Gophers Clinch WCHA Regular Season Title
Feb. 14, 2014
MADISON, Wis. – The top-ranked Minnesota women's hockey team clinched its eighth Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) regular season title with a 3-2 win over No. 2 Wisconsin in front of a sold-out crowd at LaBahn Arena Friday night.
Freshman Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) scored the game-winning goal with 10:58 remaining in the third period. She buried a tic-tac-toe feed from junior Rachel Ramsey (Chanhassen, Minn.) and senior Bethany Brausen (Little Canada, Minn.) to break a 2-2 tie and give the Gophers their second lead of the game.
"It was an awesome win tonight for our club," head coach Brad Frost said. "I'm really proud of the team. This WCHA title isn't easy to win, and our kids really paid the price here tonight and deserve it."
Wisconsin (23-4-2, 19-4-2-1 WCHA) took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission after Brittany Ammerman scored a power-play goal at 8:37 of the opening frame. The Gophers killed off a 5-on-3 advantage for the Badgers, but UW found the back of the net with the 5-on-4 advantage just as senior Kelly Terry (Whitby, Ont.) emerged from the penalty box.
"We started slow," Frost said. "It was a pretty quick pace out there, but I thought we made some great adjustments in the second and third period and got our feet under us a little bit more and started to play a little better in regards to breaking the puck out and putting more pressure on them."
Bona tied the game at 1-1 at 5:44 of the second period when she fired a shot from left of the goal crease, and it hit a Wisconsin player on its way past UW goaltender Alex Rigsby.
The teams headed into the second intermission locked in a 1-1 tie. The Gophers then took their first lead of the game with a power-play goal by McMillen on a shot through traffic from high in the slot at 3:37 of the third period. Junior Meghan Lorence (Mounds View, Minn.) and Bona picked up assists on the play.
The Badgers quickly tied the game at 2-2 with a goal by Blayre Turnbull at 5:18 of the period from Kelly Jaminski, but Cameranesi and the Gophers regained the lead and held on for their 29th victory of the season.
Sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille (Kingston, Ont.) made 21 saves, while Rigsby stopped 30 shots for the Badgers. Minnesota outshot Wisconsin, 33-23, for the game.
The Gophers and Badgers conclude the series with Wisconsin's "Fill the Bowl" game Saturday night at the Kohl Center. The sold-out game begins at 7:07 p.m. CT.