Record win streak ends for Gopher women’s hockey

SOECharlesHallmansquareNow that “The Streak” is snapped, will it be truly recognized as a historic feat?  Minnesota’s 62-game women’s hockey win streak ended with a 3-2 loss Sunday against North Dakota. The Gophers hadn’t lost a game since February 17, 2012, when they also lost at home in a 2-1 overtime defeat to North Dakota.

This reporter vividly remembers when the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team won 90 games in a row over a three-year period (2008-10) and too many mainstream sports know-it-alls dismissed it as only women rather than correctly placing the streak two games better than UCLA’s 88-win streak (1971-74).

The UConn’s streak didn’t need an asterisk, and neither should Minnesota.

North Dakota Coach Brian Idalski told the MSR Sunday after his team’s one-goal victory to salvage a split in the two-game weekend series, “It [the streak] was a pretty special thing not only for Minnesota but for all women’s hockey. One of the first things I told Brad (Frost, the Gopher coach) afterwards was that I don’t see [the NCAA-record streak] being broken. It’s similar to [Joe] DiMaggio’s [56-game] hit streak. The fact that they are doing it in our league [the WCHA] against us, Wisconsin and [Minnesota] Duluth — what a great thing to have going.”

Let’s closely examine what the Gophers actually did during their three-score-plus win streak:

They tripled the former record of 21-straight by Harvard.

They doubled the 32 straight wins set by Wisconsin.

The women Gophers surpassed two men’s Division I win streaks of 30 and 38.

But will the team ultimately get full historical credit for what they did in winning 62 straight contests?

“Anybody who knows the game of hockey knows how hard it is to win 10 in a row, 20 in a row,” said Coach Frost to the MSR after Sunday’s game. “It wasn’t like the streak ended at 22 or 23 — we almost tripled that. Here we are 62 games later, and it’s finally over.”

And now that it’s over, will the bandwagon fans and media go back into hiding?

“The Star Tribune is OK,” said Deborah Olson, a longtime Gopher booster on the local mainstream press. “The Pioneer Press completely dropped [covering] Gopher [women] athletics.”

Although both newspapers ran front-page stories about the U of M women’s hockey team last weekend, “My guess is that they are doing it because it is something to do and [the Gophers] are a  winning team right now,” said Olson, a consistent critic of women’s sports coverage.

“You look at that crowd today, and it was almost filled to capacity. I think our streak had a lot to do with that,” added Frost. “I think we won over a lot of new hockey fans, maybe even fans who never see hockey in general.

“We’re still a great team,” said the Gopher coach of his squad, which still has a 35-game road winning streak intact. Minnesota plays at Yale Saturday and Sunday.

“My hope is that our great fans will continue to follow us as they have. It’s been a great story.”


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