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Vetter's shutout hands Badgers title

3/22/2009

BOSTON -- Meghan Duggan poked the puck out of the Wisconsin
zone and began the celebration even before the last seconds had
ticked off the clock.

Another championship for the Badgers.

Another shutout for Jessie Vetter.

Vetter stopped 37 shots for an NCAA-record 14th shutout of the
season -- her second in a national championship game -- and Wisconsin
won its third women's hockey title in four years on Sunday with a
5-0 victory over Mercyhurst.

"What she's done for four years, you saw today," Wisconsin
coach Mark Johnson said. "It's going to be tough to duplicate this
senior class."

Vetter earned a second Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player award
-- she also won it with back-to-back shutouts in the 2006 tournament
-- to go with this year's Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in
women's college hockey. Angie Keseley had a goal and two assists,
and Erika Lawler had three assists for the Badgers (34-2-5) to join
Vetter as three-time national champions.

Wisconsin lost to Minnesota-Duluth in last year's title game.

"We were able to win it our freshman year, and we know how that
felt," said Vetter, who has four Frozen Four shutouts and 38 in
her career -- also NCAA records. "If you're playing for a trophy,
it's just so much better."

Duggan had a goal and an assist and Brooke Ammerman and Malee
Windmeier also scored for Wisconsin, which broke open a scoreless
game in the middle of the second period with three goals in 5:10
and then rode Vetter to the victory. Mercyhurst (31-6-0) had two
power plays in the final three minutes but couldn't get the puck
past Vetter.

The Lakers managed one last rush in the final minute before
Duggan poked the puck away with about five seconds left and started
the Badgers' on-ice party. Alycia Matthews, who took a hooking
penalty with 63 seconds left to help protect the shutout, and
Rachel Bible cheered the fans on from the penalty box.

"I wanted Vetter to get that shutout and I knew we have a good
enough [penalty killing unit]. ... I was just having fun, and they
didn't score," Matthews said after rushing the ice to join her
teammates for hugs, the trophy celebration and then pictures. "It
took me about ten minutes to find my gloves and my stick."

Hillary Pattenden stopped 27 shots for Mercyhurst (31-6-0),
which reached the Frozen Four for the first time; the other three
teams in Boston all had NCAA title pedigrees. The Catholic college
from Erie, Pa., went undefeated in the four-team College Hockey
America conference and won 28 of its previous 29 games, including a
5-4 victory over two-time champion Minnesota in the semifinals.

"A lot of people didn't believe in us," said Meghan Agosta, an
unprecedented three-time finalist for the Kazmaier Award and an
Olympic gold medalist who led the nation in goals and assists per
game. "But we showed everyone who Mercyhurst was."

Wisconsin advanced to the championship with a 5-1 victory over
Minnesota-Duluth in a rematch of the last two title games.

Johnson played on the United States' gold-medal "Miracle on
Ice" team that beat Russia in the 1980 Olympics, and he had no
interest in being on the other end of an upset. After having dinner
with U.S. teammate Mike Eruzione on Saturday night, he set out his
powerful Red team to crush the Lakers.

"They're a worthy opponent and a good team," Johnson said.
"Maybe people haven't seen them play, but I think all the coaches
who coached against them understand that. They'll become stronger
and I'm sure you'll see them back to run at another championship in
the near future."

The teams played a scoreless first period, then Ammerman broke
the tie with 14:32 left in the second period when she picked up a
loose puck on the side of the net and backhanded it past Pattenden.
With 11:12 left, Lawler faked a defender and slid the puck to
Alycia Matthews, whose shot was tipped into the net by Duggan. Just
1:50 later, the Badgers made it 3-0 when Keseley and Lawler used
some back-and-forth passing to get the goalie out of position.

"We gave up three in a short period of time. Obviously, that
rattled us a bit," Mercyhurst coach Michael Sisti said. "It's a
tough way back from there."

Windmeier ran the score to 4-0 early in the third period, and
Lawler worked another give-and-go with Knight to make it 5-0.