Gophers Fall Just Short of Three-Peat
March 23, 2014
HAMDEN, Conn. - The two-time defending national champion Golden Gopher women's hockey team fell just short of a three-peat as Clarkson skated to a 5-4 win over Minnesota in the 2014 NCAA Women's Frozen Four national championship game at Quinnipiac's High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn., Sunday afternoon.
Minnesota (38-2-1) fell behind 3-1, rallied to tie the game at 3-3, but again fell behind by two goals at 5-3 late in the third period. The Gophers came within one but could not recover.
"We talk all the time about what success is," head coach Brad Frost said. "It's easy to say what success is when you're winning, but success for us is the embodiment and fulfillment of our values of being tough, grateful, disciplined and devoted.
"Hopefully we win a lot of games along the way - and we did. Unfortunately, we didn't win the biggest one here, but our kids were successful. They were so successful this year. Our culture and are team are just awesome. I'm so proud to be a part of it."
With the win, Clarkson (31-5-5) earned its first national title in any sport and became the first non-Western Collegiate Hockey Association team to win a women's hockey national championship. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth combined to win the first 13 national titles in NCAA women's ice hockey.
The Gophers got on the board first when senior Sarah Davis (Paradise, N.L.) scored midway through the first period, but Clarkson responded with two goals in the final 90 seconds of the period and a third in the opening 40 seconds of the middle frame to take its first two-goal lead of the game.
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead when Davis won a faceoff to Bona in the Clarkson end, and Bona fed it back to Davis, who buried her 20th goal of the season at 9:40 of the first period.
The Golden Knights turned up the pressure late in the first period and scored two quick goals in the final 90 seconds. Christine Lambert solved sophomore goaltender Amanda Leveille (Kingston, Ont.) at the 18:37 mark of the frame before Shelby Nisbet gave Clarkson the lead on a delayed-penalty goal with the extra attacker with just 19.5 seconds remaining in the period.
Clarkson extended its lead to 3-1 in the opening 22 seconds of the second period with a power-play goal by 2014 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner Jamie Lee Rattray.
The Gophers played a strong second period and tied it up 3-3 on goals by sophomore Maryanne Menefee (Lansing, Mich.) and Bona. Menefee capitalized on Minnesota's third power play of the game at 6:09 before Bona scored her 23rd goal of the year at 7:57 of the middle frame.
The teams took a 3-3 tie into the third period before Clarkson regained the two-goal lead. Vanessa Plante scored off a play set up by Rattray at 11:32 before Shannon MacAulay, who led the Golden Knights with three points, scored the game-winner on a breakaway off a turnover at neutral ice.
Senior Baylee Gillanders (Kyle, Sask.) brought the Gophers within one with her second goal of the Frozen Four with less than four minutes remaining, and Minnesota took its timeout and pulled Leveille with 1:04 to go. The Gophers could not find the equalizer, and the Golden Knights came away with the 5-4 win.
Bona, Menefee and Gillanders were named to the Frozen Four all-tournament team, joining Clarkson's Rattray, Renata Fast, and Howe in collecting honors. Rattray was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
With Minnesota's three-peat hopes dashed by the Golden Knights, Minnesota Duluth remains the only women's hockey team to complete a national championship three-peat as the Bulldogs claimed the first three NCAA women's hockey titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Minnesota (2004 and 2005; 2012 and 2013) and Wisconsin (2006 and 2007) have each won back-to-back titles.
The conclusion of the 2013-14 season means the Gophers will say farewell to their four seniors, Bethany Brausen (Roseville, Minn.), Davis, Gillanders and Terry. The quartet makes up one of the most successful classes in Gopher women's hockey history, compiling a 139-17-5 (.879) record during their four years with the Golden Gophers.