In a not quite stunning, but still a hard to swallow, result for Eagles fans, the Gophers toppled previously perfect Boston College by a score of 3-1. Allowing the 2013 Gophers to pop their champagne, remaining the only perfect team in women’s hockey history. Coach Frost of Minnesota denied any thoughts about the denial of the perfect record. Going into this game many Eagles supporters viewed themselves as the underdogs as did many in the media, something that seemed bizarre for an undefeated and untied top seed in a tournament.
The scoring started off before many had found their seats as the Gophers Super Freshman Sarah Potomak, the Tournament MVP, tallied a goal a mere 13 seconds into the game. Minnesota would never look back.
The end of the first into the second BC was threatening but was unable to generate any goals. There was a 5 on 3 early on in the 2nd that seemed destined to generate a goal but Newkirk took a holding penalty that nullified most of the advantage and Minnesota was back to controlling the flow.
The third period added further edge to BC’s attack, but it was Minnesota that added the second goal of the game. Late-season addition Amanda Kessel broke the Eagles with the eventual game winner only eight minutes into the third. Less then five minutes later, Kelly Pannek would tally another goal. Boston College head coach Katie Crowley called her time out. In the time out she was very animated, trying to get her team fired up and back in the game. Whatever she said appeared to work as Boston College’s Super Freshman Newkirk redirected one into the net that fired up the very partisan crowd. It was not enough as the Eagles were unable to get many quality options against Leveille, even with an extra attacker for over two minutes.
Coach Crowley said of her timeout speech, "I just tried to tell them that there is still time left to put some in and I thought there were times that we carried the play in the offensive zone and their goalie came up big for them. Their goalie made some saves and we hit some posts. I thought that we could’ve turned it around if we got one in and we could’ve buried a second."
Going into this game, the expectation was an offensive slugfest. The stars on both rosters demanded a game like that. It was not meant to be. It was an up and down game, but the goalies that stole the show. After that quick goal by Potomak, Burt really settled in. Leveille was on form through out the night. Both teams had a few shots off of posts but there were some phenomenal saves on both ends of the ice. It took the Eagles six minutes to register a shot, testament to the dominance of the Gopher defense. The Eagles then turned on the burners and were able to keep pace with the Gophers, shot wise at least, the rest of the way.
Goaltender Amanda Leveille was asked about her preparation for a game that was expected to feature so much offense.
"I prepare the same way for every game, just stop the next shot that comes at me. I know I have the best defense in front of me and I think that was shown today. We kept all the pucks to the outside, which makes any goaltender’s job easier, and when I did cough up rebounds, which I did a few times tonight my defense or forwards were there to clear it and help me out and I’m very grateful to be part of this team and be a part of another National Championship."
They get to enjoy a long offseason with yet another trophy. They do lose Amanda Kessel, for real this time, Hannah Brandt and All Tournament goalie Amanda Leveille. On the other side they already have their Super Freshman Potomak and are constantly bringing in Canada and USA U-18 players so they don’t have to worry too much about a talent drain. You can look forward to seeing the Gophers in the NCAAs next year and most likely hosting then making an appearance in St. Louis for the Frozen Four.
Another year, another Frozen Four loss. The bright side is that this year they made it to the championship and that they are constantly making the Frozen Four, something most programs dream of doing even once.
They too lose some generational talent, namely Alex Carpenter and Haley Skarupa along with some great players like Lexi Bender and Dana Trivigno, who fell a mere 3 minutes short of the all time BC penalty record after receiving a solitary minor early in the 3rd period. (Editors note: She was accidently announced as receiving a 5 minute major in her game at Northeastern this season, which was quickly corrected, but would’ve given her the record outright.) They have their own Super Freshman in Newkirk and also have shown a knack of hoarding talent in recent years.
Coach Crowley was asked about the loss of her seniors and was unable to put forward a thought about the recovery plan for the loss of the seniors for a brief moment, which is a very high compliment to the level of talent that they represent.
The Eagles, despite the significant loss in scoring, will remain at least near the top of the Hockey East standings, since everyone else loses a lot of their talent too. They will be in contention for hosting duties and are perennially a threat for the Frozen Four now.
Also going forward we can look forward to some very fun press conferences with Coach Crowley when her daughter Camryn joins the podium as she did after the championship game.