As the season winds down in Women’s Division One hockey, eight teams have battled their way to have a shot at a National Championship. The final eight teams were determined last Sunday and receiving the number one overall seed was the Minnesota Gophers. The Gophers will be looking for their 5th National Champion overall, and their 3rd in the last four years.
Minnesota is coming into the NCAA Tournament with a 31-3-4 record. They are looking to take care of some unfinished business from last year’s tournament; where they lost to Clarkson in the National Championship game. After completing a perfect season in 2013, the Gophers were the heavy favorites to win it all again in 2014. Clarkson took the ring right off the Gophers’ fingers, upsetting them in the Championship game 5-4, giving Minnesota only their second loss of the season.
Flash forward to this season, where the Gophers have once again put together a great year, finishing the season ranked at #2 in the Nation. The Gophers are entering the tournament hungry to earn back the National Championship that they let slip through their finger tips last year.
WCHA Player of the Year and Patty Kazmaier finalist, Hannah Brandt, is Junior looking to lift the trophy over her head, just as she did when she was a freshman. Brandt is 2nd in the NCAA in points and 1st for the Gophers with 67 (31 goals 36 assists). A real leader on the team, Brandt will be huge component to the team’s success in the NCAA Tournament, along with Sophomore Dani Cameranesi. Cameranesi is 2nd on the Gophers in points (62; 23 goals 29 assist), and is searching for her first National Championship. A member of the All-WCHA First Team, Cameranesi has not suffered from any type of sophomore slump. These two players will have to continue their success during the NCAA Tournament if the Gophers want to raise another banner in Ridder Arena.
Holding down the blue-line for the Gophers is senior, Rachel Ramsey. She was awarded the WCHA’s Defensive Player of the Year, and had 8 goals and 23 assists for Minnesota. She is among four seniors on the Gophers that will be looking for their 3rd National Champion. Not many college athletes can say that they have won one National Championship, but to be able to say you have won three is almost unheard of in the sports world; that’s what the Gophers’ four seniors have an opportunity to do this March.
This Saturday the Gophers will take on RIT (15-18-3), for a spot in the Frozen Four. With the Frozen Four being held at Ridder Arena, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Gophers will have home ice advantage for the rest of the season. Another reason why, the Gophers should be able to take care of business this season and regain the status of National Champions, that they let slip away last year in Hamden, Connecticut.
Good luck Gophers. Bring the University of Minnesota their 5th National Championship.