Every weekday from May 23-June 7, we will be looking back at the "Dandy Dozen" moments from the historic 2015-16 WCHA season. Next up on our countdown is…
Moment 3: WCHA Comprises Half of Frozen Four Field
For the third-straight year and the 11th time in the 16-year history of the National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Championship, at least two of the Frozen Four participants were WCHA schools. This past March in Durham, N.H., Minnesota and Wisconsin reprised their Border Battle in a semifinal contest at the Whittemore Center Arena. After playing five times previously in 2015-16 (and with the Badgers winning three times, including in the Final Face-Off championship game two weeks prior), the teams played an epic contest, with Sarah Potomak's overtime game-winner sending the Gophers into the national championship game.
Long a tremendous rivalry filled with some of the greatest players and top teams in the sport's history, the 2015-16 Border Battle series was once again superb. Wisconsin opened with victories in both games at LaBahn Arena in December, using an Annie Pankowski overtime goal to win the opener, before posting a 3-1 victory the second day for its first sweep of Minnesota since the 2009-10 season. The Gophers returned the favor in February in Minneapolis, with Kelly Pannek's overtime winner in the regular season finale giving Minnesota a home sweep. Game five of the season series – and the Final Face-Off crown – went to UW, which received 35 saves from Ann-Renée Desbiens in a 1-0 triumph at Ridder Arena.
This year's Frozen Four contest marked the third-straight year the Gophers and Badgers met in a national semifinal. The two teams traded first-period goals, with freshmen Taylor Williamson (Minnesota) and Sophia Shaver (Wisconsin) both scoring. Emily Clark gave UW a 2-1 lead with 18 seconds remaining before the second intermission; however, the Gophers' Amanda Kessel answered with the equalizer 27 seconds into the third period. Amanda Leveille made 37 saves for Minnesota, while Desbiens recorded 38 stops.
Potomak, the eventual National Rookie of the Year, scored the unassisted winner at the 15:00 mark of overtime to vault Minnesota into its fifth-straight national championship game.
"Dandy Dozen" Moments from the 2015-16 WCHA Season
12: Trio of New Coaches Join WCHA
11: Husky Pride
10: Record-Setting Year in Bemidji
9: The Next Level
8: Final Face-Off Championship Game Aired Live on FOX Sports North
7: Kessel Returns to the Ice
6: Brandt Concludes Historic Career
5: Wisconsin Returns to Top of WCHA Mountain
4: National Award Winners