MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – In hosting this season’s Women’s Frozen Four, Minnesota’s women’s ice hockey program had an opportunity to raise the women’s game’s profile considerably, and it did just that.
An announced sellout attendance of 3,400 — plus an estimated 300 more having purchased standing room only tickets — packed into Ridder Arena on Sunday afternoon, and most of the crowd didn’t go home disappointed. The host team Minnesota won, as the top-ranked Gophers (41-0-0) bested No. 2 Boston University (28-6-3) 6-3 to clinch Minnesota’s consecutive national championship, fifth all-time, and the first unbeaten and untied season in NCAA women’s ice hockey history.
Connected to Minnesota’s more storied Mariucci Arena, Ridder opened in 2002 and rarely had it been full for a Gophers game. On Sunday afternoon, however, head coach Brad Frost got an idea of what the atmosphere is like inside Ridder when the place is packed.
“As we were standing out there and the team was getting the awards or were shaking hands, I just kept saying to our staff, ‘Look around. I mean, just look around.’ Frost said. “When you’re in that fishbowl, and I always say Ridder Arena’s one of the nicest rinks in the whole country and a great place to play and a great place to watch a game, but you look around and there’s not an empty seat in the place.
“Everybody’s doing the Minnesota cheer apart from a few other fans, and I think what this team has done for women’s hockey here at ‘The U’ and for girls’ hockey in Minnesota has been huge.”
The buzz both inside and outside Ridder on Sunday — tickets were rumored to be changing hands for as much as $150 on Oak Street outside the arena leading up to the game — was electric, and the general consensus was that Minnesota’s marketing department and ticketing departments, as well as the NCAA, had set this year’s Women’s Frozen Four to be a wild success.
It was, but part of that is also due to Frost’s team holding up its end of the bargain.
The Gophers’ win against the Terriers capped a perfect season and supplied the ideal end-point to Minnesota’s season. What’s more, it gave a good ending for the locals to a run that had seen Ridder host the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff championship, the Gophers’ 3-2 triple-overtime NCAA quarterfinal win against WCHA-rival North Dakota Mar. 16, and this year’s Women’s Frozen Four.CLICK HERE to read more.
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