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UMD Women receive honors

MINNEAPOLIS -- Maria Rooth was named the most valuable player in the Women's NCAA hockey tournament, and led the all-tournament team, which included teammates Tuula Puputti in goal and Brittny Ralph on defense. The rest of the team was Harvard fo...

MINNEAPOLIS -- Maria Rooth was named the most valuable player in the Women's NCAA hockey tournament, and led the all-tournament team, which included teammates Tuula Puputti in goal and Brittny Ralph on defense. The rest of the team was Harvard forward Tammy Shewchuk, St. Lawrence forward Amanda Sargeant and St. Lawrence defenseman Isabelle Chartrand.
The tournament was filled with surprising twists, as the first upset in NCAA women's hockey history didn't occur until the first game of the first tournament, when fourth-seeded St. Lawrence upset Dartmouth -- the team ranked No. 1 all season -- in a 3-1 first semifinal.
That dramatically changed the scope of the second semifinal, where No. 2 UMD faced No. 3 Harvard, clearly the two most individually skilled teams in the nation. Harvard had Jennifer Botterill and Tammy Shewchuk, stars of the Canadian national team, while UMD countered with Finnish national stars Puputti, Hanne Sikio and Sanna Peura and defenseman Satu Kiipeli, and Swedish national stars Rooth and Erika Holst. All those players will be meeting again next week, when the Women's World Tournament is conducted in Minnesota, at St. Cloud, Rochester and Mariucci Arena.
But their focus was totally on Friday's semifinal, which UMD won 6-3 thanks to Rooth's hat trick.
"I happen to believe Maria Rooth is the best player in women's college hockey," said UMD coach Shannon Miller. "Bar none."
Botterill, a junior, was typically classy. "I love to play these kind of games," she said, continuing even though her voice was choked with emotion. "To play in this type of situation, a big game, with a lot of talented players on both teams. I would have liked a different outcome, but that doesn't mean I love the game any less.

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