In a weekend that had already seen two overtime games, and a season that saw an almost unprecedented level of parity in the women’s college game, it was only fitting that it would take extra time to decide the 2018 national champion.
But at 7:55 of the first overtime period, it was defending national champion that proved victorious when freshman Elizabeth Giguere stole a puck at the opposing blue line, and made a fantastic deke around goalie Julia Vandyk to give Clarkson a 2-1 overtime victory over Colgate and claim a second consecutive, and third overall national title for the Golden Knights.
It looked like Clarkson would run away with the game early, dominating the first period and building a 1-0 lead when Cassidy Vinkle took advantage of a neutral zone turnover and buried a 2-on-1 opportunity to put Clarkson in front.
But the tone of the game changed early in the second period. On the first shift of the period, Giguere stole a puck along the left half-boards and skated in towards the Colgate goal, only to have her shot denied by Vandyk’s pad, denying the Golden Knights a 2-0 lead. Two shifts later, Colgate’s Malia Schneider finished off a nice pass from Olivia Zafuto to even the game 1-1. From there, momentum swung heavily in favor of Colgate for the rest of the second period.
Clarkson would regain some composure in the third period and once again, Giguere would have a golden opportunity for the all-important second goal. Fighting for a rebound in front of the net, Giguere put a shot behind Vandyk, but the puck hit off the inside of the post and remained out of the net. Neither team was able to score in the third period, leaving the game to be decided in overtime.
In overtime, Giguere would not be denied a third time. After a shot block in the defensive zone, the puck came out to the neutral zone. Giguere out-muscled a Colgate defender for the puck and came in alone on Vandyk. Giguere made a pretty deke to her backhand and deposited the national title winning goal into the net.
Shots on goal: CLK: 15-8-13-1-37 COL: 10-11-7-0-28
Even strength shot attempts: CLK: 21-10-27-4-62 COL: 15-11-12-5-44
Prime scoring area attempts: CLK: 11-4-9-2-26 COL: 2-7-4-1-14
What do the numbers tell us?
Clarkson controlled the first period and third periods, while Colgate had the better of the second period. Clarkson also did a much better job of being able to generate chances in the prime scoring area.
16:29 Cassidy Vinkle from Kelly Mariani 1-0 Clarkson
Mariani forced a turnover in the neutral zone and gave the puck to Vinkle for a 2-on-1 rush. Vinkle skated down the left wing and opted to keep the puck herself and put a nice snap shot high blockerside on Vandyk.
2:27 Malia Schneider from Oliva Zafuto and Breanne Wilson-Bennett 1-1 tie
Colgate entered the zone with a mini-2-on-1 rush. Zafuto fed the puck from the right side over to an open Schneider on the left wing for a tap in goal.
7:55 Elizabeth Giguere unassisted 2-1 Clarkson
Giguere stole the puck in the neutral zone and came in alone on Vandyk. She made a move to her backhand and scored.
Clarkson wins the women's Frozen Four in OT over Colgate, fantastic effort on the winner from @EliGiguere11 pic.twitter.com/5PtoNxGr62— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 18, 2018