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College women's hockey: Clarkson beats Minnesota to win NCAA title; first non-WCHA team to do so

HAMDEN, Conn. -- Clarkson brought an end to the Gophers’ reign atop women’s college hockey on Saturday, defeating Minnesota 5-4 in the NCAA championship game at the TD Bank Sport Center.

The Gophers had a 26-game unbeaten streak and were trying to win their third consecutive championship - something they haven’t done in any sport since the football team did it from 1934-36.

Clarkson (31-5-5) celebrated its first NCAA title - in any sport. The private school of about 3,500 is located in Potsdam, N.Y.

The teams were tied 3-3 after two periods, and Clarkson took the lead on a goal by Vanessa Plante with 8:28 remaining. Shannon MacAulay made it 5-3 with a breakaway goal with 4:16 left.

The Gophers trimmed it to 5-4 with a unassisted goal by Baylee Gillanders with 3:41 remaining but couldn’t get another one past All-American goalie Erica Howe.

The Gophers (38-2-1) missed a chance to become the first team to win three straight NCAA women’s hockey titles since Minnesota Duluth did it from 2001-03.

It marked the first time since the NCAA started crowning a women’s hockey champion in 2001 that a team from outside the WCHA won the title. UMD has won five times; Minnesota and Wisconsin have won four apiece

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