Gophers Win WCHA Tournament Championship with 2-0 Win Over Bulldogs

Go Gophers! Emily West scored in the second period to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead
Go Gophers!
Emily West scored in the second period to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead
Go Gophers!

March 3, 2012

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The Golden Gopher women's hockey team won its first WCHA tournament championship since 2005 with a 2-0 victory over Minnesota Duluth in tonight's title game.

Both teams were scoreless in the first period, and shots on goal were nearly even with 14 for Minnesota and 12 for Minnesota Duluth. Only one penalty was called in the period, giving the Bulldogs a power play in the final minutes of the period. Rachael Bona was called for tripping, and the penalty would be the only one for the Gophers in the game. The Bulldogs had two shots on goal on the power play, but didn't score with the advantage.

Both teams were scoreless through much of the second period as well. The Gophers came back from intermission with a spark, and put eight shots on goal in the first five minutes of the period. Senior Emily West had a breakaway and didn't score, but got a penalty shot, marking the first penalty shot attempt by a Gopher player since the 2007-08 season. West didn't score on the penalty shot. West drew a penalty on UMD's Tea Villila with two minutes left in the period, and she scored on the power play a minute and 16 seconds later to give the Gophers a one-goal lead. Rachel Ramsey and Sarah Davis had assists on the goal. Minnesota outshot the Bulldogs 14-6 in the period.

The Bulldogs outshot the Gophers 10-8 in the final period and had some close scoring chances, but Noora Raty and the Minnesota defense kept Minnesota in the game. With a minute and 36 seconds left in the game, UMD pulled Jennifer Harss from the net for a sixth skater. The Gophers held strong, and sealed the win with an empty net goal with just six seconds left in the game. Megan Bozek got the goal, assisted by Amanda Kessel and Jen Schoullis.

With Emily West and Jen Schoullis each scoring a point in the game, they moved into 10th place on the Gophers' career scoring list with 153 points apiece.

Noora Raty got her 10th shutout of the season and 25th of her career with the win. She has a record of 30-5-2 this season. After not allowing a goal in either WCHA Final Face-off game, she was named the Tournament MVP. Also on the all-tournament team were Sarah Davis, Emily West and Anne Schleper.

Minnesota will await word on NCAA Championship selections, announced tomorrow at 5 p.m. The Gophers have an automatic bid into the tournament with the WCHA Final Face-off win, and will find out their seeding and opponent with tomorrow's announcement.