Making a case for women’s college hockey

Minnesota sophomore forward Amanda Kessel (right, foreground) celebrates having scored the Gophers' third goal in a 5-1 win over North Dakota on Mar. 10, 2012. That win. in the teams' NCAA tournament quarterfinals, punched Minnesota's ticket to the NCAA Women's Frozen Four in Duluth, Minn. (Photo credit: University of Minnesota)

Nebraska Omaha, Maverick fans will have noticed, has never had a NCAA Division 1 women’s ice hockey program.

Hopefully some of the school’s top brass read this blog over the coming days, though, and start thinking about changing that.

For any readers that don’t know already – see: any of you who haven’t been within earshot of my relentless screams of excitement over the past few weeks – I will be heading to Duluth, Minn. Thursday to cover the 2012 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four for

From Thursday through to Sunday’s national championship game, I’ll be posting photos from my trip on my professional Facebook page as well as bits and pieces on the games and the players and coaches involved.

The women’s NCAA tournament began on Mar. 10, with all quarterfinal (opening round) games taking place at host campus sites that day. Each game was very exciting, with goals galore – 34 goals were scored in the four games – and, at many points, mastery of the technical aspects of the game that was better than fans often see in men’s college hockey.

Some quick recaps of the four quarterfinal games:

(Video courtesy University of Wisconsin)

Top-ranked Wisconsin punched its ticket to Duluth in a 3-1 quarterfinal win over visiting Mercyhurst at Madison’s Kohl Center. The Lakers didn’t make things easy for the Badgers, and the visitors held UW to a 1-1 tie until past the halfway point of the third period before Badger senior Hilary Knight scored the eventual game-winner with a shorthanded goal at 11:18.

(Video courtesy University of Minnesota)

No. 2 Minnesota experienced a much less turbulent passage into the Frozen Four, casting aside WCHA rival North Dakota 5-1 at the Gophers’ home rink, Ridder Arena. Each goal for the hosts came off the stick of a different Gopher, and Minnesota goaltender and Finland international Noora Raty finished the night with 28 saves.

(Video courtesy Cornell University)

In arguably the game of the tournament thus far, third-seeded Cornell and Boston College essentially played two games at Cornell’s Lynah Rink before BU finally fell 8-7 to the Big Red in triple overtime. Junior defenseman Lauriane Rougeau ended the game with a highlight-reel backhanded goal with ten seconds remaining in the third extra period.

No. 4 Boston College also found save passage in Duluth, besting St. Lawrence 6-3 at BC’s Kelley Rink. Five unanswered goals did the trick for the Eagles, with four BC skaters having multi-point afternoons and goaltender Corinne Boyles making 28 saves.

Wisconsin will play Boston College at Duluth’s Amsoil Arena Friday at 5:00 p.m.. Minnesota and Cornell are set to meet in the evening’s second national semifinal, starting at 8:00.

The final will take place Sunday at 3:00 p.m..


5 thoughts on “Making a case for women’s college hockey

    • That it’s brilliant and that UNO should consider starting a program. I realize it probably wouldn’t happen until the school has its own facility, but, if it was marketed properly, I could see it doing well.

      I’ll be focusing on that in the coming days. This isn’t the only post I’ll be making here about women’s pucks.

      • Okay. Yea I imagine the $$ is next to impossible at this point. Maybe when they have their own facility yes. I would like them to have one.

  1. I was at the Cornell-BU game. It was possibly the best hockey game I’ve ever attended. It’s definitely a shame that the women’s college hockey doesn’t get as much attention as the men’s game (which probably doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves either), and I agree that more schools should start women’s hockey programs. There are a lot of great teams that can put together performances just as impressive as the men. I’m looking forward to the Cornell-Minnesota game next weekend. It should be exciting.

    • That being said, the biggest obstacle is of course money. Women’s hockey is probably a cash drain on all of the universities that have a program.

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