Clarkson solidified its spot as the leading team in NCAA Division I women's hockey on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis, defeating ECAC rival Colgate 2-1 in overtime in the 2018 national championship game at Ridder Arena.
The Golden Knights are now winners of back-to-back Women's Frozen Four titles and have won three national championships in the past five years.
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Freshman Elizabeth Giguere scored the game-winner on an unassisted goal at 7:55 of the extra session, ending the Knights' third-straight tournament overtime game after 67:55. Giguere, a second-team All-American and ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year, closed out her spectacular freshman campaign with her 27th goal of the season.
The game-winning play started with a blocked shot by Rhyen McGill. The puck cleared the zone to two Colgate players, but Giguere outmuscled the Raiders' Shelby Wood near center ice, stealing the puck away and using her right arm as a shield to ward off Wood. The defenseman attempted to use her stick to slow down Giguere, who fell briefly to one knee, but she got up and quickly collected herself enough to put multiple moves on Colgate goaltender Julia Vandyk, finally finishing her play with a backhand.
Are you kidding me?#Nationalchamps!!!! pic.twitter.com/l4CJVqco0L— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) March 18, 2018
Clarkson, after defeating Mercyhurst 2-1 in 76:52 minutes of play in the quarterfinal round and Ohio State 1-0 after 76:12 of play in Friday's semifinal game, closed out the most successful season in the program's 15-year history with a 36-4-1 record. The Golden Knights were co-champions in the ECAC Hockey regular season with a 19-3 league mark and won their second consecutive conference championship title by shutting out Colgate 3-0 on March 4 at Cheel Arena.
The Knights came out strong and confident to start their second consecutive championship game appearance and controlled large segments of the first period, outshooting Colgate 15-10 through the opening 20 minutes. Clarkson grabbed the lead with 3:11 remaining on a goal by junior Cassidy Vinkle. Junior Kelly Mariani, who had to be helped off the ice after a big center-ice collision earlier in the period, started the play. Mariani picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and fed a pass to Vinkle on an odd-man rush. An assistant captain, Vinkle ripped a shot from the top of the left circle that went bar down for her fourth goal of the season.
BACK-TO-BACK!— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) March 18, 2018
Clarkson tops Colgate in overtime to celebrate it’s second national championship in as many years! #ncaawhockey pic.twitter.com/TRrMXBIfi2
Colgate enjoyed the better of the play in the middle frame, outshooting the Green and Gold 11-8. The Raiders tied the game at 2:27 of the period when Malia Schneider capitalized on a 2-on-1 opportunity down low.
Clarkson outshot the Raiders 13-7 in the third period, but could not put the game away in regulation despite several good scoring opportunities.
Clarkson senior goaltender Shea Tiley posted 27 saves on 28 shots for her second straight NCAA championship win and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. A first-team All-American, Tiley closed out her collegiate career as the Knights' all-time winningest goaltender with 114 career victories.