October 2013 Archives

Gophers in the News: MSU Series Preview

Catch up on some of the Gophers' media coverage recapping last weekend's sweep at Bemidji State and previewing this weekend's home-and-home series with Minnesota State.

Gophers Sweep Beavers

Star Tribune: Gophers shut out Bemidji State in women's hockey; win streak at 56 games
Oct. 25, 2013

Pioneer Press: Gophers' streak hits 56 with 4-0 win over Bemidji State
Oct. 25, 2013

Bemidji Pioneer: Mowat makes 42 saves for Bemidji State but Minnesota shuts out Beavers 4-0
Oct. 25, 2013

USCHO: Lorence scores twice in Minnesota's 4-0 victory at Bemidji State
Oct. 25, 2013

Star Tribune: Gophers women's hockey survives Bemidji State; streak lives on
Oct. 27, 2013

Minnesota Daily: Brandt scores late, Gophers sweep Beavers
Oct. 28, 2013

Gophers to Face Minnesota State

Minnesota Daily: Gophers' first line still finding legs sans former leading scorer Kessel
Oct. 31, 2013

Gold And Gopher: Women to skate home-and-home with Minnesota State
Nov. 1, 2013

Star Tribune: U women put streak on line
Nov. 1, 2013

Gopher Bites

Here are a few more articles that are worth reading. The Minnesota Daily looked at the Mariucci Arena and Ridder Arena zamboni drivers and what goes into preparing the ice for Gopher hockey games. Last but not least, Dave Schwartz wrote about the Gophers' 57-game winning streak for his column in Minnesota Hockey Magazine.

Pioneer Press: Gophers hockey teams unanimous No. 1s in polls
Oct. 28, 2013

Minnesota Daily: Zamboni drivers pave the way for games
Oct. 30, 2013

Minnesota Hockey Magazine: Defying the Odds
Oct. 31, 2013

Beck Trains on Pommel Horse

The Gopher men's gymnastics team has had a successful season of fall training so far. Check out a video of senior Steffen Beck working on pommel horse last week.

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By Andrew Doughty
Student-Athlete Development Intern

University of Minnesota student-athletes visited Countryside Elementary School in Edina on Wednesday, October 30th as part of the "Eat Smart, Play Hard" program. "Eat Smart, Play Hard" is an interactive and engaging program with a mission of educating elementary school children on the importance of eating healthy and exercising.

Student-athletes from football, women's swimming and diving, rowing, and baseball reviewed different forms of basic physical activity, healthy alternative snacks, and making smart decisions for your body.

"It's a great chance for kids to visually see the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity," said Chris Hawthorne, a senior on the football team. "It is also a tremendous opportunity to really connect with kids in promoting daily dietary habits and daily exercises."

The group of eager children from kindergarten through third grade was also treated to entertaining videos created by former Gopher student-athletes Josh Hall (Men's Swimming & Diving) and Lucy Ennis (Women's Gymnastics).

The videos further stressed the message of moderate portions of healthy snacks and exploring new ways to get adequate exercise. The program concluded as the student-athletes passed out fruit and granola bars to the inquisitive group of students prior to spending a few moments answering entertaining and mildly amusing questions.


Eat Smart Play Hard Photo 2.jpg

Xcel Energy Center Named Finalist for Future Frozen Fours

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Go Gophers!Xcel Energy Center
Go Gophers!

The NCAA and the Men's Ice Hockey Committee has announced finalists to host the 2015-18 Frozen Fours with the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul among the 10 finalists. 

The potential host cities also include: Boston, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Chicago, Columbus, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Washington D.C. All but Chicago and Brooklyn have hosted Frozen Fours before. Pittsburgh hosted the Frozen Four last year while Philadelphia is hosting this year.

The Committee is expected to name the four winning bids some time in late November.

Xcel Energy Center has previously hosted the NCAA Frozen Four twice, most recently in 2011. The facility first hosted the national championship in 2002 with the Gophers topping Maine to win the fourth overall NCAA title in program history and the first of back-to-back national titles. 


NHL: Vanek Makes Islanders Debut

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Go Gophers!Thomas VanekGo Gophers!

Former Gopher standout Thomas Vanek made his debut with the New York Islanders on Tuesday night in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers, two days after the eight-time 20-goal scorer was traded to the team from the Buffalo Sabres. 

Tuesday marked Vanek's 599th career NHL game with the forward likely skating in his 600th game on Friday against Ottawa. Vanek is also three points shy of 600 for his career (254-243--497). 

"It's a fresh start for me and hopefully I can help these guys out right away," Vanek told the Islanders on Monday. "I'm just happy to be here right now, taking it all in. An opportunity like this doesn't come around much. I'm going to try to make the most of it."

