Minnesota women capture regular season WCHA title

Freshman forward Monique Lamoureux (right) and freshman defenseman Anne Schleper battle for the puck during Saturday’s WCHA title clinching win over St. Cloud State.

Marija Majerle

Freshman forward Monique Lamoureux (right) and freshman defenseman Anne Schleper battle for the puck during Saturday’s WCHA title clinching win over St. Cloud State.

The Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team started their season with a loss and ended with a regular-season conference title. No. 1 Minnesota (28-3-3 overall, 23-2-3-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) swept St. Cloud State (14-16-4, 11-14-3-2 ) in order to win the banner. The Gophers won 7-0 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday . On Saturday, with 30 seconds left on the clock, the Gophers were jumping around on the bench as the noise in Ridder Arena got louder. And that should come as no surprise since a banner hasnâÄôt been hung in Ridder since the 2006 NCAA runner-up was placed there. Senior captain Gigi Marvin said it feels good to finally have something to hang in Ridder. âÄúWe donâÄôt have to go out with absolutely nothing of our legacy,âÄù Marvin said. After winning Friday night, Saturday night was a different story. On only their second shot of the night, St. Cloud scored the first goal of the game five minutes into the contest. Marvin put the Gophers on the board on the power play with a wrist shot from the top of the circle. Coach Brad Frost said Minnesota wasnâÄôt moving their feet in the sluggish first period. Twenty-one seconds after MarvinâÄôs goal, first year Sarah Erickson unintentionally hooked St. Cloud’s Danielle Hirsch , who went into the corner knee first and was carried off on a stretcher. Danielle is the younger sister of former Gopher menâÄôs hockey player Tyler Hirsch . Sixty-three seconds into Erickson’s penalty, first year Kelly Seeler got a holding penalty . Minnesota had four penalties and four shots in the first. Erickson capitalized in the second period though and scored what would be the winning goal, assisted by first-years Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux . In the third period, play was more physical. The referees made a call after Jocelyne Lamoureux . got pushed by Megan McCarthy of St. Cloud and both were sent to the box. A little later, sophomore Jenny Lura froze the puck and St. CloudâÄôs Felicia Nelson came through the crease and knocked her down; the action went uncalled. Frost said St. Cloud is physical team and skating on the smaller sheet of ice created more physical play. âÄúWeâÄôve taken penalties all year,âÄù Frost said. âÄúWe try to become more disciplined; sometimes we are and sometimes our emotions continue to get the best of us. ItâÄôs nice that the penalty kill is stepping up.âÄù A minute later, Monique Lamoureux . scored and had some words for the surrounding St. Cloud players before celebrating with her team. Senior captain Melanie Gagnon said she values the first-year players contributing to the scoreboard. âÄúEveryone keeps saying that the seniors finally did it but I think our freshmen are helping us out,âÄù Gagnon said. âÄúTheyâÄôre great hockey players, so theyâÄôre helping us win games. We appreciate them being around.âÄù Marvin said this title isnâÄôt the last one Minnesota wants. âÄúThere are two more up for grabs and that is what we are focusing on now,âÄù she said.