What's buzzing:

Puck Daddy

Clarkson stuns Minnesota for NCAA title, has most underdog swagger ever

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy
Clarkson Wins
.

View photo

HAMDEN, CT- MARCH 23: Shannon MacAulay #24 of the Clarkson Golden Knights, who scored the winning goal against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, holds up the championship trophy, winning the 2014 NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Championship at TD Bank Sports Center on March 23, 2014 in Hamden, Connecticut. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Here’s what the majority of hockey fans know about women’s college hockey this season: Minnesota was [expletive] incredible.

The Gophers had captured two straight NCAA Frozen Four titles. They were the No. 1 team from start to finish this season. They saw a 62-game winning streak end in November, and then went on another 26-game winning streak to end it.

They were a hockey superpower, and acted the part: Can you imagine the level of confidence and hubris it takes for a team in the NCAA final to wear their white jerseys in anticipation of a three-peat because they already won in their maroon and gold ones?

Here’s what hockey fans know about women’s college hockey after Sunday at TD Bank Sports Center, in the Frozen Four final: There are no coronations.

Or if there are, Clarkson University wasn’t going to be a party to it.

We know what you’re saying: What is a Clarkson University? It’s a private school of about 3,500 students in Potsdam, New York. It’s only Div. I sport is men’s and women’s hockey, and it’s actually turned out some familiar NHL names: Todd Marchant, Kent Huskins, Dave Taylor, Willie Mitchell and the incomparable Grant Clitsome.

But it never had an NCAA championship, which is a hell of a thing for a school founded during the Grover Cleveland administration. Until Sunday happened.

The Clarkson Golden Knights upset Minnesota, 5-4, on third period goals by Vanessa Plante and Shannon MacAulay, on a brilliant breakaway.

OH DEAR LORD WE USED THE ‘U’ WORD.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Clarkson’s victory is that they’re apparently completely obvious to the fact that they were the underdogs in this game. Which, granted, is probably beneficial when both teams are on the ice and Clarkson wants any inkling of awe or intimidation eliminated from their thinking. But when the smoke clears, this is still a private school in Bumblefrack, NY, beating a team with one loss in its last 88 games.

View photo

.

HAMDEN, CT- MARCH 23: Venessa Plante #11 of the Clarkson Golden Knights reacts after she scored in the third p …

But in their postgame comments, no one on the corner has swagger like Clarkson:

“We deserve it. We worked hard all year for it. Yeah, Minnesota won it two years in a row, but that doesn’t mean anything to us.” - Shannon MacAulay, Clarkson forward

“2014 is a completely different year. We didn’t care how many national championships [Minnesota] had won -- this was our year.” – Carly Mercer, Clarkson senior forward.

“I don’t consider this an upset. Obviously, you have the rankings and everything else. They’re a great team. Second loss they had all season. That’s incredible. But it’s tough to gauge. We don’t get to see these teams all the time. I think our girls have done a great job throughout the season proving they belong on this stage.” - Clarkson co-coach Matt Desrosiers.

That last quote is great because it manages to dog Minnesota and the WCHA, pretty much.

Don’t get us wrong – we’re not calling Clarkson sore winners or anything.

On the contrary, the idea that a team would topple a champion looking for a three-peat – that, again, has one loss in its last 88 games – and answer the inevitable Cinderella questions with “Underwhatnow? Uh, sorry, but we’re every bit the hockey power that Minnesota is” has to be one of our favorite reactions by an unlikely champion we’ve seen recently.

And by “unlikely” we mean “is making its third Frozen Four appearance in 14 years.”

Basically, we’re just happy to finally see a Clarkson excel at anything in hockey this season.

View Comments (41)
  • Canada beats Czechs 3-2, remains undefeated at U18 world hockey championship

    After watching his team struggle through the first period against the Czech Republic, Canada coach Tim Hunter felt his top players could still come through. Anthony Beauvillier scored his second goal of the game on a third-period power play and … More »

    The Canadian Press - 25 minutes ago
  • John Tavares' quick overtime goal lifts Islanders over Capitals in Game 3

    John Tavares' quick overtime goal lifts Islanders over Capitals in Game 3

    UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The New York Islanders wasted little time in grabbing a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 3 Sunday afternoon. They only needed 15 seconds of overtime. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 30 minutes ago
  • Jets confident home ice will bring them an advantage

    Jets confident home ice will bring them an advantage

    Despite being behind two games to none against the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the NHL playoffs, Winnipeg Jets winger Drew Stafford says being home for the next two games will give the team a boost of energy. … More »

    Canadian Press Videos - 49 minutes ago
  • Blues-Wild Preview

    Any momentum from a 51-win season and a Central Division title seemed to fade for the St. Louis Blues with a disappointing playoff-opening defeat. It may have returned when Vladimir Tarasenko took control two days later. Heading into St. Paul with … More »

    AP - Sports - 59 minutes ago
  • Ribeiro smacks home a one-timer from the slot

    Ribeiro smacks home a one-timer from the slot

    Nashville Predators forward Mike Ribeiro answers Chicago's goal with one of his own as he smacks a one-timer in the slot by goalie Scott Darling. … More »

    NHL Highlights - 1 hour 9 minutes ago