Gophers are Golden Again

March 20, 2016
Captains Hannah Brandt and Lee Stecklein hoist the national championship trophy.

Top-ranked Boston College was trying to pull off what only Minnesota had accomplished, just three years ago—going 41-0-0 en route to a national championship. Instead, the No. 3 Gophers upset the Eagles 3-1 March 20 for their second straight national championship and fourth in the last five seasons.

For almost two and half periods, the Gophers clung to a 1-0 lead on a goal scored by Sarah Potomak just 13 seconds into the game. Amanda Kessel then scored what proved to be the game-winner 8:31 into the third period (her 11th goal in 13 games since her unexpected return from a concussion), and when Kelly Pannek scored with 6:48 remaining, the game appeared to be out of reach.

But Boston College scored less than a minute later, setting up a frenzied finish. Amanda Leveille made 32 saves in holding off the top-scoring team in the country.

The Gophers have now won back-to-back NCAA championships for a third time, joining the teams from 2004 and 2005 and 2012 and 2013. But this year’s was a slightly uphill battle. Minnesota, which finished the year 35-4-1, first had to get by No. 2 Wisconsin in the Frozen Four semifinals Friday night—a 3-2 victory on Potomak’s overtime goal. And then the Gophers needed to find a way to defeat Boston College, ranked No. 1 much of the year, playing in its first title game, and with the gaudy 40-0 record. Mission accomplished, and now another trophy and banner for a well-appointed Ridder Arena.

Minnesota has now won an unprecedented seven national championships.