Gophers Poised for Three-Peat
March 22, 2014
HAMDEN, Conn. – No. 1 Minnesota (38-1-1) is set to defend the program’s back-to-back national titles when the Golden Gophers face No. 4 Clarkson (30-5-5) in the 2014 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four national championship game on Sunday. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m. CT at Quinnipiac's High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn.
The national championship will be streamed live at NCAA.com, and fans can follow along with live audio and join the live chat at GopherSports.com. The game also will air live on 105 FM The Ticket in Minneapolis.
The top-seeded Gophers advanced to the Frozen Four title game with a 5-3 semifinal win over Wisconsin. Clarkson defeated Mercyhurst, 5-1, in the second semifinal to advance to the program’s first-ever national championship game.
Minnesota enters the national championship game as back-to-back national champions and is going for its sixth national championship in program history (2000, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2013). The Gophers are on a 26-game unbeaten streak (25-0-1).
NCAA SEMIFINAL REWIND: GOPHERS RALLY PAST BADGERS, 5-3
No. 1 Minnesota rallied past No. 3 Wisconsin in a 5-3 come-from-behind win to advance to the 2014 national championship game. Minnesota scored three unanswered goals in the third period, rallying from 3-2 and 1-0 deficits, and sophomore Amanda Leveille tied her career-best with 34 saves as Wisconsin (28-8-2) outshot the Gophers, 37-28, for the game.
Hannah Brandt and Kelly Terry each had two points on one goal and one assist, and Dani Cameranesi recorded two assists to lead the Gophers. The Gophers trailed 1-0 after one period and 3-2 after two periods but rallied in the third period with three goals to advance to their third-straight national championship game.
NCAA SEMIFINAL REWIND: CLARKSON TOPS MERCYHURST, 5-1
No. 4 Clarkson cruised past Mercyhurst, 5-1, in the second Frozen Four semifinal to advance to the national title game for the first time in program history. The Lakers got on the board first with an early goal, but Clarkson scored five unanswered goals in the second and third periods en route to the 5-1 victory. Senior goaltender Erica Howe recorded 18 saves to earn her 89th career win, and Reneta Fast (1g-1a), Vanessa Gagnon (1g-1a), Jamie Lee Rattray (2a) and Shelby Nisbet (2a) each recorded two points for the Golden Knights.
ABOUT THE SERIES: MINNESOTA VS. CLARKSON
Minnesota owns a 5-0-0 all-time record against Clarkson, including four shutout victories and one 3-2 overtime win in the 2010 NCAA quarterfinal round. All five meetings occurred during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. Most recently, Minnesota swept the Golden Knights on the road to open the 2010-11 season, winning 5-0 and 3-0.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: CLARKSON GOLDEN KNIGHTS
Clarkson (30-5-5) is making its first-ever NCAA Women’s Frozen Four appearance after defeating Boston College, 3-1, in the NCAA quarterfinals. This season, the Golden Knights won the ECAC Hockey regular season title with a 16-2-4 mark in league games. Clarkson is 16-1-3 in the 2014 calendar year but split its last two games entering the Frozen Four, falling to Cornell 1-0 in the ECAC championship game before defeating Boston College in its last game.
Senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray leads the Golden Knights with 64 points (28g-36a). The Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner ranks third in the nation with 1.60 points per game. Sophomore defenseman Erin Ambrose ranks seventh in the nation with 1.35 points per game in 37 games for 50 points (14g-36a) but has missed the Golden Knights’ last three games.
Senior goaltender Erica Howe leads Clarkson in net with a .944 save percentage and a 1.02 goals against average. She has played all 40 games for the Golden Knights and leads the nation with 14 shutouts.
MINNESOTA IN THE NCAA POSTSEASON
Including a semifinal victory over Wisconsin, the Gophers own a 17-8-1 (.673) all-time mark in the NCAA tournament and have five national titles (2000, 2004, 2005, 2012 and 2013). Minnesota is 10-6-1 (.618) in the Frozen Four since 2001.
#GOPHER3: THE QUEST FOR BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK TITLES
Minnesota looks to become just the second NCAA women’s hockey team all-time to win three-straight national championships. Minnesota Duluth won the first three NCAA national titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Both Minnesota (2004 and 2005; 2012 and 2013) and Wisconsin (2006 and 2007) have won back-to-back titles. The Gophers, Badgers and Bulldogs have combined to win all 13 NCAA national crowns since the first year of NCAA women’s ice hockey in 2000-01.