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University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Women's Hockey NCAA Division 1 Champions 2016

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Team Roster

Hannah Brandt, Amanda Kessel, Amanda Leveille, Sarah Potomak, Lee Stecklein, Megan Wolfe, Sydney Baldwin, Dani Cameranesi, Kelsey Cline, Brook Garzone, Paige Haley, Milica McMillen, Kelly Pannek, Cara Piazza, Caitlin Reilly, Nina Rodgers, Kate Schipper, Sophie Skarzynski, Taylor Williamson

Head Coach - Brad Frost

Associate Head Coach - Joel Johnson

Assistant Coach - Nadine Muzerall

Director of Oporations - Dean Thibodeau

Sarah Potomak scored just 13 seconds into the game and the Golden Gophers added third-period goals by Amanda Kessel and Kelly Pannek as the University of Minnesota women's hockey team took home its seventh national title with a 3-1 win over Boston College at the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore Center Arena Sunday afternoon.

Minnesota (35-4-1) is back-to-back national champions for the third time in program history and now owns an NCAA-best seven national titles. The Gophers have won four of the last five national championships.

"It never gets old first of all," head coach Brad Frost said. "We're just so excited and happy and grateful to have won the 2016 national championship. It's somewhat surreal. I'm just so proud of our team and how they have come together over the latter part of the year. Our second half was tremendous and brought us great momentum coming into the tournament."

Minnesota built a 3-0 lead before Boston College found a way to solve Amanda Leveille and the Gophers' defense. Leveille finished with 32 saves, and the Gophers held off the Eagles on four power-play opportunities, including a five-on-three advantage in the second period.

The Gophers were led by Potomak's two points (one goal, one assist), and she was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after also scoring Minnesota's game-winning goal in the team's 3-2 overtime win over Wisconsin to advance to the national championship game. Kessel, Potomak, Leveille, and Lee Stecklein were named to the Frozen Four all-tournament team along with Boston College's Haley Skarupa and Megan Keller.

Potomak gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead just 13 seconds into the game. Hannah Brandt won the opening faceoff and Potomak wasted no time firing a shot past BC netminder Katie Burt, burying the Gophers' first shot on goal of the game.

The Eagles were known for their lightning-fast starts. In 26 games, they scored at least one goal within the first seven minutes. But the Gophers were the ones who scored the fastest goal in NCAA championship history, 13 seconds into the game.

Brandt, the Gophers’ all-time points leader (285), won a puck battle behind the net, passed to the slot, and Sarah Potomak buried it. Potomak, who was named national rookie of the year on Thursday, also scored the overtime winner in Friday’s semifinal against Wisconsin.

The teams played a scoreless second period, but neither team was without chances. Leveille and Burt took turns standing on their heads to keep it a one-goal game going into the third period.

"When you get to this point in the year, in order to win big games, you have to have incredible goaltending," Frost said. "Hopefully people now will give Amanda Leveille the credit she deserves because she's a ridiculously talented goaltender. She's been a part of three national championship teams, and we're proud that she chose to come to Minnesota."

Kessel scored the eventual game-winning goal when she put Minnesota ahead 2-0 at the 8:31 mark of the third period off a feed from Potomak. Less than five minutes later, Stecklein moved the puck into the BC zone and fed Pannek in the slot, where she ripped a shot to give the Gophers the 3-0 lead.

Boston College (40-1-0) countered less than one minute later, spoiling Leveille's shutout at 14:07 with a goal by Makenna Newkirk, but the Gophers held on to claim their fourth national title in five years.

Minnesota went 0-for-3 on the power play while outshooting Boston College, 34-33. BC's Burt finished with 31 saves.

"BC had an incredible year," Frost said. "Anytime you can get to the Frozen Four is a great job, let alone go 40 wins in a row there. They're a tremendous team, well coached and I have a ton of respect for them."

When time expired on the 3-1 victory over previously undefeated Boston College, The Gophers threw helmets and gloves in the air, raced toward senior goaltender Amanda Leveille and dived into a pile at Whittemore Center.

“All of a sudden, there was blood on everyone and on the trophy,” senior Hannah Brandt said.

“Someone said, ‘Hey, somebody’s bleeding!’ ” fellow captain Lee Stecklein said. “I looked down, and it was me.”

Stecklein needed two stitches in her right ring finger after the trophy ceremony. Brandt cut a finger, too. Apparently, that’s an occupational hazard when you play for a hockey dynasty.

An announced crowd of 3,211 at the University of New Hampshire’s 6,500-seat arena.

Original Article from http://www.gophersports.com 

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