Becca Zarembinski and Bre Simon scored goals 50 seconds apart in the opening 2:25 of the contest and freshman Jaela O'Brien had a 25-save shutout as No. 4-ranked Hamline knocked off No. 1-ranked St. Thomas 3-0 in Friday night's Division III Women's Hockey semifinal game on the Tommies' home ice in Mendota Heights.
Hamline (23-3-3) advanced to Saturday's 7 p.m. Central time championship game against No. 2-ranked Plattsburgh State (28-2), a 4-1 winner over Adrian.
St. Thomas (25-2-2) took its first shutout loss in 62 games dating back to February 2017
The Tommies played Friday night without All-America goalie Kenzie Torpy, who injured her knee during practice Thursday.
Torpy tested the injury in the Friday morning workout but soon realized she would be unable to compete this weekend. The senior had played all but 57 of the team's 1700 minutes in goal through the first 28 games. Torpy broke the conference record with 69 career wins and allowed just 25 goals in 28 season games before Friday.
Coach Tom Palkowski said the injury will keep Torpy sidelined again in Saturday afternoon's third-place game against Adrian.
Freshman Eryn Cooley, who played just 52 minutes of college hockey before Friday, started in goal. After the early flurry had St. Thomas on its heels, Cooley battled and helped St. Thomas stay in the contest. She finished with 29 saves.
The Pipers scored a power-play goal after a breakaway try as Madison Kolbow connected midway through the second period. O'Brien had 17 second-period saves to help keep the Tommies frustrated.
St. Thomas hit the cross bar once and went 0-for-3 on power-play tries.
Not only is it the first time a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's hockey team will play in a national championship contest, it's the first time a Hamline team will compete in a Division III title game in any sport. The Pipers took third place in women's hockey in 2018 with an overtime win over Plattsburgh State on the final day.