Martin perfect as Minnesota Duluth women win title

Mar 22, 2008 - 11:57 PM DULUTH, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Kim Martin helped Minnesota Duluth exact revenge and spoil Wisconsin's bid at a "threepeat."

Martin made 28 saves and Sara O'Toole recorded a goal and an assist as the Bulldogs captured their first title since 2003 with a 4-0 triumph over the Badgers on Saturday in the championship game of the NCAA Women's Frozen Four.

After posting one-goal victories over Mercyhurst and New Hampshire, second-ranked Minnesota Duluth (34-4-1) avenged last year's loss to Wisconsin in the title game and won its fourth national championship. The Bulldogs claimed the crown each of the first three years of the tournament, which was instituted in 2001.

"Today, we pulled together almost a perfect hockey game for 60 minutes," Bulldogs coach Shannon Miller said. "We have such a young team. Every single time there was a hurdle in front of us, we cleared it. Every time there was a wall, we went around it. And when you watch your team do that, you know you can win a national championship."

Prior to Saturday's title game, Minnesota Duluth won five of its six meetings with Wisconsin this season.

Martin - who was named Frozen Four MVP - was superb when necessary for the Bulldogs, turning aside 11 shots in the first period, 10 in the second and seven in the third. She received plenty of help from her defense, which effectively cleared rebounds.

Haley Irwin gave Martin all the offensive support she needed, scoring her 23rd goal of the season with 38 seconds remaining in the first period. After O'Toole's shot was denied, Irwin jammed in the rebound for a 1-0 lead.

Emmanuelle Blais doubled Minnesota Duluth's lead with a power-play tally at 11:48 of the second, grabbing a rebound to the left of goaltender Jessie Vetter and burying a backhander for her 17th goal.

O'Toole made it 3-0 with 96 seconds to go in the session, firing the puck over Vetter's left shoulder for the Bulldogs' 11th shorthander of the season.

Karine Demeule, the only senior on Minnesota Duluth's roster, capped the scoring with 2:45 left in the third with an empty-netter.

"It's unbelievable, it's like a dream," Demeule said. "A lot of players wish for this. I got to win a national championship at home. It's perfect. It's like a dream."

Vetter made 20 saves for the Badgers (29-9-3), who went 0-for-10 on the power play.

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