Gopher Women's Hockey Wins National Championship

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

March 18, 2012

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The Golden Gopher women's hockey team won its third NCAA Championship, and first since 2005, defeating Wisconsin in the title game today at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn. Senior Captain Sarah Erickson tallied two goals, while senior Emily West had two points on a goal and an assist.

Minnesota got on the scoreboard first, as Amanda Kessel scored nine minutes, 45 seconds into the game with an assist from Baylee Gillanders. Less than two minutes later, the Gophers made it 2-0 with a goal by Sarah Erickson, assisted by Sarah Davis and Emily West. Erickson went top side, getting the puck past Badger goalie Alex Rigsby.

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!
Watch video from Saturday's post-game press conference.
Go Gophers!

The Gophers were on the penalty kill for nearly five minutes through the last half of the period, and Wisconsin took advantage. Stephanie McKeough found the net on a power play, bringing the score to 2-1. Hilary Knight and Brooke Ammerman had assists on the goal. Less than two minutes later, Brooke Ammerman scored at even strength to tie up the score, with a delayed penalty. Kessel went to the box, and Kelly Terry joined her one minute later, giving Wisconsin a five-on-three advantage for one minute. The Gophers were able to kill both penalties and only gave up two shots on goal while killing the penalties.

With one and a half minutes remaining in the first period, Emily West took a shot on goal, and was tripped by Wisconsin's Brittany Haverstock. A penalty shot was awarded, and West scored on the penalty shot to bring the score to 3-2 in favor of the Gophers. The penalty shot score was the first by a Minnesota player since January 2008 when Bobbi Ross scored on a penalty shot. It was the first ever penalty shot score in an NCAA Championship game.

The five goals in a period are the most combined goals scored in a single period in an NCAA championship game.

After five goals in the first period, both teams went scoreless in the second period. The Badgers outshot the Gophers 14-7 in the period, but Gopher goalie Noora Raty came up big, time after time. Only one penalty was called in the second period, a roughing call on Gopher Kelly Seeler with just over three minutes remaining in the period. Minnesota successfully killed the penalty, and only allowed two shots on goal during Wisconsin's power play.

The Gophers got an insurance goal when Sarah Erickson scored her second goal of the game, four minutes into the third period. Kelly Seeler had the assist on the goal. Wisconsin outshot the Gophers 20-9 in the final period, but Minnesota's defense held strong. Wisconsin got a power play opportunity with just under three minutes remaining in the game when Emily West was called for holding. The Badgers pulled goalie Alex Rigsby from the net for a full two minutes with a six-on-four advantage. Minnesota's net was peppered with shots during the penalty, but the Gophers were able to successfully kill the penalty. Rigsby did not return to the Badger net when Minnesota returned to full strength, and Jen Schoullis had an open net shot, but didn't score.

Minnesota was able to hold Brianna Decker, the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Award winner, scoreless in the championship game.

Goalie Noora Raty won her 33rd game of the season, the school record for wins in a season. She saved 42 shots in the game and allowed only one goal at even strength.

Four Minnesota players were named to the all-tournament team: Sarah Erickson, Amanda Kessel, Megan Bozek and Noora Raty. Raty was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four.