MINNEAPOLIS — Boston University put together an incredible season, but it couldn’t prevent perfection.
Minnesota bested the Terriers, 6-3, for its second consecutive NCAA women’s hockey championship Sunday at Ridder Arena. The Gophers completed the season with a 41-0-0 record. They extended their NCAA record to 49 straight victories dating to last February.
“Obviously, their record speaks for itself,” said BU senior forward Jill Cardella. “They are 41-0. No team has ever done that. It is hard to say — I guess you have to let the record speak for itself.”
With 8:22 left in the first period, the Gophers drew first blood. Sarah Davis worked the puck from the half-wall to the point, where Rachel Ramsey fed Mira Jalosuo near the top of the left circle. The senior defenseman blasted a one-timer between the pads of Kerrin Sperry to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
The task for BU became even tougher midway through the first period when star center Marie-Philip Poulin went limp after blocking a slap shot. She was helped off the ice, but returned.
“It felt slightly stingy,” Poulin said. “I just wanted to get back in there for my teammates and myself.”
BU went on the power play late in the first, but a neutral-zone turnover cost them. Hannah Brandt threw a shot on net during a 2-on-1 rush. Sperry made the save, but Brandt gathered the rebound from behind the goal and banked it in off Sperry.
The Terriers answered just 16 seconds later. Freshman Sarah Lefort collected a rebound in front of the net and plugged it past Noora Raty to cut the deficit to 2-1. Poulin, still ailing from the blocked shot, was credited with an assist.
But on came the Gophers in the second period. Patty Kazmaier Award winner Amanda Kessel buried a slap shot in the top left corner on a one-timer. On a power-play opportunity, Milica McMillen one-timed a pass home from the right circle to make it 4-1 with just 12 seconds left in the period.
“You could put a bucket of pucks out there, and there’s a lot of people who couldn’t hit one one-timer in that situation, and they had three goals on one-timers,” said BU coach Brian Durocher.
Poulin kept the Terriers within striking distance as she scored a power-play goal 1:48 into the third period. BU hit the post with 10 minutes to play.
Minnesota extended its lead to 5-2 when Maryanne Menefee danced through the zone with some crafty stickwork, feeding Ramsey for an easy backdoor tap-in with less than five minutes left.
Jenelle Kohanchuk powered home a rebound with 2:52 left to pull BU within 5-3 and the Terriers pulled their goalie with two minutes left.
But Kessel added an empty-net goal with 48.9 seconds remaining to seal Minnesota’s perfect season with a national championship.
Poulin was named to the Frozen Four All-Tournament team, along with the Gophers’ Kessel, Brandt, McMillen, Megan Bozek, and Raty (21 saves), who was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
BU finished at 28-6-3, a program record for wins in a season. The team never quit.
“Even [Kaleigh] Fratkin blocked a shot with 20 seconds left, down three goals, so I think that tells the whole story,” Cardella said.