Go Gophers!
Kessel Contributes in Win Over Edmonton

Phil Kessel contributed on all four of Toronto's goals in Tuesday's 4-0 shutout over Edmonton, tallying two goals and adding two assists in the victory. It didn't take long for the former Gopher to find the stat sheet on Tuesday, scoring just 1:08 into the first period for the eventual game-winning goal. 


Here's Kessel's second goal of the night (all four points can be seen on Leafs TV): 


Through 13 games this season, Kessel has 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) -- tied for second most in the NHL with Steven Stamkos and two shy of Sidney Crosby for the league lead. 

Wheeler Nets Another Goal in Loss to Blues

Blake Wheeler added his ninth point of the year (five goals, four assists) with a goal in Winnipeg's 3-2 loss to Jordan Leopold and the St. Louis Blues. Nice looking goal for the former Gopher. 

Gopher Coaches Share Postseason Memories

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The Gopher baseball coaches have obviously seen a lot of college baseball, but they have some good Major League Baseball stories, too. With the 2013 World Series underway, we asked assistant coaches Rob Fornasiere and Todd Oakes to share some of their  memories of watching the national pastime's biggest event.

Go Gophers! Puckett and Davis
Go Gophers!
Kirby Puckett and Chili Davis at the 1991 World Series (AP photo)
Go Gophers!
Rob Fornasiere, Assistant Head Coach:
"I was fortunate to attend both the seventh game of the 1987 World Series and games 6 & 7 of the 1991 World Series in the Metrodome. Besides the bedlam inside the Dome for all the games, to witness Kirby Puckett's game winning HR in game 6 of 1991 and Jack Morris' 10-inning gem in 1991 were experiences of a lifetime!

"I also remember my third grade teacher wheeling in a television to the classroom in 1964 to watch the World Series which featured Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals. That was my first recollection that this Baseball thing must be important to interrupt our class schedule."

Todd Oakes, Pitching Coach:
"My wife and I attended game 3 (Oct. 17) of the 1989 World Series between the A's and the Giants. The problem was there wasn't a game - because of the Loma Prieta earthquake, which occured about 15 minutes before game time. It was a beautiful, sunny day in San Francisco and my wife and I were fired up to be there. I was a minor league pitching coach in the Giants organization at the time and our trip to the World Series to see games 3-4-5 was our reward. It was going to be a great 3-4 day stay in SF that turned into a nightmare as we sat in SF for a few days before we were able to fly back home. The World Series resumed 10 days later as the A's swept the Giants in four games. We did not get to go back to SF and see games 3 & 4. 
Go Gophers! Candlestick Park
Go Gophers!
Players and media stand on the field after the earthquake (AP photo)
Go Gophers!
 
"Terri and I had been to the VIP tent outside the stadium and had a great time. I had even talked her into approaching Joe DiMaggio (this is a story in itself) and getting his autograph on a ball I had stuck in her purse.  We went up to our seats about 30 minutes before the game - behind home plate in the upper deck. We were taking some pictures and enjoying the atmosphere. After we had been in our seats for about 10 minutes, the stadium started shaking and the light towers were swaying side to side. At the time, there was a big plane flying over the stadium and my first reaction was, "Is that plane rumbling over the stadium causing this?" Shortly after, I realized it was an earthquake. It probably lasted 10-12 seconds but seemed much longer. There was an eerie quiet that overcame the packed Candlestick Park for a few seconds and then the crowd cheered wildly, not knowing the severity of the earthquake - thinking it was a good omen for the Giants. We sat in our seats in amazement and wondered what was going on. After they cancelled the game, the crowd left the stadium in an orderly fashion. We got back on the bus and it took us 2-3 hours to get back to the hotel only a few miles away. When we got back to the hotel, we couldn't get in our room because the hotel had shaken so violently that it flipped the safety latch shut. We sat in the lobby for hours until they could go around and unlock the doors. There were aftershocks that night and it was a night of anxiety wondering what was next. We stayed in SF for another day before we were able to get a flight back home. It was rather refreshing to get the heck out of there. My one and only opportunity to experience a World Series and it wasn't meant to be. But I do still have my Joe DiMaggio ball!
 
"P.S. Terry Steinbach - former Gopher and Twins bench coach - was the starting catcher for the A's.   
 
"I will be content watching this World Series from my recliner."

One Media Day Down, One to Go

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Photo Gallery

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Minnesota women's basketball took part in the first of two Media Days this week, as head coach Pam Borton and the team's three captains -- senior Sari Noga, senior Micaella Riche and junior Rachel Banham -- met with reporters at Minnesota Basketball Media Day inside Williams Arena.

