Minnesota is America’s “State of Hockey” and this season has proven it true regardless of which sex you are talking about. On Sunday afternoon the University of Minnesota’s women’s hockey program captured its sixth NCAA national championship with a 4-1 over Harvard.
It was also a rare feat, as the Gophers captured the national title in front of a sold-out home crowd at Ridder Arena. Minnesota and Harvard aren’t strangers to this stage either, meeting in the 2004 and 2005 finals. Just like those previous meetings, the Gophers took this one going away.
With the title win, a Big Ten team has now captured a national championship for the fifth time this academic year.
With the 2015 championship, Minnesota now owns a collegiate record six national titles. The Gophers (six) combine with Minnesota Duluth (five), Wisconsin (four) and Clarkson (one) to win all 16 national titles since 2000. Minnesota has one three titles in the last four years (2012, 2013, 2015) and finished as national runners-up a year ago.
“I think I’m in the midst of something really special,” said Minnesota head coach Brad Frost, via USCHO.com. “Like I said earlier, I don’t know what is going on, but being a person of faith, I know that God has a plan, and I said that a couple of years ago. … We have unbelievable kids. We don’t talk a lot about winning; we talk about the process, and we end up winning three national championships in the last four years. It’s kind of ironic how that works.”
The Gophers led from wire-to-wire in this one with Megan Wolfe putting Minnesota on top 1-0 in the late first period. Her shot from the left circle beat Harvard’s Emerance Maschmeyer glove-side.
Minnesota didn’t secure the victory until late in the contest as two goals came in the final minutes for the Gophers.
Hanna Brandt scored the game-winning goal at the 8:50 mark of the third period, but Harvard was able to respond back to cut Minnesota’s lead to one goal around eight minutes later. Harvard’s Sarah Edney netted the goal at the 15:05 mark of the period.
However, the Gophers slammed the door shut with goals from Meghan Lorence at the 16:54 mark and Rachael Bona less than two minutes later.
Minnesota pestered Harvard’s Maschmeyer with 33 shots, and had a 33-20 advantage in shots on goal for the day.