Terrier Icewomen Lose Bid for First NCAA Championship
Fall 6-3 to undefeated reigning champ Minnesota
In the end, the nation’s top-ranked women’s ice hockey team simply proved too much for the Terrier icewomen. As they struggled valiantly to capture their first NCAA Championship Sunday night at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, the Terriers saw their dreams of a national title evaporate when the undefeated Minnesota Golden Gophers downed them 6-3.
It was BU’s second appearance in a Frozen Four title game in the past three seasons and the first time a Terrier senior class had advanced to the NCAA tournament in each of their four seasons. Minnesota’s win Sunday night was the end to a perfect season for the Gophers, who took all 41 games they played this season.
“I tip my cap to Minnesota,” Coach Brian Durocher (SED’78) said after the game, “and love everything about our team and how they played. I hope people got to see that today. It was a fight to the end, and I thank everybody on our squad.”
The Gophers opened the scoring on the power play midway through the first period. After Kaleigh Fratkin (CGS’12, COM’14) went to the box for cross-checking, the number-one power play in the nation went to work. After some quick passing plays, Mira Jalosuo took a pass from Rachel Ramsey and blasted a shot past goaltender Kerrin Sperry (CAS’14) to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
Just seven minutes later, with the Terriers on a power play, BU turned over the puck and Minnesota had a two-on-one going the other way. Hannah Brandt fired a shot on Sperry, who made the initial stop, but Brandt followed it up and banked it into the net off Sperry’s leg from behind the goal line to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead. It was the freshman’s 33rd goal and Minnesota’s 14th shorthanded goal of the year.
Despite trailing by two late in the first, the Terriers were not to be outdone. With the team still on the power play, Sarah Lefort (CGS’14) found herself alone in front of the Minnesota net. After being denied on a first attempt, Lefort buried the rebound, tallying just 16 seconds after Minnesota and giving the Terriers some reason for optimism.
After relentless pressure by the Gophers throughout the second period, they cashed in late in the frame. After several outstanding stops by Sperry and countless blocks by the defense, Maryanne Menefee dropped the puck off to Amanda Kessel, who fired a shot into the Terrier net to give the Gophers a 3-1 lead.
Minnesota got another chance at net after Terrier cocaptain Jill Cardella (COM’13) was called for elbowing. With less than 15 seconds left in the period, the Gophers wasted no time. Menefee fired a pass across ice to Milica McMillen, who one-timed the puck past Sperry to give Minnesota a commanding 4-1 lead going into the second intermission.
The Terriers came out strong in the third period, earning a power play seconds into the final frame. After Shannon Doyle (CAS’14) shot from the point block, the puck bounced right on the stick of cocaptain Marie-Philip Poulin (SED’14), who blasted it through the five-hole of the Gophers goaltender and cut the deficit to 4-2.
Moments after that goal, Minnesota took another penalty, giving the Terriers a good shot at getting to within one again. Shortly after the power play started, Kessel stole the puck and moved in towards the BU net shorthanded. She made a great move to get around Doyle, but Sperry kicked out a leg, making a crucial save and keeping the Terriers in the game.
BU nearly cut the Minnesota lead to one, but Poulin was stopped point-blank by Noora Räty with the blocker. Shortly after, the Gophers took the puck the other way and after a nice tic-tac-toe passing play, found the back of the net to put Minnesota up 5-2 and ice the game.
The Terriers did score a late goal with less than three minutes left in the game thanks to Jenelle Kohanchuk (SAR’13). The goal, however, proved too little, too late, as Minnesota then put a goal into an empty BU net, quashing the Terriers’ quest for their first national championship.
Poulin said that even being down 4-1 going into the last period, she and her teammates kept fighting. “I think we never gave up. Minnesota has a great team and an amazing goaltender. I think we all fought together and we stood up for each other.”
BU advanced to the NCAA title game after a brilliant 4-1 win over Mercyhurst Friday night in Minneapolis. The Terriers finish their season at 28-6-3—their best to date in the squad’s eight-year history. BU captured both the Hockey East regular season and postseason titles. It was the third time in four years the Terriers won the Hockey East title.1 Comments