdueled Wisconsin goalie Ann-Renee Desibiens, who entered the weekend with 16 shutouts this season. Leveille’s shut out Friday was the 30th of her career.
Ellis was at his best in the third period of Saturday’s win as Notre Dame stormed the net relentlessly but was stymied on point-blank range shots.
The WCHA women’s playoffs start this weekend, with Wisconsin edging Minnesota by one point for the regular-season lead title. Wisconsin finished 30-3-1 overall, Minnesota 29-3-1.
Aside from each earning sweeps against each other on their home ice, the only blemishes on each record were losses and ties to fellow WCHA rival North Dakota.