Amanda Kessel scored two goals and Noora Raty earned her NCAA-record 101st win as the No. 1 University of Minnesota women's hockey team beat No. 10 Minnesota Duluth to clinch its seventh WCHA regular season title. The Golden Gophers (27-0-0, 21-0-0 WCHA) sit atop the standings with 63 points and will host WCHA First Round games in March. With the win, they extended their NCAA-record winning streak to 35 games.
Becky Kortum put the Gophers ahead of the Bulldogs (13-9-3, 12-8-1 WCHA) early with a shorthanded goal at 3:45. The Bulldogs' pass into the zone went right to Lee Stecklein, who passed it back down the ice. Kortum, who was just coming in off the bench, followed the puck into the zone and scored on a breakaway.
Kessel scored her NCAA-leading 35th goal of the season to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead at 8:04 in the second. Megan Bozek passed to Hannah Brandt, who found Kessel with a behind-the-back pass.
The Gophers went up 3-0 early in the third when Sarah Davis flipped a high shot past UMD's goaltender after being set up by Bethany Brausen and Kessel. Then Kessel added a second goal after passing back and forth down the ice with Brandt. Milica McMillen made it 5-0 on a goal set up by Kessel and Davis.
Räty made 24 saves and the Gophers killed four penalties to preserve the shutout. Räty's 37th career shutout gives her sole possession of the NCAA record for career wins. She broke former Mercyhurst goalie Hillary Pattenden's record of 100. Räty now stands two shutouts away from tying the NCAA record in that category.
The Gophers and Bulldogs will conclude their season series tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. at Ridder Arena, and the game will be live on the Big Ten Network.