Borton and Banham took part in Media Day Live, as Gopher Radio Network play-by-play men Mike Grimm and Corbu Stathes spent about 10 minutes interviewing them about the upcoming season. The Gophers play the first of two exhibitions on Tuesday night, facing Winona State at The Barn at 7:00 p.m.

Coach Borton then addressed members of the media in a 15-minute press conference, followed by a 15-minute presser with the three captains.

After the team plays its exhibition game Tuesday, Coach Borton, Banham, Noga and Riche will depart late Wednesday afternoon for Thursday's Big Ten Media Day in Chicago. That will take place at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, making this a busy week for Borton and the players.

After they return from Chicago, Minnesota will play its second exhibition on Saturday afternoon, as it welcomes Minnesota State Moorhead to Williams Arena for a 2:00 p.m. tipoff.

For Tuesday's exhibition, all youth 7th grade and under will be admitted free of charge if they are wearing a Halloween costume, and those interested can take place in a costume contest at the half. All tickets for both exhibition games are just $6.

For ticket information, visit mygophersports.com, or call 612.624.8080 or 1.800.U.GOPHER.

Gophers Hold Media Day at the Barn

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Photo Gallery | Gopher Basketball Ticket Information | Media Day Live Replay (Video)

The University of Minnesota basketball team held its preseason media day on Monday afternoon at Williams Arena. The Gophers took their team picture before opening up the court to local media members. Mike Grimm and Corbu Stathes of the Gopher Radio Network held an interactive interview session which allowed fans to send in questions.

Head coach Richard Pitino, entering his first season at Minnesota, said that he has been impressed by the fan support for the program. He also discussed the team's fast-paced playing style and the improvements he has seen since his arrival. 

Pitino said that the Gophers are anxious to play against opponents other than themselves. They will have their first chance to do so this Friday, when they will take on Cardinal Stritch in an exhibition game at 7 p.m.

Kiawah Invitational Qualifying

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This weekend, the Minnesota men's golf team will play its final tournament of the fall. The Gophers will travel to Kiawah Island, S.C., for the Kiawah Island Invitational (Nov. 3-5). The team held a qualifying tournament to determine the travel roster.

Jose Mendez, Jon Trasamar and Alex Gaugert were exempt from qualifying. Matt Rachey automatically qualified by finishing with the top score. Tyler Lowenstein win a nine-hole playoff against Jon DuToit at TPC Twin Cities on Thursday to determine the final spot.

The first round of qualifying took place on Friday, Oct. 25 at Southview Country Club, a par-71, 6,520-yard course. Round 2 was Monday at Interlachen Country Club, a par-72, 6,985-yard course. The third round took place at Wayzata Country Club (par-72, 7,108 yards). Only 15 holes counted on both Monday and Tuesday due to conflicts with class, and those scores are noted in parentheses.

Matt Rachey 74(+3)(+1) = +7#
Jon DuToit 74(+1)(+4) = +8
Tyler Lowenstein 78(+2)(-1) = +8*
Grady Meyer 81(+5)(+4) = +20
Charlie Braniff 79(+8)(+7) = +23
Daniel Luftspring 82(+4)(+7) = +23
Genki Hirayama 80(+11)(+7) = +27

#Automatic qualifier
*Won nine-hole playoff for final travel spot

Gophers' Belief Leads to Historic Win

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IMG_20131026_143237_303.jpg

MINNEAPOLS, Minn. - In the Minnesota locker room following last week's 20-17 win at Northwestern, the Gophers' coaches talked about how much this year's team could accomplish if it just believes in itself.

One of the things mentioned in that victorious celebration was that the Gophers had what it takes to beat Nebraska. That was a bold statement, given that the Huskers entered today's game without a loss in the series in more than 50 years.

Well, it looks like Minnesota's players took that message to heart.

On Saturday afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium, Minnesota rallied from an early 10-0 deficit to defeat the No. 21/25 Huskers, 34-23.

Led by sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson, junior running back David Cobb, and an inspired defense, the Golden Gophers scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17-13 lead at the half. Minnesota then scored the first 10 points of the second half to build a 27-13 lead and hold on for the win.

After the game, fans stormed the field and a mass celebration took place around the 50 yard line.

Here are some of the things the Gophers accomplished with the milestone victory:

--Minnesota defeated Nebraska for the first time since a 26-14 win on Sept. 24, 1960, snapping a 16-game losing streak versus NU

--Minnesota scored its most points against the Huskers since a 39-20 win in Minneapolis on Oct. 20, 1951

--The Gophers improved to 6-2 this season, qualifying for a bowl berth for the second consecutive year

--Minnesota recorded its first win versus a nationally-ranked opponent since defeating No. 24 Iowa, 27-24, to end the 2010 season

The win created such a buzz on Twitter that the person updating Minnesota's Game Day Blog could hardly keep up with the traffic.

