Winnipeg’s Jenelle Kohanchuk had a tremendous couple of days at the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four hockey championship in Minnesota. But she simply couldn’t coax her team past what might have been the greatest team in the history of women’s college hockey.
Overcoming a concussion that kept her sidelined for most of last season, Kohanchuk led the Boston University Terriers into Sunday’s championship game at the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four, until to see her team fall 6-3 to the undefeated and untied University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Kohanchuk scored a goal in the third period of Sunday’s final but it was too little, too late as Minnesota dominated the Terriers just as they’d dominated every other team this season.
Phil Kessel’s sister, Amanda, scored two goals and assisted two others to lead Minnesota over Boston University, 6-3, in the Women’s Frozen Four title game on Sunday in Minneapolis.
Rachel Ramsey had a goal and two assists to lead Minnesota, which finished the 2012-13 season with an unblemished record of 41-0-0.
It was Kohanchuk and Boston University’s second appearance in the national championship in the last three seasons – the Terriers lost the 2011 title game to Wisconsin. Minnesota, which defeated Boston College in the semifinals, also won the title in 2012, 2005, and 2004. Boston U. defeated Mercyhurst 4-1 in the other semifinal. Mercyhurst had three Manitobans: Kristine Grenier, Christine Bestland and Shelby Bram. Kohanchuk led Boston U. in that game with a goal and an assist. He assist was spectacular (see below…)
Sarah Lefort and Team Canada’s Olympic Marie-Philip Poulin scored the other goals for Boston U. which finished the season at 28-6-3.
Kohanchuk was the only one of three Manitobans to play in the championship weekend at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. Alexis Woloschuk of Winnipeg and Brittany Hergesheimer of East St. Paul didn’t dress.
Mira Jalosuo, Hannah Brandt, Milica McMillen and Rachel Ramsey also scored for the Gophers, who won their second straight national championship — and fourth overall — and stretched their NCAA record winning streak to 49 games. Their last loss was to North Dakota on Feb. 17, 2012, more than 13 months ago.
Amazingly, since the women’s NCAA hockey championships started 13 years ago, three Western Collegiate Hockey Association teams have won every single one of them — Minnesota Duluth has five (Ste. Anne, Manitoba’s Jocelyne Larocque won two) and Wisconsin has four.
Noora Raty, Finland’s national team goaltender, made 21 saves for the Gophers, who never trailed after needing overtime to beat Boston College in the semifinals and triple overtime to top North Dakota in the quarterfinals.
Kessel, who won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award on Saturday as the top player in the country, was clearly the best player on the ice. assists. Kessel finished her junior year with 46 goals and 55 assists. Raty and defender Megan Bozek were the other finalists for the Kazmaier honor. Raty received the Most Outstanding Player award for the NCAA tournament.
The sellout crowd at cozy Ridder Arena, home ice for the Gophers, chanted “perfect season!” as the clock wound down. Despite the fact six Manitoba women played in the Frozen Four tournament, it was a team almost evenly mixed between American and Canadian players that won the title. Again.