Irondale’s Lorence a national champion again


Meghan Lorence

As a sophomore, Meghan Lorence has played two seasons with the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team. For her efforts, the Irondale High School graduate now has two national championships and has played in 49 consecutive victories.

Lorence and the Golden Gophers wrapped up their second straight NCAA title with a 6-3 victory over Boston University on Sunday at Ridder Arena. In addition to clinching the championship, the victory also gave Minnesota an undefeated season (41-0), the first in the history of NCAA women’s hockey.

Getting to play on home ice made this year’s title extra special for Lorence.

“Last year we won it Duluth and it was against our biggest rival so you can’t beat that,” Lorence said. “But in front of the home crowd, you can’t beat that either. They’re different experiences but they’re both unbelievable.”

Minnesota jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Mira Jalosuo and Hannah Brandt before BU got on the board late in the period.

Minnesota upped its lead to 4-1 with second period goals by Amanda Kessel and Milica McMillen. In the third, Boston U pulled to within two twice but each time the Gophers had an answer. Rachel Ramsey and Kessel both scored in the third to restore three-goal cushions.

Kessel’s final goal was an empty-netter and pretty much signaled the end of the road for the Terriers.

Sticks, helmets and gloves flew everywhere as the final horn sounded and the Gophers celebrated in a pile in their own defensive zone.

The game was a bit different from Minnesota’s previous two in that the Gophers didn’t need overtime to keep their unbeaten streak and championship hopes intact. Minnesota opened the NCAA tournament on March 16 with a 3-2 victory over North Dakota in a game that went three overtimes. The Gophers also needed overtime on Friday to dispatch Boston College 3-2 in the semifinals.

Getting off to a fast start was a key in Lorence’s mind. Minnesota scored in the first minute against North Dakota but wasn’t able to build on that quick strike. Against Boston College, Minnesota didn’t score until the third period.

“We just wanted to have a quick start,” Lorence said. “I think we kind of got away from that the last couple games and then we found ourselves in trouble late in the game. Just getting on them early, that was key for us tonight.”

Earlier in the week, Lorence admitted that she has had a charmed first two years in college hockey.

“Yes, I’m very spoiled,” Lorence said. “I haven’t lost many games, knock on wood, as a Gopher.”

Lorence almost got the chance to face a former high school teammate in the semifinals. Minnesota’s possible semifinal opponents were Boston College and Harvard. Had Harvard advanced, Lorence would’ve gone up against Irondale graduate Gina McDonald, a junior forward for the Crimson.

Harvard, the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season and playoff runner-up, fell 3-1 to Boston College in the national quarterfinals on March 16.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com


NCAA Division I women’s hockey championships

Quarterfinals
Minnesota 3, North Dakota 2, 3 OT
Boston College 3, Harvard 1
Mercyhurst 4, Cornell 3, OT
Boston University 5, Clarkson 3

Frozen Four Semifinals
Minnesota 3, Boston College 2, OT
Boston University 4, Mercyhurst 1

Championship game
Minnesota 6, Boston University 3

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