Gopher Women's Hockey: Back-to-Back National Champions!
Mar. 24, 2013
After playing in four overtimes through two NCAA tournament games, the University of Minnesota women's hockey left no doubt in defending its 2011-12 Frozen Four championship Sunday, downing Boston University 6-3 to complete a perfect 41-0-0 season and win its fourth NCAA title at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
Minnesota opened the scoring 11:38 into regulation and never looked back.
The game's first quality chance came when BU forward Sarah Lefort blocked a Baylee Gillanders point shot at the 5:40 mark and raced in for a breakaway, but Gopher goaltender Noora Räty reached out for a blocker save to keep the gave scoreless.
The scoring chances were fewer and more far between in the middle stanza until 2012-13 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Amanda Kessel reestablished the two-goal lead for host Minnesota. Maryanne Menefee drove up the right wing into the Terrier zone with just under four minutes to go in the period and pivoted back toward a trailing Kessel, who slapped a quick shot off a short feed past Sperry inside the left post.
Just fewer than 90 ticks later, Janelle Kohanchuk had the opportunity to give BU another quick response, but Räty stretched across the crease to rob the Terrier senior's one-time chance from in tight.
Räty's big save kept the momentum in the Gophers' favor and with 11.8 seconds left in the period, Minnesota capitalized again on the power play to extend its lead. Menefee earned the primary helper once again, sliding a pass through the BU defense to Milica McMillen, who bombed a one-time blast past Sperry to make it a three-goal game heading into the second intermission.
Boston University drew closer with a tally on the man advantage early in the third period, but Menefee found Rachel Ramsey on the backdoor with 4:33 to seal the win. Kessel notched her 100th point of the season with an assist on the play. The Terriers scored again to make it 5-3, but Kessel capped the scoring with an empty-net goal, her fourth point of the afternoon.
Räty, Kessel, Brandt, Poulin, McMillen, and Megan Bozek were named to the all-tournament team as Räty garnered Most Outstanding Players honors with 46 saves on the weekend.
Boston University finished the season 28-6-3 as Minnesota became the third Frozen Four host to win the national championship.