The Minnesota Golden Gopher hockey team clinched their seventh WCHA regular season title by beating the rival Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, 5-0, on Friday night. Amanda Kessel had two goals and Noora Raty got the win and the shutout, making her the goaltender with the most wins in NCAA history as well as the team record for most shutouts in a season.
The Gophers got their one and only goal of the period shorthanded. Becky Kortum went in on a breakaway and put it past freshman goaltender Kayla Black, for her 12th of the season. UMD actually didn't let Minnesota get a lot of chances and limited their shots throughout the game. UMD had a slight advantage in shots, 9-8, in the period.
Amanda Kessel would get the only goal of the second period. She received a behind the back pass from Hannah Brandt and put it past Black for her NCAA leading 35th goal of the year. Again, shots in the period were low and close, with Minnesota having a 7-6 advantage.
Minnesota was able to put the Bulldogs in the rearview mirror with three goals in the third period, including one from Sarah Davis, who has been quiet for much of the season. Kessel was able to add another goal to her total, with her 36th goal and second of the game. Milica McMillen closed out the show with her eighth goal of the season. UMD outshot the Gophers 24-22 for the game, but could not solve Noora Raty. Raty is now the all-time wins leader and is just two shutouts away from tying Jessie Vetter. Win number 101 also brought Minnesota a WCHA regular season title and finally has most of the Minnesota media talking about them.
On paper, coach Shannon Miller's game plan was ideal and was executed well. The Gophers were outshot for just the second time all season, the Bulldogs were very disciplined, committing only three penalties, and the Gopher power play unit was held off the board for just the third time all season. Still, the Bulldogs came up empty.
The same two teams meet at 2:30pm Saturday. The game will be televised on Big Ten Network.
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