Glover, Collins Win Gold in Finland

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Jack GloverGo Gophers!

USA Hockey Recap

Two members of this year's Gopher Hockey signing class won gold on Sunday as members of the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team.

Jack Glover and Ryan Collins helped the U.S. to a 5-2 win over the Czech Republic as the Red, White and Blue captured its eighth gold medal at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's Under-18 World Championships in Lappeenranta, Finland.

The U.S. went 6-1 at the tournament and rallied six-straight wins to clinch gold at the tournament. After falling to Switzerland (2-4) in the opening game, the U.S. topped the Czech Republic (3-0), Denmark (7-0) and Finland (4-3) in the preliminary round. The team then beat Slovakia (6-2) in the quarterfinals, Sweden (4-1) in the semifinals and finished off the tournament against the Czech Republic (5-2) in the gold-medal game. The U.S. also topped Germany (9-1) in a pre-tournament game.

Both defensemen for the U.S., Glover and Collins played in all seven tournament games. Glover tallied four points at the event with a goal and two assists while Collins notched a pair of assists for the U.S.  including one in the gold-medal game.

Glover and Collins have been long-time teammates with the U.S. National Development Team Program (USNDTP) in Ann Arbor, Mich., as well as helping Benilde-St. Margaret's to the Minnesota State Class AA title in 2012.

A Golden Valley, Minn., native, Glover has 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in 24 USHL games this season for the U.S. Under-18 Team while Collins, who hails from Bloomington, Minn., has skated in 26 games for the team this season with two assists.

Both Glover and Collins participated in the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game last September in Pittsburgh and are eligible for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. 

2004 Big Ten Champion Gophers Honored

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2004 Golden Gophers

The 2004 Big Ten champion Golden Gopher baseball team was honored on the field during the first game of Saturday's doubleheader. The team members in attendance received commemorative plaques during the presentation.

The 2004 Gophers won both the regular season and tournament Big Ten titles. They won 13 of their last 17 games on the way to their third straight regular season conference championship. Minnesota finished 21-10 in conference play, ahead of second-place Ohio State.

The Gophers went on to beat Ohio State in the tournament championship held at Siebert Field. The Buckeyes beat the Gophers in their first try at the tournament title, forcing one more game between the two teams. Minnesota won it 7-3 and Glen Perkins was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

The Gophers had nine All-Big Ten selections, including Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Perkins, Andy Hunter and Sam Steidl on the first team. Mike Mee, Jake Elder and Craig Molldrem made the second team, while Luke MacLean, Matt Fornasiere and David Hrncirik earned third-team status. John Anderson was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Minnesota made the NCAA Tournament and finished the season 38-23 overall.

NHL: Goligoski Scores, Martin Stays Hot

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All three NHL Stanley Cup Playoff series were evened up at 2-2 last night with four former Gophers in action including Alex Goligoski, who scored his first goal of the playoffs to put Dallas up 4-2 on Anaheim in Game Four of that series. 

Goligoski now has two points (one goal, one assist) in four playoff games this season while the defenseman has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 19 career playoff games. The Minnesota alum as tallied four blocks, four hits and was plus-two  in the win while also recording a game-high 32:48 of ice time as the game's No. 1 Star. 

Paul Martin, meanwhile, stayed hot for the Pittsburgh Penguins also the team lost to Todd Richards' Columbus squad 4-3 in overtime. For the fourth-straight game, Martin tallied a pair of assists for Pittsburgh and now leads all NHL skaters with eight points and eight assists in this year's playoffs. Martin, who has made the playoffs in each of his 10 NHL seasons, needs just three points to match his career best 2-9--11 in 15 games last season). 

In the third and final game on Wednesday, Nick Leddy and the Blackhawks topped Jordan Leopold and the Blues 4-3 to even that series at 2-2. 

Up Next

Only one Stanley Cup Playoff game with Gopher implications on the docket for Thursday as the Wild look to even the series against Colorado. Game Four is set for 8:30 p.m. CT on CNBC and FOX Sports North. 

WCHA Names Aaron Kemp Women's Commissioner

Aaron Kemp, the senior associate athletic director at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., has been named the new commissioner of the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association. He accepted a four-year agreement with the WCHA. Kemp, 38, succeeds Sara Martin, who has served as the guiding force of the women's WCHA since its founding in 1999. Martin will retire on June 30.

