“Obviously, I’m aware of [the streak], because it’s all over the media every time we win a game,” said freshman Dani Cameranesi, who scored the tying goal against St. Cloud State. “The only reason I know the streak right now [is 61] is because of ESPN.”
Fans, too, have taken note of the team’s achievement. The average attendance for home games at 3,400-seat Ridder Arena was 838 in 2010-11. The final six home games last season each attracted more than 2,000 fans. This year’s average attendance is 1,928.
“It’s great exposure [for women’s hockey],” North Dakota’s Idalski said. “We’re actually disappointed it’s taken people this long to get noticed.”
And the streak figures to have tangible benefits for the future for Frost and his team. Success breeds success, and that includes recruiting, where Frost says his goal is to keep the best Minnesota high school players at home and supplement the in-state talent with elite players from elsewhere.
“The publicity brought to our program has been great, because now more Canadians and Europeans are hearing about our program,” Frost said.
How long can the streak go? Frost said he never anticipated being 12-0 this season, because the team lost so many star players from last year, including goalie Noora Raty to graduation and top-scorer Amanda Kessel to the U.S. Olympic team.
No matter. The Gophers just keep on winning.
Their greatest strength might be a confidence that has increased in proportion to the streak.
“So much of any sport is just dictated by your mind, and what you think you can and cannot do, and all those kinds of things,” Brausen said.
Which is why, as the clock was ticking down at St. Cloud State, senior co-captain Baylee Gillanders said the collective mind-set was “Who wants to get the next goal? Who’s going to make that big play?”
And somehow, again, they found a way to do just that.
“It’s awesome being part of the streak, great because history is being made,” Gillanders said. “But it is nerve-racking. [The streak] is in the back of your mind, because you see it everywhere. No one wants to lose.”
Dennis Brackin • 612-673-1740