Nelson entered the game with 8:41 remaining in the second quarter and the Gophers trailing, 10-7. He immediately led Minnesota on a seven-play, 88-yard drive, completing two passes for 53 yards in the process.

The key play on the drive was a 33-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Engel on 4th and 10. Engel beat two Nebraska defenders on a post route and made a leaping grab of Nelson's pass, giving Minnesota a 14-10 lead with 6:21 left in the half.

"When the play call came in, I knew I was the go-to on that play," Engel said. "Philip put a good ball up there, and at first I thought it was going to be overthrown, but it hung in the air. So I stuck a foot and put my hands up and the next thing I knew it was a touchdown."

Here's another milestone - when Engel scored that touchdown, it gave Minnesota its first lead versus the Huskers since 1969. Yes, you read that correctly.

Cobb also played a huge role for the Gophers, as he recorded his second-straight 100-yard rushing game by carrying 31 times for 138 yards, both career-highs. Cobb's performance helped the Gophers rush for 271 yards on 54 attempts, an average of 5.0 yards per carry.

"From the first quarter on, throughout the game, the offensive line had a great push and as a running back if there's no penetration you can see you gaps, holes and cuts and it makes it easy," Cobb said. "So they did a great job of play action pass and it opened up the lines for me. Really, it was more the O-line and just the whole play-calling scheme more so than me."

Defensively, the Gophers allowed 88 yards and 10 points on Nebraska's first two drives of the game, but then settled down to surrender just 81 yards and three points the remainder of the half.

The strong defensive play for Minnesota continued into the third quarter, as the Gophers forced Nebraska into three-and-outs on its first two possessions, while Minnesota's offense took the opportunity to score 10 points and build a 27-13 advantage with 2:33 left in the third.

At that point, the Gophers had outscored the Huskers, 27-3, since the 7:06 mark of the first quarter. Those in the crowd of 49,995 dressed in Maroon and Gold were ecstatic, while those wearing red were in shock.

"I think we all just have this confidence right now," Nelson said after the game. "We know that we can compete with anyone and that's the main thing as a football player. You just have to believe in yourself and that you are going to go out there and compete. That's where we are at right now."

Nebraska fought back, scoring the next 10 points to cut Minnesota's lead to 27-23 with 9:26 remaining. But the Gophers' defense once again did its part to allow Minnesota to retain the lead by forcing a 37-yard field goal by Pat Smith instead of allowing a tying touchdown.

After Nebraska forced a punt to regain possession with 5:50 left in the game, Minnesota's defense did its job once again. The Gophers dropped the Huskers for minus-2 yards and forced a punt, which Sam Foltz shanked out of bounds at the Huskers' 34.

On the ensuing drive, Cobb carried six times for 16 yards and Nelson completed a key 20-yard pass to freshman tight end Maxx Williams, before Nelson sealed the monumental victory with a one-yard touchdown run with 0:48 seconds left.

And, in the end, Minnesota's defense came up big once again, as senior defensive back Jeremy Baltazar intercepted Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez with 0:16 left.

"We are starting to believe and that's all that really needs to be said right now," Nelson said. "We have the confidence rolling from week to week and we are finally starting to realize how good we really can be."

Believing in themselves, the Gophers accomplished what few outside the program thought they could do. Now it's on to Indiana, a team Minnesota last faced during 2008.

Belief. It can create a confidence and a swagger that can help a team accomplish great things.

Saturday's performance versus the Huskers was a perfect example.

Gophers in the News: BSU Series Preview

Catch up on some of the media coverage of Gopher women's hockey this week. The media previewed this weekend's series at Bemidji State, recognized Dani Cameranesi's WCHA Rookie of the Week award and looked at both Gopher men's and women's hockey being No. 1 in the national polls.

Minnesota Daily: Speed line helps produce
Oct. 24, 2013

Bemidji Pioneer: Bemidji State ready for Golden Gopher challenges
Oct. 24, 2013

Minnesota Daily: Cameranesi honored as WCHA Rookie of the Week
Oct. 24, 2013

Pioneer Press: Gophers hockey team No. 1 in national poll
Oct. 21, 2013

In case you missed it, here's what the media had to say about the Gophers' sweep over Minnesota Duluth last weekend.

Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota tops UMD, extends winning streak to 54
Oct. 18, 2013

Pioneer Press: Gophers extend winning streak to 54
Oct. 18, 2013

Pioneer Press: U sweeps, runs winning streak to 55
Oct. 19, 2013

Star Tribune: No. 1 Gophers women shut out Minnesota Duluth; streak at 54 games
Oct. 19, 2013

Post Bulletin: Gophers men, women hockey teams both win
Oct. 19, 2013

Star Tribune: Gophers women's hockey win streak grows to 55 with sweep in Duluth
Oct. 20, 2013

Duluth News Tribune: Minnesota sweeps UMD to extend winning streak to 55
Oct. 20, 2013

Gold And Gopher: Freshman class filling in nicely for Gophers women's hockey
Oct. 21, 2013

Minnesota Daily: Minnesota travels up North, sweeps UMD
Oct. 21, 2013

Gopher Hockey Press Report: Boston College

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Go Gophers!Adam Wilcox
Go Gophers!

Catch up on all the news around Gopher Hockey with this week's Gopher Hockey Press Report.

*High scoring top line is clicking for Gophers hockey (Star Tribune)

*Adam Wilcox braces for tough test in goal (Pioneer Press)

* The Big Ten Network will highlight Minnesota's 1979 national championship on Big Ten Elite. The show premieres at 9:30 p.m. CT on Friday following the Gophers/BC game on BTN. (BTN)

*Gopher hockey coach downplays No. 1 ranking (FOX Sports North)

*No. 1 rank irrelevant so early in season (Minnesota Daily

*Gopher Athletics set to hold annual food drive (Gophersports.com)

*Freshman Faceoff: Hudson Fasching (Gophersports.com)

*Gophers Meet the Media: Boston College (Gophersports.com)

*Larry Ross was one of 10 Gophers to be inducted into the 'M' Club Hall of Fame on Thursday (Gophersports.com)

Reminder -- Friday's game is set for 7:10 p.m. CT (Big Ten Network, 1500 ESPN, BTN2Go.com) with Sunday's finale set for 1:10 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, 1500 ESPN, BTN2Go.com). 

Numbers of the Week: 1 and 29

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Gopher Golf Fans!

Twenty-nine...some of you may be wondering: What is the significance of this number? Twenty-nine is the score posted by Jon Trasamar on the final nine holes of the Barnabas Health Intercollegiate last weekend! Not only did it include five birdies and an eagle that propelled him to a second-place finish, his finest performance as a collegiate golfer, but it also sealed a 17-shot victory for our team in the 15-team field. First team win since 2006-07 season, first outright team victory going back to the 2005 Gopher Invitational and the first time in my coaching career to have all five team members finish inside the top 10! What a week to back up a fine performance at the Alister MacKenzie hosted by the University of California...

Go Gophers! Trasamar
Go Gophers!
Trasamar's back-nine 29 propelled him to a career-best finish.
Go Gophers!
Sonoma, Calif., is the home of Sam Snead's favorite golf course west of the Mississippi River (Sonoma Golf Club) and one of the busiest tourism areas in the world this time of the year. Our golfers came to play this weekend. Sonoma GC played firm and fast at 7,100 yards in near perfect weather. Ten top-75 teams were assembled primarily from the Pac-12 and West Coast Conference to battle it out in one of the most historic college tournaments on the NCAA schedule each year. Besides having some of the best Mexican food, playing Mayacama GC (one of the top 100 courses in the world) and listening to stories from tourists about every grape known to the industry, we were there to compete...and we did just that!  

Alex Gaugert capped off a fine performance to our team's ninth-place finish with three under-par rounds and a three-round total of 7-under-par 206. This was good enough for a seventh-place finish that has now vaulted him inside the top 600 in the overall Golfstat Individual rankings. Jose Mendez, Jon Trasamar, Tyler Lowenstein and Jon DuToit all had solid rounds that enabled Gopher golf to finish in ninth place with a 3-round total of 7 under par. The 9th-place showing was slightly misleading as we finished 10 strokes out of second and 10 strokes ahead of 11th. A final nine holes of +3 allowed a few teams to move past us but an under-par team showing went a long ways mentally in preparation for our trip the same week to Seton Hall, N.J.

No one on our team had been to New Jersey before. I love when our guys talk about the number of states that they have now been through because of college golf. New Jersey boasts some of the greatest golf courses in the world such as Baltusrol, Trump National and Springfield. These courses have the national publicity but we were lucky enough to play at Fiddler's Elbow Country Club, which has 54 holes of amazing golf.  Playing at a yardage of 6,910 yards with five par-3's and five par-5's, I knew fireworks were in store for us and I was lucky enough to witness the barrage of birdies on the final nine holes of the 36-hole event. 

Through one round of golf and multiple three-putts, we stood in second place behind a talented team from Temple University. Temple boasts one of the top-ranked golfers in the country, Brandon Matthews, who recently was a quarterfinalist in the 2013 USGA Amateur. 