"I'm honored and excited for the opportunity to join the WCHA in this role," Kemp said. "The WCHA has identified itself as the premiere women's hockey conference, producing some of the most elite players in the game today. I'm thrilled to begin serving the member institutions and student-athletes. I'm committed to the same tradition of excellence and look forward to enhancing the overall operation and image of the league moving forward."

The WCHA executive committee put together a search committee to conduct a national search for the new commissioner. Kemp will get acquainted with the WCHA's coaches and administrators at the league's annual meetings in Marco Island, Fla. April 28-29 and plans to have his office in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

"On behalf of the entire Western Collegiate Hockey Association family, we are excited to announce Aaron Kemp as the next women's commissioner," said Bill Hudson, Professor at St. Cloud State University and Chair of the Association. "Aaron brings an extensive, proven background in both the sport of collegiate ice hockey and in athletic administration to the conference and we all look forward to working with him to both continue and expand on the WCHA's great tradition.

"Aaron is most passionate about hockey and has long been a strong proponent of student-athletes. As an administrator, he has overseen both women's and men's Division 1 ice hockey programs, he has a wealth of experience coaching both women's and men's collegiate teams, he has been involved in planning and organizing Frozen Fours and he has been a member of the NCAA hockey rules committee."

Kemp joined the athletic administration staff at Mercyhurst in June of 2008. He was promoted to Senior Associate Athletic Director/Mercyhurst North East Director of Athletics in June of 2011 after serving as the Associate Athletic Director/Director of Compliance on the Erie campus.

Kemp's primary responsibility was to provide the leadership, vision, and strategic direction for the Mercyhurst North East athletics program. He also had responsibilities to oversee the operation of the men's and women's hockey programs at Mercyhurst.

Prior to joining the administration, Kemp was an assistant men's hockey coach at his alma mater, Canisius College, from 2002-2004 and was a member of the women's hockey coaching staff at Mercyhurst from 2004-2008. Under head coach Michael Sisti, Mercyhurst compiled a 109-25-14 record during Kemp's time, boasting four College Hockey America Championships and four appearances in the NCAA Division I playoffs.

Kemp was part of the American Hockey Coaches Association NCAA Division 1 Staff of the Year for the 2004-2005 season and the CHA Staff of the Year the same season.

He has served on the executive committees for Atlantic Hockey and CHA conferences, was on the local organizing committee for the 2003 Men's Frozen Four, was the tournament director for the 2011 Women's Frozen Four and currently serves on the NCAA hockey rules committee.

Kemp earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1999 and a master's degree in Sports Administration in 2004, both at Canisius College. He is married to Darcey, the Dean of Students at Mercyhurst North East, and the couple has a son Jackson and two daughters, Ashlyn and Cierra.

Gophers head coach Brad Frost was a member of the search committee which selected Kemp.

"Aaron brings great experience in both the hockey and administrative world," said Frost, who has won two national titles at Minnesota and made three straight appearances in the NCAA title game. "He will do a tremendous job in taking our league to the next level."

Hudson, who chaired the search committee for a new commissioner, had high praise for Martin, the only leader the women's WCHA has ever had.

"I also want to take this opportunity to again thank retiring commissioner Sara Martin for all she had done to promote both the WCHA and women's collegiate ice hockey over the past 15 years," said Hudson. "Her commitment and dedication have been exemplary and we will always be grateful to her."

WCHA-member teams have appeared in a record 15 straight national championship games and captured 14 consecutive national championships between 2000-2013 (2000 AWCHA Div. 1 champions, 2001-2013 NCAA Women's Frozen Four champions). Six WCHA players have earned the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the top player in Division 1 women's collegiate ice hockey. Hundreds of WCHA players have had extensive experience and success in international competitions such as the Winter Olympics, IIHF World Championships and Four Nations' Cup.

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WCHA: Aaron Kemp Named New Commissioner of Women's WCHA

Gophers Alum Laylin Named Hamline Head Coach

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Go Gophers!Cory Laylin
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Gopher Hockey alum Cory Laylin has been tagged as the new head men's hockey coach at Hamline, the university athletic department announced on Wednesday. 

