Clarkson blanks Wisconsin for NCAA women's hockey title

Clarkson claims its second national championship in four years by knocking off Wisconsin 3-0 in the final.

ST. CHARLES, Mo. -- Cayley Mercer scored two goals and Shea Tiley recorded a shutout as Clarkson captured the NCAA women's hockey national championship with a 3-0 win over Wisconsin on Sunday.

Mercer, one of five seniors, played on Clarkson's first national championship team in 2014.

"Knowing this was my last game as a Golden Knight, I knew I had to just go out and give it everything I have," Mercer said. "I honestly couldn't be more proud of my team right now."

Tiley was brilliant in net for the Knights, making 41 saves and limiting second-chance opportunities by the Badgers. She insisted she tried to approach the title match as if it were just another game, but knew she would have to be at her best to beat Wisconsin goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens.

"I know her from Hockey Canada," Tiley said. "She's the (Patty) Kazmaier Award winner. I just knew it was going to be a goalie battle to win it."

The Badgers held a 41-20 advantage in shots on goal

Wisconsin (33-3-4) lost in the semifinals in each of the last three seasons and was ranked No.1 in the nation all season. The Badgers beat No. 2 Clarkson twice in October at Potsdam, N.Y.

Clarkson (32-4-5) opened the second period on the power play, and Savannah Harmon made the Badgers pay 27 seconds in. Desbiens stopped shots by Ella Shelton and Genevieve Bannon, but after clearing the puck from behind the Wisconsin net, Bannon flicked a pass in front of the goal and Harmon deflected it past Desbiens.

Mercer scored in the third period on a breakaway and added an empty-net goal in the final minute.

Clarkson coach Matt Desrosiers gave credit to his five seniors.

"They started their career with a national championship and they end their career with a national championship," he said. "I'm just so excited and so proud of this team for where they came from at the start of the season to right now."

The loss ended a 22-game unbeaten streak by Wisconsin, which lost to Minnesota in the semifinals of the Frozen Four the last three seasons.

Desbiens recorded her 55th career shutout in a 1-0 win over Boston College in the semifinal.

Clarkson beat the defending national champion Gophers 4-3 to reach the semifinal.

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