Senior forward Cayley Mercer from Exeter, Ont. scored twice to power the Clarkson Golden Knights to a 3-0 victory over the top-ranked Wisconsin Badgers in the NCAA Division 1 women's championship final on March 19.
It was the second national title win for the Knights and Mercer, named MVP of this year's Frozen Four tournament, was one of five seniors on this year's squad that also claimed the crown in 2014.
Junior goaltender Shea Tiley from Owen Sound, Ont. picked up the shutout and out-duelled senior netminder and 2017 Patty Kazmaier Award winner (top player in NCAA hockey) Ann-Renée Desbiens from La Malbaie, Que.
Tiley faced 41 shots while Desbiens was tested just 20 times in taking the loss.
Savannah Harmon opened the scoring with what proved to be the winning marker on a power play just 27 seconds into the second period. Mercer scored on a breakaway in the final frame and then iced it with an empty net counter in the last minute of play.
The loss ended a 22-game unbeaten streak by Wisconsin, including a pair of regular season victories over Clarkson. It marked the fourth straight Frozen Four appearance by the Badgers, who lost out in the semifinals to Minnesota in the last three.
Clarkson (32-4-5) reached the Frozen Four final with a hard-fought 4-3 victory over the two-time defending champion University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Rhyen McGill from Whitby, Ont. notched the semifinal winner with just 1:43 remaining in regulation time. Geneviève Bannon from Candiac, Que., Loren Gabel from Kitchener, Ont. and Harmon had the other counters. Mercer chipped in with a pair of helpers. Sarah Potomak from Aldergrove, B.C., Kate Schipper and Sophie Skarzynski replied for Minnesota.
Wisconsin (33-3-4) earned the other berth with a slim 1-0 decision over the Boston College Eagles. Mellissa Channell from Oakville, Ont. fired home the lone goal with just 16 seconds remaining in regulation time while Desbiens stopped all 22 shots she faced for her 55th career shutout.
The Frozen Four All-Tournament team included both Mercer and Desbiens along with Wisconsin forward Annie Pankowski, Bannon, Channell and Harmon.
Twenty-eight players from north of the border competed in this year's women's Frozen Four. The following is a list of the Canadians:
CLARKSON GOLDEN KNIGHTS (16): senior forward Cayley Mercer (Exeter, Ont.), senior defenceman Corie Jacobson (Warren, Ont.), senior forward Jessica Gillham (Uxbridge, Ont.), junior forward Lauren Lefler (Windsor, Ont.), senior forward Geneviève Bannon (Candiac, Que.), freshman defenceman Ella Shelton (Ingersol, Ont.), junior forward Amanda Titus (Stittsville, Ont.), sophomore forward Loren Gabel (Kitchener, Ont.), sophomore defenceman Emma Keenan (Calgary, Alta.), sophomore forward Cassidy Vinkle (Belleville, Ont.), junior forward Katelyn Fournier (Ottawa, Ont.), sophomore forward Rhyen McGill (Whitby, Ont.), sophomore forward Kelly Mariani (Mississauga, Ont.), junior forward Brielle Bellerive (North Vancouver, B.C.), sophomore defenceman Josiane Pozzebon (Bourget, Ont.), and junior goaltender Shea Tiley (Owen Sound, Ont.).
WISCONSIN BADGERS (8): senior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens (La Malbaie, Que.) senior forward Sarah Nurse (Hamilton, Ont.), senior defenceman Mellissa Channell (Oakville, Ont.), sophomore forward Sam Cogan (Ottawa, Ont.), senior forward Sydney McKibbon (Oakville, Ont.), junior defenceman Lauren Williams (Windsor, Ont.), junior forward Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Sask.), and freshman goaltender Nikki Cece (Oakville, Ont.).
MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS (3): freshman forward Lindsay Agnew (Oakville, Ont.), sophomore forward Sarah Potomak (Aldergrove, B.C.), and freshman goaltender Serena D'Angelo (Stoney Creek, Ont.).
BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES (1): senior forward Kristyn Capizzano (Oakville, Ont.)
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