Gophers Capture WCHA Title – Again
MINNEAPOLIS ( gophersports.com ) – The No. 2 Golden Gophers secured their third-straight WCHA regular-season title and ninth overall with a 2-0 win and series sweep over No. 6 Minnesota Duluth at Ridder Arena Saturday afternoon.
Less than 24 hours removed from a lopsided 7-1 victory, the Gophers battled the Bulldogs through two scoreless periods before recording a pair of third-period goals from sophomores Dani Cameranesi (Plymouth, Minn.) and Lee Stecklein (Roseville, Minn.).
Junior goaltender Amanda Leveille (Kingston, Ont.) made 19 saves in her sixth shutout of the season. Minnesota outshot UMD, 27-19, including holding the visiting Bulldogs to just two shots on goal in the final twenty minutes.
"What a great ending to our senior weekend," head coach Brad Frost said. "Obviously we didn't come out of the gates the way we did last night, but Lev made some great saves and kept us in it.
"I thought in the third period, we came out with a little extra jump and fire. We were able to get the lead and just lock it down the rest of the way."
Minnesota (27-2-4, 20-2-4-2 WCHA) got on the board early in the third period when Cameranesi scored her 19th goal of the season on an unassisted effort at the 2:15 mark.
The Bulldogs (17-10-5, 12-10-4-2 WCHA) pulled goaltender Kayla Black late in the third period, and Minnesota capitalized with an empty-net goal to seal the win. Stecklein scored her fourth goal of the season and second of the series at the 18:34 mark to give the Gophers a two-goal lead.
The Gophers secured the 2014-15 WCHA regular season title with a sweep over the Bulldogs, coupled with a Wisconsin split at Ohio State. The Buckeyes defeated the Badgers, 4-3, Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota honored its four seniors, Rachael Bona, Meghan Lorence, Rachel Ramsey and Shyler Sletta, prior to Saturday's game. Today's 2-0 win marked the 140th victory for the Maroon & Gold Class of 2015, making them the winningest senior class in program history.
"I'm proud of our four seniors," Frost said. "It's another banner for them and this team. It's a pretty exciting way to end the weekend."
The Gophers will wrap up their regular season on the road as they travel to take on Bemidji State on next weekend. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m. CT Friday, Feb. 20 and Saturday, Feb. 21.