For the first time since the NCAA began sanctioning the Division I women’s hockey championship in 2001, an Eastern school has claimed the national title.
Clarkson University edged two-time defending national champion Minnesota on Sunday at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. by a 5-4 count to cap a 2013-14 campaign that also saw the Golden Knights capture the ECAC regular-season crown, and finish a goal short of the ECAC tournament championship. The full recap of the national title contest can be found at USCHO.com.
Senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray, the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Award winner as the nation’s top player, contributed a goal and an assist to the Clarkson effort, which enabled her to claim the national scoring crown this season with 29 goals and 37 assists for 66 points, one point ahead of Minnesota sophomore Hannah Brandt. Rattray finished her four-year career with 70 goals and 100 assists for 170 points.
Vannesa Plante and Shannon MacAulay scored just over four minutes apart in the third period to break a 3-3 tie for the Golden Knights, and senior goaltender Erica Howe finished with 34 saves to backstop Clarkson’s first-ever national championship in any sport.
Eastern schools had finished as a national runner-up in nine of the previous 13 NCAA seasons, with the national title being won each year by a WCHA team. The last Eastern school to win a national women’s Division I hockey championship was Harvard in 1999, although that tournament was sponsored by the American Women’s Hockey Coaches Association (AWHCA) and not the NCAA.
Clarkson finished the season at 31-5-5 overall, while Minnesota wrapped up the winter at 38-2-1. The 2015 NCAA Women’s Division I Frozen Four will be held at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis on March 20-22.