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Chasing championships: Penn State, Colgate win regular season conference titles

It was a big weekend in women’s Division I college hockey.

Wisconsin Athletics/Twitter

It’s championship season in the NCAA!

With the postseason looming on the horizon, three of the NCAA’s five D-I conferences handed out their regular season titles over the past week, with each program making history

CHA:

Penn State clinches CHA regular season title with 5-0 win over RIT on Feb. 19

To cap off a massively successful season in which the program established only its second winning record, Penn State clinched their first ever CHA regular season title with a dominant win over RIT.

The effort was made possible by sophomore Julie Gough, who’s had an outstanding season for the Nittany Lions so far and registered her first career hat trick en route to her team’s 5-0 win. Freshman netminder and HCA Goaltender of the Year finalist Josie Bothun registered her third shutout of the season after turning away all 13 of RIT’s shots, and cemented her record as the winningest goalie in Penn State program history.

“Saying I’m proud of this team is a major understatement,” said head coach Jeff Kampersal in Penn State’s release. “These women have inspired me everyday. ... Today was a big day for our program but we have more goals to accomplish.”

Penn State will face the CHA’s lowest seed, which is still to be determined, on Friday in the CHA semifinals.

ECAC:

Colgate claims ECAC regular season title with series split with Quinnipiac

This past weekend, Colgate claimed only their second ECAC regular season title, and won the award outright for the first time in program history (in 2018-19, the Raiders shared the conference title with Clarkson).

The title came after a weekend split with Quinnipiac and was cemented by Clarkson’s two losses to St. Lawrence.

Over the course of the weekend, sophomore forward Danielle Serdachny tallied four points (3 G, 1 A) and rookie netminder Kayle Osborne — who’s also nominated for the HCA’s Goaltender of the Year Award, by the way — made nearly 50 saves. Freshman Kalty Kaltounkova, who’s been a standout at the U18 tournament for the Czech Republic the past few years, also registered a multi-point night on Friday.

“It sure felt like both teams played well tonight,” said Colgate head coach Greg Fargo after Colgate’s first, title-clinching win on the weekend in the ECAC’s release. “[Quinnipiac] are very well coached, and they play a disciplined game. We knew we’d have to earn it if we were going to come out on top.”

Colgate will again square off against the #4 seed Quinnipiac at the end of the week.

WCHA:

Wisconsin wins the WCHA regular season title with overtime win against Minnesota Duluth

The Badgers won their fifth Julianne Bye Cup in six years as regular season WCHA champions for the second consecutive season this past weekend, after Daryl Watts’ overtime winner lifted Wisconsin past Minnesota-Duluth.

The game looked as though it was surefire win for the Bulldogs after two quick second period goals from Gabbie Hughes and Anna Klein gave the team the 3-1 lead, but transfer Lacey Eden got one back for the Badgers in the dying minutes of the middle frame, and Brette Pettet would get the equalizer with less than two minutes in regulation. From there, all it took was 41 seconds of overtime for Daryl Watts to seal the deal.

“It’s a tough trophy to win,” Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnston said in the WCHA’s press release. “I told the group that we played well today. It came in a strange way in the last minute of the game with the tie and winning in overtime, but from start to finish they were focused in.”

Had the Bulldogs won the contest, the regular season title would have been shared by the two teams.

The WCHA Final Faceoff kicks off on Saturday, with Wisconsin set to square off in another Border Battle with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Hockey East did not name a regular season champion due to complications of the pandemic. Their postseason is the only one currently underway, with the semifinal round set to begin mid-week.

The NEWHA did not entertain conference play this season due to the pandemic, but with two programs — Sacred Heart and Long Island — competing in out-of-conference play, the NEWHA has elected to host a Commissioner’s Cup series to award the conference championship title to one of the two programs. The three-game series will begin in early March.