As the Minnesota Golden Gophers women's hockey team continue its magical season, a Feb. 1 win versus the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs led to an historic night for Noora Raty and her teammates. In a 5-0 blanking, the Maroon and Gold became the quickest team to clinch the WCHA regular-season title.
With the win, Raty cemented her legacy as one of the greatest goaltenders in NCAA history. The win was the 101st in her stellar career, as she surpassed Mercyhurst’s Hillary Pattenden as the NCAA’s all-time wins leader.
In addition, Raty logged career shutout No. 37. With seven games remaining in the season, she is two shutouts away from tying Jessie Vetter as the all-time shutout leader in NCAA women’s hockey.
At the 3:45 mark of the first frame, Becky Kortum logged a short-handed goal to nullify the Bulldogs power play. Maryanne Menefee was serving a tripping penalty. There would not be another goal for the remainder of the period, as the Bulldogs employed a stingy defense.
Heading into the second stanza, the Gophers added to their lead. Amanda Kessel scored her NCAA-leading 35th goal at the 8:04 mark. Assists went to rookie phenom Hannah Brandt and team captain Megan Bozek.
The final frame found the Gophers explode with three goals. Bethany Brausen set up Sarah Davis for her fifth score of the campaign. The 6:19 mark of the frame found Kessel add to her goal total while providing the Gophers with a 4-0 cushion. Once again, Brandt assisted on the goal, for her 39th assist of the season.
With 3:25 remaining, Milica McMillen beat Bulldogs netminder Kayla Black, as the Gophers enjoyed an insurmountable 5-0 lead. Depsite UMD outshooting the Gophers by a 24-22 mark, Raty was on top of her game, and she earned an historic win.
Historically, the recruiting of Raty will be seen as one of the great accomplishments in the history of the Gophers program. After several seasons of seeing the Wisconsin Badgers and the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs dominate the NCAA Frozen Four, Raty’s superlative goaltending led to a shifting in the balance of power in the WCHA.
With the possibility of an undefeated season on the horizon, Raty is primed for even greater performances.