Northeastern captures Womens Division 1 National Championship
Chelsea Dietz was spectacular in net for Northeastern, as the Huskies captured the 2012 Women's Division 1 National Championship.
Powered by the phenomenal goaltending of tournament MVP Chelsea Dietz, the Northeastern Huskies captured the 2012 National Championship with a 3-1 victory over Minnesota.
Dietz, who allowed no more than one goal for the entire tournament, turned aside 32 shots for the Huskies. Minnesota did not crack Dietz until the final minute of the game, with the result already determined. Northeastern took an early lead on Nicole Fox's powerplay goal in the first period. Megan Winters did the rest for Northeastern, she scored a pair of goals - including the game winner - in the third period.
Molly Sparks was the lone goal scorer for Minnesota. Dawn Rau was equally impressive in the crease for Minnesota, stopping 32 of the 35 shots she faced.
Northeastern's path to the championship was an impressive one. They were the only team in either pool to win all three round robin games and won a convincing 4-0 game against UMass in the semi-finals. The Huskies opened the tournament with one of the most shocking victories of the weekend, a 2-0 shutout of the defending champion Michigan State Spartans. A pair of 2-1 wins on day two locked in Northeastern's semi-final spot and advanced on Dietz's second shutout of the tournament.
The Golden Gophers took a circuitous route to the final, getting a close 3-2 win and advancing thanks to Northeastern's victory over Rhode Island on day two. Minnesota shutout Robert Morris - a team that has long dominated the national landscape - 1-0 in their semi-final. Yet again, it was Sparks with the later heroics for Minnesota.
Dietz's tournament was beyond impressive. She stopped 128 of 131 shots she faced while playing every minute for the Huskies. She finished with a 5-0-0 record, 0.60 GAA and .977 save percentage. Northeastern was led offensively by Meredith Harclerode (five goals) and Nicole Fox (3G + 3A).
Northeastern's victory marks the second-straight season a new champion has been crowned.
Robert Morris, while missing out on the National Championship, wrapped up third place in the tournament with a 5-1 win over UMass.
Robert Morris would score five unanswered goals after Siobhan Elvin opened the scoring for UMass. Entering the tournament as the nation's number one team, the Golden Eagles were once again powered by Zoe Harris Player of the Year, Ramey Weaver. Weaver had the game winning goal and assisted on RMU's third, effectively clinching the game.
Cassie Beckerleg's two third period goals were the pair to put the proverbial nail in the coffin for RMU, extending a tenuous 2-1 lead after 40 minutes to 4-1 with five minutes remaining in the game.
The womens D1 championship was again a tremendous success as Wooster, OH and Alice Noble Ice Arena proved to be tremendous hosts to an exciting tournament. After a first day full of nail-biting ties and an upset, the nation's best filed into a somewhat surprising seeding. While the nation's top squad made it to the semis, the other three finalists were ranked fourth, seventh and eighth. Next year's tournament is to be played in Washington DC, where the nation's capital will play host to some of the nation's best female hockey players.