The St. Cloud, Minn., native was a four-year letter winner for Minnesota from 1989-92 and totaled 107 points (58 goals, 49 assists) during his career. The forward's 170 career games are tied for 14th all-time at Minnesota -- 12 games off the school record of teammate Larry Olimb with 182. 

In his tenure with the Maroon & Gold, Laylin helped the Gophers to WCHA MacNaughton Cups in 1989 as a freshman and again as a senior in 1992. 

Cory Laylin is returning to where his coaching career started. The St. Cloud, Minn. native, whose first coaching assignment was an assistant at Hamline, is returning to the school as its new head men's hockey coach.
"I'm very excited to be coming back to Hamline. It's where I got the coaching bug," Laylin said. "I learned about D-III hockey in my time here. This is a great, very competitive league. I'm looking forward to getting to work to build this team into a being a contender."
Laylin was an assistant at HU in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. The Pipers won 32 games in that time span, advancing to the MIAC postseason title game in his first year and making the playoffs the next year as well.
Two Pipers who played here when Laylin was an assistant coach expressed delight with the choice. "He helped me immensely," said Chris Berenguer, the 2011 Division III Player of The Year. "He knows defense very well. He also helped me prepare to move on in hockey from Hamline."
Dustin Fulton, who finished his HU career with 144 points (second all-time), added, "Cory brings a lot of excitement to the team and to the alums. He has great playing experience and great coaching experience."
For the past two seasons, Laylin has been the general manager and head coach of the Brookings Blizzard of the North American Hockey League. He also spent one season as the co-head coach at Buffalo High School and coached a pro team in Carldaro in the Italian professional league.

Prior to coaching, Laylin, who scored 58 goals in four years for the University of Minnesota, played 16 seasons professionally, much of it overseas. His best statistical season was in 1999-2000 when he scored 32 goals in 53 games for Iserlohn, a team in a league based in Germany.
In addition to his ice hockey resume, Laylin played four seasons of professional roller hockey.


A Successful Spring

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Gopher Fans!

This blog is going to cover a great deal of information "inside" the Gopher Men's Golf program over the last month. This may not be true for many of you, but our team's winter has flown by despite the unseasonal winter that we all experienced in Minnesota. I get asked all the time about the weather and how our team can prepare for tournament action, despite the roadblocks that we may face. It's actually a very easy answer...recruit players that have tireless work ethics and play with a "chip on our shoulder." This "chip on our shoulder" will certainly allow us to keep our eyes on the one prize that we work so hard all year for...a Big Ten Championship!

In chronicling the past month, I have to start by thanking Tom Lehman for setting up our spring break training trip to Arizona. Raven at Verrado, Desert Mountain, DC Ranch, Greyhawk-Raptor and Phoenix CC served as perfect venues to prepare us for our third event of the spring at Oregon. We sat in the outfield to watch the spring training game with the Giants playing the Padres, watched Alex Gaugert bowl over a 200 game for the third consecutive year and enjoyed the perfect weather in March in Arizona.

To the players, maybe the other highlight of the trip came when Jose Mendez beat me by two shots over the course of four rounds, which allowed all team members to grow their facial hair as long as they wanted for one full month. This was a tough loss for me, not because I couldn't beat Jose, but I have a very strict team rule disallowing facial hair while a student-athlete at the University of Minnesota.

Go Gophers! Mendez medalist
Go Gophers!
The Duck Invitational was Jose Mendez's first collegiate win.
Go Gophers!

I think the extra facial hair helped in chilly Eugene, Ore., at the Duck Invitational. Playing at Emerald Valley Golf Club against some of the top Pac-12 teams, our team showed the improvement that we are seeing weekly within the program.  Jose Mendez shined this week! He won his first individual title as a Gopher at 3 under on a very difficult driving golf course. This was the first individual title for our program since 2006-07, when PGA Tour member Clayton Rask was victorious. Keep in mind, Jose is only a freshman! Our team showed its toughness coming down the stretch to edge the home team, the 40th-ranked University of Oregon, only to lose to eventual champion No. 6 Oregon State University. Jon Trasamar notched his second top 20 in the spring, which proved to carry his confidence over into the following event at the University of Iowa.

