The fairytale that was BR-2 Boston College’s quest for the perfect 41-0 2016 season ended over the weekend, when the Eagles fell 3-1 to BR-1 Minnesota in the D1 women’s hockey National Championship game. The Gophers secured their NCAA-best seventh national championship won it all in back-to-back seasons for the third time in school history.
The Eagles realized that the Gophers were keyed in when, after only 13 seconds of play, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, Sarah Potomak, hit the puck in the net to give her team a very early lead. Goal-wise, that was the only action during the first period. However, Minnesota’s goalie Amanda Leveille, played a wonderful game. She had 32 saves and only allowed the one Boston College goal, just over 14 minutes into the third period. Her team was already up 3-0.
When asked why she was seeing the puck so well during the championship game, Leveille said in the post-game press conference, “Any time you get to put on the M it’s an honor and I was very excited to take the ice. I remember just looking around in the room and just seeing such a talented group of girls and feeling just a tremendous boost of confidence as I took the ice. The entire team played well defensively. They kept all their shots to the outside, which makes a goalie’s job very easy.”
The Gophers scored twice more before the Eagles could get the puck passed Leveille. Amanda Kessel and Lee Stecklein scored just a minute apart during the third period. Makenna Newkirk, who has the third-most goals on the team, scored the sole Eagle goal and dashed the Gophers hope of securing the championship with a 13th shutout of the season.
Boston College didn’t play a bad game. They stopped Minnesota from scoring on any of their three power play chances. In addition, the Gophers only outshot the Eagles by one (34-33) and BC’s goalie, Katie Burt had 31 saves herself. At the same time, the Eagles didn’t take advantage of the four power plays that they encountered.
When talking to the press during the post-game conference, Boston College head coach Katie Crowley had these comments about the game, “I thought our kids fought back really hard after letting an early one in there and I was really proud of the way we played all year. We had a phenomenal year and I am extremely proud of where our program got this year.”