The second day was our day, though. The first six holes were shaky at best, but Alex Gaugert and Matt Rachey both helped our team with a solid start of even par through those holes. The next 12 holes proved to me that we have a team that will contend for a championship in every event going forward.

The fireworks started on hole 11. Trasamar made eagle, while Mendez, Lowenstein and Gaugert followed with birdies. Putts were falling that hadn't earlier this fall, and in the end our back-nine scoring amounted to 10 under par! Jon Trasamar would finish with 11 putts for a back nine of 29, which would propel him to a final round of 66. Our next four scores were as follows: Gaugert (71), Mendez (71), Rachey (72) and Lowenstein (72). The balance in our lineup is evident with our highest score of the entire tournament being 2-over-par 74. Congratulations go out to Jon Trasamar, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week following the Seton Hall performance! Also a special shout out to Matt Rachey, who competed like a veteran in his first collegiate tournament.

Gopher Golf is certainly on the rise and competition is alive and well in practice and qualifying. We leave for Kiawah Island to play the Jack Nicklaus-designed, Turtle Point Golf Club, in 10 days. Qualifying will be over three rounds at Southview Country Club (home of the Tapemark Charity Pro Am every June), Interlachen CC (home of many USGA Championships) and Wayzata CC (home of PGA Tour player Tim Herron). Two spots will be up for grabs among Tyler Lowenstein, Matt Rachey, Jon DuToit, Charlie Braniff, Daniel Luftspring and Genki Hirayama.  

Between college classes, the Minnesota vs. Nebraska football game, practice and qualifying, rest assured the balance between student and athlete is alive and well in the friendly confines of the Bierman Building for Gopher Golf.

Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!

John Carlson

Player Feature: Jon Trasamar (R-Sr./Blue Earth, Minn./Blue Earth HS)

GopherSports: What are your goals for the season? 
Jon Trasamar: My goals for this season include an individual win and All-American honors. I want to set my goals high this last year.

GS: What is your favorite course in the Twinc Cities?
JT: My favorite Twin Cities course is Hazeltine because it's the biggest, best test we have in the state. IT's the only one where the best in the world play.

GS: What is the biggest strength of your game?
JT: The strength of my game is my short game, including chipping, pitching and bunker play.

GS: Do you have a favorite club in your bag?
JT: My favorite club in my bag is my 58 degree wedge and my 3 iron.

GS: Is there anything interesting you carry around in your bag?
JT: I carry all my different color sharpies in my bag to mark my ball before the round.

GS: What is your favorite part of being a Golden Gopher?
JT: My favorite thing about being a Gopher is to represent my home state, as well as all the previous Gopher golfers to play here. It's an honor to be a Gopher and a part of the Gopher golf program.

2013 Scoring Averages (Rounds Played)
Matt Rachey..................................72.50 (2)
Jose Mendez ................................73.21 (14)
Jon Trasamar................................73.79 (14)
Alex Gaugert ................................74.00 (14)
Tyler Lowenstein ..........................74.14 (14)
Grady Meyer ................................74.25 (4)
Jon DuToit ....................................74.58 (12)
Charlie Braniff ..............................75.75 (4)
Genki Hirayama............................77.33 (3)
Daniel Luftspring ..........................78.50 (4)

Trasamar's back nine scorecard in the final round of the Seton Hall tournament:

Freshman Faceoff: Hudson Fasching

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Go Gophers!Gophers freshman Hudson Fasching is tied for the Big Ten rookie scoring lead. 
Go Gophers!

We caught up with freshman Hudson Fasching to get to know a little more about him as he continues his first campaign with the Gopher men's hockey team. 

Through four games this season, Fasching is tied with teammate Justin Kloos for the Big Ten rookie scoring lead with six points (two goals and four assists). The native of Burnsville, Minn. was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Draft and comes to the Gophers with plenty of high-level experience after spending two seasons with the U.S. National Development Team Program. Hudson will be counted on to use his size and add toughness to the Gophers this season. 

What does it mean to you to play for the Gophers?
"I am a Minnesotan, born and raised. I grew up around Mariucci my whole life watching Gopher games and finally being able to put the jersey on means the world to me."

Describe the type of game you like to play for people who may not know you?
"I am a power forward. I go in the corners and like to grind it out. I want to bring pucks to the net hard and just play hard in general."

Is there an NHL player you like to watch and model your game after?
"Yeah! David Backes of the St. Louis Blues. I like to model my game after him. He plays hard in all aspects of the game, and that is what I like to model from him."

