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Andy Greder / St. Paul Pioneer Press, Published March 23 2014

Gophers women’s hockey stunned by Clarkson in NCAA title game

HAMDEN, Conn. – The University of Minnesota women’s hockey players wore their white sweaters to the ball, but left stunned by a Cinderella.

After wearing their alternate gold jerseys for the 2013 triumph at Ridder Arena and the road maroon jerseys in the 2012 title win, top-seeded Minnesota wanted to win a third straight title, but this time, in their home jerseys.

Clarkson, making its first NCAA title game appearance, spoiled the party with a 5-4 upset.

Clarkson became the first non-WCHA team to win a title. In the process, they ruined Minnesota’s attempt to join Minnesota-Duluth (2001-03) as the only NCAA programs to win three straight titles.

Vanessa Plante gave Clarkson a 4-3 lead at 11 minutes, 32 seconds in the third period and Shannon MacAulay made it 5-3. Minnesota defenseman Baylee Gillanders narrowed it to 5-4 with 3:41 left.

The title game had more suspense than style points as the top-seeded Gophers had to struggle against the upstart Golden Knights.

The Gophers trailed 3-1 only 38 seconds into the second period, but rallied behind a power-play goal from Maryanne Menefee and a game-tying goal from Rachael Bona to make it 3-3 going into the third period.

The Gophers tried to show some fashion sense and that white jerseys would go with accessories.

Photos inside Ridder Arena show the Gophers wearing their alternate gold jerseys after they won it all in 2013. They had on their road maroon jerseys on during the 2012 triumph.

The color scheming in picking white was intended so “it looks pretty nice on the wall,” coach Brad Frost said.

Clarkson scored three goals in 2:01 of ice time over the first and second periods to take a 3-1 lead.

The Gophers tied it with goals from Maryanne Menefee and Rachael Bona. The officials reviewed and allowed Bona’s goal at 7:57. The Gophers outshot the Golden Knights 14-5 in the second period.

For the second time in the Women’s Frozen Four, the Gophers trailed after the first period. In the previous 36 games, the Gophers trailed only three times after the opening 20 minutes.

The Gophers took the game’s first lead off a goal from captain Sarah Davis at 9:40 in the first period.

The Golden Knights answered with two goals in the final 1:30 of the first period.

Christine Lambert scored in a scrum in front of Gophers goalie Amanda Leveille at 18:37. Just over a minute later, Shelby Nisbet gave Clarkson the lead at 2-1. Nisbet’s goal came during a delayed penalty on Minnesota and only 20 seconds before the end of the period.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, M, Davis (Bona) 9:40. 2, C, Lambert (MacAulay) 18:37. 3, C, Nisbet (Shields, Mercer) 19:40 (ex).

SECOND PERIOD: 4, C, Rattray (MacAulay, Styner) :38 (pp). 5, M, Menefee (Cameranesi, Terry) 6:09 (pp). 6, M, Bona (Wolfe, Schipper) 7:57.

THIRD PERIOD: 7, C, Plante (Gagnon, Rattray) 11:32. 8, C, MacAulay 16:19. 9, M, Gillanders (Terry) 16:19.

SAVES: C, Howe 11-12-11–34. M, Leveille 8-4-11–23.


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