Minnesota celebrates its third national championship in four years after defeating Harvard 4-1 at Ridder Arena in March. Photo credit: Brad Rempel, Gopher Athletics.
Another year, another national championship for a college hockey team from the State of Hockey. Last March, the honor returned to the University of Minnesota’s women’s team, which won its third title in four years and record sixth overall. It marked the 11th time in the last 15 years that a team from Minnesota (either men’s or women’s) scored a national championship victory.
The Gophers’ win highlighted the 2015 Division One college hockey postseason.
Photo credit: Eric Miller, Gopher Athletics.
With three third-period goals and more solid goaltending from Amanda Leveille, Minnesota (34-3-4) defeated Harvard 4-1 in the 2015 championship game at Ridder Arena last March.
The Gophers’ Megan Wolfe, Hannah Brandt, Meghan Lorence and Rachael Bona found the back of the Harvard net in the title contest, to overpower a gritty Crimson team known for its defense.
Wolfe’s goal gave the Gophers a 1-0 lead that stood until the 8:50 mark of the third period, when Brandt took a pass from Maryanne Menefee and beat Harvard goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer to give Minnesota a two-goal cushion. Harvard’s Sarah Edney cut the deficit to 2-1 at the 15:06 mark, but the Crimson had their hopes dashed when Lorence scored less than two minutes later, and Bona added an empty-netter with 1:48 to play. Minnesota outshot Harvard 33-20. Brandt was named the Frozen Four’s Most Outstanding Player.
Before facing Harvard, the Gophers, again led by Leveille, held off rival Wisconsin, despite being outshot 35-23. Minnesota scored three goals in the second period (by Brandt, Menefee and Kelly Pannek) to seal the 3-1 victory and earn a fourth straight trip to the title game.
Providence came from behind to score its first national championship, defeating Boston University 4-3 at the 2015 men’s Frozen Four in Boston, Mass.
While much of the talk following the title contest centered on the fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on the point of view) bounces that led to the game-tying goal, it was a memorable back-and-forth battle featuring two excellent teams and some of the best individual talent in college hockey. With 49 saves, many of them clutch stops late in the game, Friars goaltender Jon Gillies earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player honor.
The day before the national championship game, Jack Eichel, Boston University freshman and future National Hockey League draft pick (first round, second overall), was named the winner of the 2015 Hobey Baker Award.
From a State of Hockey perspective, the 2015 NCAA Division One Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament wasn’t as fruitful, as none of the four Minnesota-based teams that qualified made it to the Frozen Four. Top seed Minnesota State lost to Rochester Institute of Technology 3-2 in the opening round. Minnesota Duluth knocked off rival Minnesota 4-1 before dropping a 3-2 decision to Boston University in the second round. St. Cloud State beat Michigan Tech 3-2 before losing 4-1 to North Dakota.
Minnesota State took home the Broadmoor Trophy, winning the WCHA Final Five. The Mavericks superb 2014-15 season was ended by Rochester Institute of Technology, 3-2, in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Photo credit: Minnesota State Athletics.