Women's Frozen Four: Minnesota wins back-to-back national championships
DURHAM, N.H. – A person looking in from the outside, it might seem like Minnesota coach Brad Frost has a ritual or some kind of superstition he follows at the Women's Frozen Four.
The Gophers have made it to the championship game four of the past five years, this time handing previously unbeaten Boston College its first loss of the year with a 3-1 win at Whittemore Center on Sunday afternoon for back-to-back crowns. There has to be a go-to vacation that Frost embarks on; perhaps a week on the couch binge-watching whatever show he can find on Netflix.
Nope, no ritual for him. No title run, no championship is the same, Frost says. This one even got him to do something he doesn’t usually do in the locker room.
“I might have sung and danced just a little bit,” Frost admitted. This year’s win song was Shania Twain’s “Feel Like A Woman.”
“We’re maybe starting a new tradition,” he added.
It pales in comparison to the tradition he and the Gophers have established on the ice. Sunday’s title gives Minnesota a record seven NCAA women's hockey championships. Recently it has five consecutive appearances in the national championship game, four of them wins and one perfect season in 2012-13 that still stands alone in NCAA lore.
And the team the Gophers knocked off on Sunday -- Boston College -- was not only in its first title game in program history, it was bidding for its own perfect season. Instead, the Eagles finish 40-1-0.
All these titles couldn’t keep Frost from lamenting on the run the Gophers (35-4-1) have been fortunate to have.
“We’re just in the midst of a stretch here where it’s kind of mind-blowing,” he said. “When you’re in the midst of it, it’s hard. I remember when we went 41-0 and won the national championship in ’13, and the same thing: It’s surreal.
“You never get used to it. Every time it’s a little different and super-exciting. When this eventually ends, we’ll be able to look back on it and say, ‘This was one heck of a run.’”
On the flip side is a Boston College program that hopes to be on its way toward the same glory.
This was supposed to be the moment for the Eagles. A 40-0-0 season in which they barely squeaked past Clarkson in the Women's Frozen Four semifinals put them on the doorstep of history, for the program and in the sport. But when Minnesota jumped ahead just 13 seconds in -- the fastest goal to start a women’s championship game -- it seemed fate had another plan.
No, this would not be BC’s time, after all.
Instead the Eagles were forced to watch as Minnesota celebrated the latest addition for their decorated trophy case. One team singing Shania Twain in the locker room, the other wondering when it will be their time to seize control of the sport.
Fate can be cruel that way, but fortunately there’s always another season right around the corner. The hardest part for the Eagles is saying goodbye to the six seniors who helped them take the next step. Coach Katie Crowley couldn’t hide the tears.
“This team was a special team. And is a special team,” Crowley said. "And has done special things for our program.”
For now, Boston College returns to the long practices, road trips, film sessions and the grueling path that the Eagles hope leads back to this very moment. Then, maybe they’ll be able to claim the glory their counterparts on Sunday have grown so accustomed to.
As Frost can tell them, “It never gets old.”