A year ago today, the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team was basking in the glory of a National Championship win over Wisconsin. Just three days removed from an eight game winning streak that brought the program its third overall national title and first since 2005 — the team was flying high.
For weeks after the win, players and coaches alike were taking to Twitter and adding the hashtag #nattychamps to every post on the social media site. The fun and clever tweets by the team were a nice touch to continue to celebrate their run to the championship.
Now the team is two games away from #nattychampsX2
Friday the Golden Gophers will play host to the 2013 Women’s Frozen Four at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. The Gophers will take on the No. 4 seed Boston College Eagles at 5:00 p.m. CT.
It is the continuation of a historic run for the team that has not lost since Feb. 17, 2012. The eight games to end last season to go along with 39 wins this year has their streak at 47 straight games.
The Eagles come in to the Frozen Four after beating this year’s Harvard team 3-1 in the NCAA Quarterfinals. BC is built on a good young crop of scorers lead by sophomore Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) and strong senior goaltending from Corinne Boyles (Wheaton, Ill.).
They also are strong on the power play ranking No. 3 overall in the nation behind Minnesota and North Dakota. The team averages the second most goals overall in the country behind the Gophers and ranks No. 8 overall in goals allowed at just under two per game.
To be honest they sound like a mini version of what Minnesota has been this year. BC at one point in the middle of the season went unbeaten in 18 straight games themselves. Yet the team finished as the No. 2 team in the Hockey East Conference behind Boston University.
The Terriers of BU will play in the second Frozen Four Semifinal at 8:00 p.m. CT versus Mercyhurst.
With just six losses on the season the Gophers better not overlook the Eagles. The team led by head coach Katie King Crowley is making their third NCAA Tournament appearance in six years.
Though a WCHA school has won every sanctioned NCAA women’s ice hockey championship that doesn’t mean the inscriber can start spelling M-I-N-N-E-S-O and expect to get an early jump on their weekend plans.
It should be an exciting game from Ridder Arena in front of a sold out home crowd for the Gophers. The Gophers are in prime position to make some more history if they get through BC and then the BU/Mercyhurst winner.
Minnesota would become only the second team ever — men’s or women’s to ever go undefeated in a single season to win the National Championship. The Gophers would join the 1970 Cornell Big Red team that went 29-0-0 on their way to the crown.
With a team full of stars led by the Patty Kazmaier Award finalist trio of Amanda Kessel, Megan Bozek, and Noora Raty to team should be well rested after their triple overtime win in the NCAA Quarterfinals versus UND.
It helps when the U of M is on Spring Break and the team can sleep in and dream about warm sunny beaches and tropical getaways.
Maybe this season if the Maroon and Gold can complete the unblemished season, they would earn that tropical vacation to Washington, D.C. and to the White House. A vacation that they did not get to take after last season’s National Championship win.