We're just a few weeks into the season, but you seem to have found some success playing alongside Sam Warning and Kyle Rau. How has that experience been?
"Coming in as a younger guy on the team, it's great to be able to play with two of the veterans on this team. They're good at moving the puck around and setting up scoring chances, and we've had some success so far. They're both great players, and they're great examples for me in terms of how I want to develop as a player." 

You spent the last two seasons playing with the USA Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., how did the experience help your game develop?
"Being away from home for a couple years around great coaching and great teammates really helps me mature a lot as a person and as a player. It is very competitive over there. Bringing all those aspects to Minnesota will be huge for me."

You had the opportunity to travel to some cool places with the USA Development Program. Which was your favorite?
"I got to go to Sochi, Russia for the Under-18 World Championships. Just the experience of being in another country, eating their food, and being in their culture is eye opening. You don't really know what it is like over there until you get there. It was a really fun experience."

You played at Apple Valley High School with fellow Gopher A.J. Michaelson. What does it mean to be playing with him again?
"Yeah! A.J. and I grew up together. We played all through youth hockey together. It is awesome that I get to play with one of my childhood buddies out here. It should be a lot of fun. Hopefully, we can get on a line together sometime during the year."

What kind of music do you like to listen to before the game?
"I am a rocker type of guy. Just anything that gets be going is good for me. "

What are some of the nicknames you have received from guys on the team?
"Some of the guys call me Huddy-Buddy, but most of the guys just call me Fasch."

Gophers Meet the Media: Boston College

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Minnesota welcomes Boston College to Mariucci Arena this weekend for a two-game series. The No. 1 Gophers will face a stiff test from No. 5 Boston College. The Eagles come to the Twin Cities soaring high after dispatching Wisconsin, 9-2, last Friday night in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Coach Don Lucia and members of the team met with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the clash with another member of college hockey's elite.

Boston College features another crop of dynamic playmakers this season. "They are going to be skilled and fast. We need to play our game and use our speed to hang with them all weekend," defenseman Brady Skjei said. Lucia knows the Gophers must value puck possession. "(Boston College's) transition game is really good. If you make a mistake with the puck you are going to pay."

Boston College's ability to post nine goals against Wisconsin caught the eyes of Gopher coaches and players. "They scored nine five-on-five goals, which is not easy to do," Lucia said. "(Our defensemen) are going to get tested this week. They are going to get tested taking care of the puck coming up the rink and down low defending." 

Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox was surprised to see Boston College's overwhelming success against the Badgers and knows he will be tested. "I have to be on top of my game. I have to be communicating with the defensemen and be good right in front of our net."

This week, Minnesota took over the nation's number one ranking in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll from Miami University. The players and coaches did their best to downplay early-season rankings. "It is something to look at, but not something to put too much on right now," Wilcox said.

The early success of the top-two lines is based on the immediate contribution of the freshmen. Lucia said the genesis of Hudson Fasching playing on the top line started in the summer. "He showed me something at the World Junior camp when I had the opportunity to be on the ice with him that week,"-- second-line center Justin Kloos has really impressed line mate, and captain, Nate Condon with his commitment to do all the little things. "(Justin) is obviously talented offensively, but the big thing with him is that he is a big, hard worker." 

This weekend's series takes place on Friday and Sunday with Gopher football home Saturday afternoon. Friday's hockey contest is at 7:10 p.m. CT and can be seen nationally on the Big Ten Network. Sunday's game takes place at 1:10 p.m. CT and will be shown on Fox Sports North. Both games this weekend can be heard on 1500 ESPN and will be streamed on BTN2Go.com. 

-Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

Eyes on Sweden: Mariucci Arena to Host Training Camp

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Go Gophers!Don LuciaGo Gophers!


On March 23, 2013, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was named the head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team by USA Hockey. With Lucia behind the bench, the Red, White and Blue will compete at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden. 

In addition to Lucia, five current Gophers are competing for a roster spot on next year's U.S. squad. Sophomore defenseman Brady Skjei, freshman forward Hudson Fasching, freshman forward Taylor Cammarata and freshman defenseman Michael Brodzinski are currently participating at the 2013 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid. Freshman defenseman Tommy Vannelli is also in the hunt for a roster spot for the U.S. team. 

Next year, the U.S. program will seek its fourth medal in five years including a gold-medal performance in 2013 with Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly on the roster and assistant coach Grant Potulny on staff. As the tournament approaches, Gophersports.com will provide updates using "Eyes on Sweden".

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Hockey announced today that the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team will hold a four-day training camp Dec. 15-18 in Minneapolis. Five practices are scheduled at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena, while a pre-tournament game at Minnesota State University is set for Dec. 17. Team USA will defend its gold medal at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden, Dec. 26, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014.

The preliminary roster for the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team will be unveiled in early December.

