MINNESOTA CLAIMS WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF TITLE WITH 2-0 WIN OVER NORTH DAKOTA
Golden Gophers earn title for second straight year

The Gophers claimed the trophy for the second year in a row

MINNEAPOLIS -- Two second-period goals pushed the No. 1/1 University of Minnesota (38-0-0) women's hockey team past No. 7/8 North Dakota (26-10-1), 2-0, to claim the WCHA Final Face-Off trophy for the second year in a row. Minnesota will carry an NCAA-record 46-game winning streak into the NCAA quarterfinals next weekend.

The WCHA All-Tournament team included UND's Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux while Minnesota's Maryanne Menefee, Hannah Brandt, Megan Bozek and Noora Raty were the others. Raty was named the tournament's MVP posting back-to-back shutouts.

North Dakota, 26-11-1 overall, jumped out to a 7-1 advantage in shots in the first period, but Raty was up to the task including robbing Jocelyne Lamoureux on a rebound shot.

Minnesota also missed wide on a few good scoring chances in the opening frame that ended scoreless while UND edged the Gophers 11-10 in shots.

The game's first goal almost came on a fluky play as UND dumped the puck from center ice on net and Raty never saw it until the last second and had to react late to make save. A late penalty in the first period and two in second period swung the momentum in favor of the home team.

On its second power-play of the game, Minnesota had a goal wave off for a high stick. After a very lengthy review the call was confirmed, but only 18 seconds later Bozek found a lane through traffic and past UND netminder Shelby Amsley-Benzie.

North Dakota nearly answered as it had three great chances as Raty gave up a couple rebounds but UND couldn't bury it and sent a third attempt wide on an open net. Minnesota would clear it out of the zone and then Menefee would intercept a breakout pass for an unassisted breakaway goal which proved to be the game's last.

Including its first two power-play attempts of the game in the third period, UND attempted to rally came up short as Raty concluded the game stopping all 30 shots faced to add to her NCAA records for wins (111), career shutouts (43) and single-season shutouts (17). Rty has shut out the Gophers' opponents in her last five games.

"I'm a huge Noora Raty fan,"UND coach Brian Idalski said. "She was terrific again. She slams the door and rises to the occasion on every chance we get. I've only been around here 10 years, but that's the most complete team I've seen."

Almost nearly as impressive was the Gophers defense that blocked 20 shots in the game limiting the opportunities reaching the net.

Amsley-Benzie had a strong game another strong performance for UND making 32 saves off 34 shots in the losing effort.

"That was a hard hockey game," Minnesota coach Brad Frost said. "You could tell North Dakota was playing desperate. They were playing well. We withstood their early pressure and obviously Noora was huge for us all night."


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