2005 NCAA Champions
2004-05 Schedule/Results | Photo Gallery | Darwitz Scores Gamewinner
The Golden Gopher women's hockey team had the same slogan as the year before. Get it Done worked the year before and the 2004-05 team wanted to bring home another national championship. With all but four returning from the championship team, the Gophers were voted the preseason favorite in both the WCHA and national polls. The Golden Gophers started the season with an 15-1-2 mark in the first half of the season, sweeping five WCHA opponents and earning three points from both Minnesota Duluth and Wisconsin. In the second half of the season, Minnesota won the next seven series, including six from the WCHA.
On Feb., 26, the Gophers suffered their first loss of the conference season and only second loss of the year, dropping a 4-2 contest to UMD. Minnesota finished the regular season with an impressive 25-1-2 record in conference play, earning the No. 1 seed in the WCHA tournament championship. Minnesota rolled past Bemidji State, 6-3, and Ohio State, 7-1, placing themselves into the WCHA Championship. The Maroon and Gold jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Wisconsin Badgers scored two goals within the last two minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime. However, in just :19 into the extra stanza, Krissy Wendell scored the game-winning, power-play goal and helped the Gophers to a second-straight tournament championship sweep.
As the No. 1 seed in the first-ever NCAA Regional, the Gophers hosted Providence on March 18. Minnesota trailed 1-0, but lit the lamp six consecutive times to win, 6-1. With the win, the Gophers advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four. In similar fashion as the 2003-04 season, Minnesota faced Dartmouth in the semifinal game. It took just :13 for Natalie Darwitz to score the first goal and 1:59 later to quickly put the Gophers up, 2-0. With her goal in :13, Darwitz set a NCAA record for the fastest goal scored to start a Frozen Four game. Minnesota rattled off five goals in the first period en route for a 7-2 final.
The Gophers would face Harvard for the second straight time in the NCAA Championship game. Minnesota scored three times, only to have the Crimson tie the game. It looked as if the two teams were headed into overtime, but Darwitz put the final touches on another national championship season. With 1:08 remaining, Darwitz scored off a Kelly Stephens rebound as the Gophers held off the Crimson for the second straight year.
Darwitz finished the Frozen Four with a NCAA record nine points. She was named the Most Outstanding Player, while Krissy Wendell and Lyndsay Wall earned all-tournament honors. Darwitz, Wall and Wendell all earned first-team All-America honors, while goaltender Jody Horak was named a second-team All- American. The night prior to the championship game, Wendell was named the 2005 recipient of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the top player in women's college hockey.
Minnesota finished the near perfect season with a 36-2-2 record and were ranked as the top team in the nation for the entire campaign. The Gophers ranked first in numerous categories, including power-play (31.0%), scoring offense and scoring margin.
Back to National Champions
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Catch up on the media coverage about the Golden Gophers at the Frozen Four last week.
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