Women’s hockey dominated this reporter’s attention last weekend. Minnesota (31-5-1) defeated Princeton 5-2 last Saturday at Ridder Arena to advance to the program’s 14th Frozen Four appearance. The Gophers will play Cornell in the first of two semifinals Friday at Hamden, Conn.
This year’s squad is one of Brad Frost’s youngest clubs, but he told the MSR after the win he couldn’t be more proud. “About half of our team was not here last year,” the head coach pointed out. “We’re thrilled to be going to the Frozen Four. This is a team that earned it. They deserved it.”
The Gopher victory was sandwiched between last weekend’s NWHL Isobel Cup semifinals and finals at the Minnesota Whitecaps’ home ice in St. Paul. The hosts defeated Metropolitan last Friday 5-2 and then became the fourth different league team since the league was founded in 2015 to win the Cup with a 2-1 overtime win over Buffalo on Sunday.
This was Minnesota’s first NWHL title in its first season, a historic first for Twin Cities pro teams.
“For the season to end this way is a great exclamation point on an amazing year for the Whitecaps,” League Founder and Commissioner Dani Rylan told the MSR after she handed the Isobel Cup to the winning players.
The Whitecaps sold out all their home games in their inaugural season in the NWHL. “It’s fantastic to see the fan support in the State of Hockey,” Rylan observed. “You couldn’t ask for a better year.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.