You never know what the weather will bring you in Iowa City in April. This year was no different as the first day of 36-hole competition was perfect at 70 degrees. Then the skies opened up for the final round and I have never been so wet on a golf course as I was on this day. Our guys would agree! Iowa, Iowa State and our team were certainly the best golf programs at the Hawkeye and all locked in an intense battle with nine holes to play. The Hawkeyes were leading by three over us and we had built a 14-shot lead on the Cyclones. The pouring rain, missed short putts and our worst nine holes as a team of the year would follow. Leading by 3 individually through 45 holes, Jose Mendez would play the final nine holes 6 over to finish third. Matt Rachey played his final five holes in 5 over to shoot 74 in the final round. Jon Trasamar, Jon DuToit and Alex Gaugert all played solid in the final nine holes but couldn't find the elusive birdies amongst the standing water on the greens and in the bunkers. Nevertheless, we finished third and many teaching lessons came out of this weekend for a few of our younger players. The commitment and dedication that our squad shows in practice and competition certainly allows us to build off of each of these experiences.

Off to Happy Valley we went four days after the Hawkeye. The Rutherford Intercollegiate dates back to 1975 and the tournament kicked off at the same time medal play was introduced to college golf. The Penn State Blue Course is also the site of the Minnesota Gophers winning the 2002 Big Ten Golf Championship. Great tradition, fond memories and a course that appears to be very similar in layout to Bunker Hills and various other courses in the Twin Cities, proved to be just what we needed after the disappointment in Iowa City.

Alex Gaugert started us off on the right foot on Day 1 with scores of 71 and 69 for a share of fourth place. Sounds like a broken record but we were once again led by the one of the finest college freshmen in the country, Jose Mendez. Jose opened with a 3-under-par 68, only to follow that up by a flawless round of golf in the afternoon. His 65 was not only one shot off the competitive course record by Robert Rohanna of Penn State, but it also featured a hole out from 101 yards on the very difficult par-5 12th hole. This was his lowest collegiate round to date and his three-shot lead after Day 1 helped our team out to a convincing nine-shot lead over Rutgers University heading into the final round. 

It was a fun week for our coaching staff to meet the coaches and compete against the newest members of our Big Ten Conference, Maryland and Rutgers, who will join in the summer. The final round started slightly later with a frost delay, which seemed to throw our preparation timeline off, as we played the first nine holes 9 over. The team competition was now very tight with Rutgers, Penn State and UConn, all within 10 shots of the lead.

Our team is tough to crack though. Senior leadership, freshman confidence and a sophomore who has won a Minnesota State Open title is a great recipe to close out tournaments. The Rutherford was no different as we played the final nine holes on a windy afternoon 3 over to secure a 12-shot victory for our program and FANS! Jon Trasamar really carried the load the final day for our team going out first on the day. His even-par round of 71 was one of the best scores of day. Alex Gaugert battled hard all day to finish with 75 and his fourth top 10 of the year. We all knew Jose Mendez was good coming in from Costa Rica as a 17-year-old freshman, but the year he is putting together will rank as one of the top performances in Gopher history. Jose won his second individual title by three strokes with a three-day total of 207, 6 under par. He also carries a 70.25 scoring average this spring season through five events that has helped him to a year-long scoring average of 72.05. As a team, everyone helped in this win as we used scores from all five players.

The Gophers won their third team title of the year at the Rutherford Intercollegiate.

TEAM is something that isn't always seen as synonymous with golf, as most view our sport as strictly individual. College golf is very different though. The exhilaration of winning a TEAM title is unlike any feeling you get from an individual title. The NCAA Championship plays match play in the final three rounds to determine the National TEAM Champion. Finally, you should all be very proud to know that our TEAM has formed a very tight-knit bond with each other and our coaching staff that will last for many years beyond college. We are having a special year and the tradition of Gopher Golf means so much to all nine TEAM members, coaching staff and administration. Most of you won't be able to travel to watch us compete in the Big Ten Championship May 2-4 at the French Lick Resort-Dye Course in French Lick, Ind., but know that all five players and two coaches will be giving everything we've got, both mentally and physically, to bring home a championship that all of Minnesota can be proud of!

Follow the scores from the Big Ten Championship live on May 2-4.

Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!

