The Wisconsin Selects rode the stellar goaltending of Chloe Lemke and got a timely second period goal from center Hannah Baumann to advance to their first National Championship game in the program’s history, with a 1-0 win over Little Caesars of Michigan. Lemke turned in her second shutout of the tournament making 22 saves. The Selects, in search of their first National Championship, will face-off with the East Coast Wizards at 11:30am Monday in Philadelphia.
In a tight checking contest, both teams were able to sustain offensive zone possession, but the high danger scoring chances were at a premium. Wisconsin’s penalty kill was again a key part of their success as they had to immediately kill off a Baumann penalty just 34 seconds into the game. Sami Federici generated the Selects best scoring chance in the opening period when she got a great backhand pass from Gab du Vair in the slot and had goalie Brooklyn Maddox deked, but the puck just slid past the post. Little Caesars created a late scrum on a powerplay that Lemke covered and Maya Ferracciolo got loose from behind the net, but Lemke made a pad save to keep the game scoreless. Caesars held a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal.
Wisconsin held off an early push as Little Caesars out shot them 5-0 to open the second period. At 8:33 Wisconsin got the scoring chance that would decide the game. Ashley Slupe moved the puck up the wall in the defensive zone and gritty winger Gab du Vair won a board battle and chipped the puck to Baumann in the neutral zone. With Federici driving the middle and du Vair trailing, Baumann carried inside the blue line down the left wing, then calmly snapped a wrist shot into the top corner beating Maddox and giving Wisconsin a 1-0 lead that they would not relinquish. Despite being out shot 8-2 in the period, the Selects had grabbed the lead.
In the first minute of the third period Emma-Lyn Stephenson got a great feed from Tristan Wicklund, but her rising shot hit Maddox in the mask. Addison Gruhlke nearly slipped a puck under her pads late in the period, but Wisconsin could not add to their lead. Meanwhile Lemke was busy shutting down the perennial Michigan powerhouse. She turned away seven scoring chances in the final frame. Anna Wroblewski was denied on a point-blank chance and Ferraciolo had a great look on the powerplay late, but Lemke remained poised and kept the door closed.
Wisconsin will play the East Coast Wizards who defeated the Boston Junior Eagles in a shoot out on Sunday.