Dodds, Hulslander Lead Hamline to First NCAA Semifinal Berth Ever

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Darby Dodds struck early for two goals and McKenna Hulslander saved several pucks late. This pair -- and several others -- all played key roles as Hamline held off Wis-Eau Claire for a 3-2 win in a first round game in the NCAA D-III women's hockey tournament. The Pipers (21-4-3) will play at  No. 1 Norwich (25-1-3) in a NCAA semifinal game Friday, March 16. 

The Pipers and Blugolds split a pair of games during the regular season with both teams winning on home ice. Wis-Eau Claire won the season opener, 3-0 and HU took a 3-1 decision in December.

This time, Dodds, a senior who had been somewhat in the shadow of highscoring linemates Bre Simon and Sarah Bobrowski during the season took center stage. The Byron, Minn. native grabbed the spotlight early Saturday when she converted a feed from Becca  Zarembinski for a goal 4:45 into the ​​​game. Later in the penalty-filled period, Dodds sent a pass to Bobrowski who gave it right back to her for a shorthanded tally to make it 2-0 after a period. It was Bob rowski's 38th assists of the season, tops among all D-III players. 

Dodds had seven of the Pipers' 20 shots on goal in the game.

Madison Gaffney made it 3-0 80 seconds into the second period. The Blugolds, who defeated host Gustavus Adolphus in three overtimes the night before, battled back to score before the end of the period to make it 3-1 on a goal by Courtney Wittig. Each team had to fight through penalties in the third period. WEC was shorthanded when Mariah Czech broke free and soloed in to cut the lead to 3-2 with 7:50 to play. 

Hulslander and the Pipers stiffened from there, killed off one more penalty and held the Blugolds at bay to earn the win and move on in what has been the best women's hockey season in school history. In all, the freshman had 23 saves, seven in the third period, to improve to 12-1-1 on the season. The 12 wins ties a school record for most wins by a goalie during the season. 

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