John Carlson

Holl's Winner Named NCAA's Top Play of the Year

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By now you've probably seen or heard about Justin Holl's game-winning, shorthanded goal in the final second of Minnesota's Frozen Four semifinal win over North Dakota. Holl's first goal of the year propelled the Gophers into the national championship game and snapped a 42-game goal drought for the senior defenseman. 

On Tuesday, the NCAA named Holl's spectacular goal as the top play of the year amid a flurry of other impressive plays. Check out the full video below -- it will be three minutes you certainly won't regret. 

Faces of the Big Ten Features Ramsey

Gopher women's hockey junior defenseman Rachel Ramsey is featured in the Big Ten Conference's Faces of the Big Ten campaign. Check out the video and watch for it to air on the Big Ten Network this spring.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Update

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Three of four Stanley Cup Playoff games on Monday night featured some form of Gophers alum squaring off against Gophers alum while the Minnesota Wild invited several current student-athletes to Game Three at Xcel Energy Center. 

We'll start things off in Dallas as Alex Goligoski and the Stars fought their way back into the series with Anaheim behind a 3-0 win on Monday. Goligoski had a game-high 27:40 of ice time in the win as Dallas trails the Ducks 2-1 in the series. Likewise for Nick Leddy and the Chicago Blackhawks, who clawed their way back into the series on Monday night with a 2-0 win over Jordan Leopold and the St. Louis Blues, and Erik Haula and the Minnesota Wild, which scored the game's only goal in overtime for a 1-0 win over Erik Johnson and the Colorado Avalanche. Both St. Lois and Colorado lead those series 2-1. 

Paul Martin, meanwhile, was named the game's Third Star after tallying two assists in Pittsburgh's 4-3 win over Todd Richards' Columbus Blue Jackets. The Penguins are now up 2-1 in the first round series. With his team down 2-0 after nearly 40 minutes, Martin set up Pittsburgh's first goal of the night with two seconds remaining in the second stanza. After Columbus answered just over a minute into the third, the defenseman then kicked off a string of three-straight goals in just over two minutes for Pittsburgh that included the game winner. 

Martin now has six points (all assists) in three playoff games this season for the Penguins. The former Gopher, who has made the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of his 10 NHL seasons, has only tallied more playoff points once in his career -- 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 15 games for Pittsburgh last season. 

Wild Honor Gophers 
A special thanks to the Minnesota Wild, who invited captains of both the Gopher men's and women's hockey programs to Monday's exciting hockey game. Both programs capped impressive seasons with runner-up finishes in the NCAA tournament. 

Up Next
Only one Gopher in action on Tuesday as Thomas Vanek and Montreal try to move past Tampa Bay in Game Four (6 p.m. ET, NHL Network). The Canadiens lead the series 3-0 while Vanek has a goal and an assist for his squad. 

Johnson Saves Avalanche in Game One

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MINNEAPOLIS ( -- Former Gopher Erik Johnson was one of several heroes for Colorado on Thursday night as the Avalanche topped Minnesota 5-4 in overtime. 

With his team down 4-3 with less than two minutes to play, Johnson made a sprinting lunge to prevent a clear attempt from going into the open net in his NHL playoff debut. The former No. 1 overall draft pick then turned around and set up Paul Statsny's game-tying goal with 14 seconds to play. The Avalanche would go on to win in overtime. 

On the other side of the ice, Erik Haula also made his NHL playoff debut on Thursday night and tallied Minnesota's third goal of the night -- snapping a 2-2 tie late in the second period. With Colorado up 1-0 in the best-over-seven series, Minnesota will try to even things up in Denver on Saturday in Game Two (8:30 p.m. CT, NBC Sports, FOX Sports North). 

In other action, Nick Leddy tallied an assist for Chicago in the Blackhawks' triple overtime loss to St. Louis. The defenseman set up Chicago's second goal of the night, putting the team up 2-1 in a five-goal first period, although the Blues went on to win 4-3 with a goal 26 seconds into the third overtime session. Game Two of that series is set for 2 p.m. CT on Saturday (NBC). 

Up Next

Two Gopher alums are in NHL playoff action tonight -- Thomas Vanek and the Canadiens lead Tampa Bay 1-0 heading into Game Two tonight (6 p.m. CT, CNBC) while Alex Goligoski and Dallas are a game behind Anaheim (9 p.m. CT, NBC Sports).