College women's hockey doesn't often get mentioned on ESPN or articles in the New York Times.
But that's the way it was for the first few weeks of the season for the University of Minnesota's women's hockey team.
A 62-game winning streak will do that.
The Gophers added one game to their NCAA record skein Saturday. Minnesota had a two-game home series with North Dakota, ranked fourth in the national poll. Last March, the Gophers edged UND in triple overtime to get into the Frozen Four en route to their second straight national title.
In fact, the last team to beat Minnesota was North Dakota (2-1 in overtime on Feb. 17, 2012).
So the two-game set was a known threat to their string.
But they kept it going, winning 6-1 Saturday in the Gophers' Ridder Arena.
Unfortunately it ended Sunday with a 3-2 win by North Dakota.
But now that it's over, it's time to reflect: How impressive is a 62-game winning streak?
Remember, this is hockey. You can give up a goal when a pass bounces off a skate and gets past your goalie. You can be denied a goal when your shot hits a pipe, or the goalie gets a tiny piece of the puck and deflects it.
The previous NCAA women's hockey record for most consecutive wins was 21 (Harvard, 2008).
That'll get you some air time with national media and a lot more local media than usual.
And more fans. After averaging 838 fans per game (fifth in the nation) for the 2010-11 season, the Gophers led the country at 1,962 last season. Side note: only three other programs -- Wisconsin, Duluth and North Dakota -- averaged more than 1,000.
This year, 2,754 nearly filled 3,400-seat Ridder. Sunday attendance was 2,435.
"It's brought a lot of great notoriety to our program and women's hockey in general," head coach Brad Frost said.
"It feels good," said freshman defenseman Paige Haley of Red Wing. "Coming into a winning program like this is what a player dreams about."
It just about ended a week before it did, at 60 games, when Minnesota trailed St. Cloud (with a 1-7-3 record) on Nov. 9 late in the third period. But two goals in the final 2:02 gave the Gophers a 4-3 win.
"It was an emotional roller coaster," said freshman wing Dani Cameranesi, who scored the winning goal. "A lot of people said that was more than they celebrated after the national championship game."
Nevertheless, several players said the string was not a focal point.
Haley said, "We don't talk a lot about it or emphasize it. We look at each game."
Frost was understandably pleased with his No. 1-ranked Gophers' surprisingly one-sided win Saturday. As for motivation for strong preparation and effort for that game, Frost said, "It had nothing to do with the streak or the media or the attention. It was playing North Dakota at home, knowing them well and how good they are."
Sunday, UND proved worthy of those respectful words.
The 13-0 start to the season was a bit surprising, considering the team lost goalie Noora Raty to graduation and forward Amanda Kessel and defenseman Lee Stecklein to the U.S. Olympic team.
"The streak is going to come to an end eventually, but we're certainly riding it as long as we can," Frost said a few days before the North Dakota series. "We'll pinch ourselves when it's all over."