From Minneapolis, training camp will move on to Angelholm, Sweden, Dec. 19-23. The U.S. will play pre-tournament games Dec. 20 vs. Sweden and Dec. 22 vs. Finland. The final 23-player U.S. National Junior Team roster will be announced Dec. 23.

In August, 44 players attended the 2013 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. Complete details from that camp can be found here.

NOTES: Practices at Mariucci Arena will be open to the public ... Team USA has medaled in three of the last four IIHF World Junior Championshipswinning gold in 2010 and 2013, plus bronze in 2011 ... Don Lucia(Plymouth, Minn.), head coach of the University of Minnesota men's ice hockey team, was named head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team on March 23Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn.), head coach of the St. Cloud State University men's ice hockey team, Greg Brown (Scituate, Mass.), associate head coach of the Boston College men's ice hockey team, and David Lassonde (Denver, Colo.), assistant coach of the University of Denver men's ice hockey team, will serve as assistant coaches. The video coordinator isDan Muse (Clinton, Conn.), assistant coach of Yale University's men's ice hockey team ... Jim Johannson(Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the fifth consecutive year ... Don Waddell (Detroit, Mich.), an international consultant to USA Hockey, is assisting with player identification for Team USA Team USA will compete in a group with Canada, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. For more information about the tournament, click here.

2014 U.S. National Junior Team Training Camp Schedule
Dec. 15-23 | Minneapolis, Minn. & Malmo, Sweden

DateEventVenueLocationTime
Sun., Dec. 15PracticeMariucci ArenaMinneapolis, Minn.6:30-8 p.m. CST
Mon., Dec. 16PracticeMariucci ArenaMinneapolis, Minn.10-11:30 a.m. CST
 PracticeMariucci ArenaMinneapolis, Minn.5-6 p.m. CST
Tues., Dec. 17PracticeMariucci ArenaMinneapolis, Minn.10-11:30 a.m. CST
 at Minnesota State UniversityVerizon Wireless CenterMankato, Minn.7:37 p.m. CST
Wed., Dec. 18PracticeMariucci ArenaMinneapolis, Minn.9:30-10:30 a.m. CST
Fri., Dec. 20vs. SwedenLindab ArenaAngelholm, Sweden7:30 p.m. CET
Sun., Dec. 22vs. FinlandLindab ArenaAngelholm, Sweden1:30 p.m. CET

Coming Soon: Pam Borton's Official Blog!

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Hey Gopher fans: Stay tuned to this link for the official blog of Gopher Women's Basketball head coach Pam Borton!

Coming soon!

Fan Reaction: Hockey City Classic Tickets

Gopher hockey fans are excited for the 2014 Hockey City Classic! Check out some of the reactions to day one of ticket sales.

USA Hockey Profiles Lee Stecklein

Stecklein Lee.jpg

USA Hockey profiled Lee Stecklein as she competes with the U.S. Women's National Team in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Stecklein explained how her freshman season with Gopher women's hockey helped prepare her for the competition she's facing at the international level.

During her freshman season with the Gophers in 2012-13, Stecklein played in all 41 games and recorded 12 points on three goals and nine assists. Her three goals included two power-play goals and two game-winning goals. The blue liner from Roseville, Minn., was +35 on the season as well.

Catch up with Stecklein and learn about her U.S. National Team experience in the article below.

USA Hockey: Golden Gophers help Stecklein inch closer to golden moment

Gophers Remain Unanimous No. 1

Minnesota remained the unanimous number one selection in both the USCHO.com national poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national poll this week. This is the second-straight week the Gophers have collected all of the first place votes in both polls and the third-straight week Minnesota is USCHO's unanimous number one.

Gopher women's hockey has been the No. 1 team in both national polls since the final poll of the 2011-12 season (March 19-20, 2012). That's 28-straight USCHO polls and 31-straight USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.

2013-14 USCHO.com Poll: Minnesota's First-Place Votes
Preseason Poll: 14 of 15
(No Poll Sept. 30)
Oct. 7 Poll: 15 of 15
Oct. 14 Poll: 15 of 15
Oct. 21 Poll: 15 of 15

2013-14 USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll: Minnesota's First-Place Votes
Preseason Poll: 18 of 19
Oct. 1 Poll: 19 of 19
Oct. 8 Poll: 18 of 19
Oct. 15 Poll: 19 of 19
Oct. 22 Poll: 19 of 19

The No. 1 Gophers (6-0-0, 4-0-0 WCHA) travel north to face Bemidji State (3-2-1, 0-0-0 WCHA) this weekend. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. Friday and 4:07 p.m. Saturday at BSU's Sanford Center.

Northwestern Match Promos

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The Golden Gophers are on the road at No. 16 Wisconsin Wednesday, but return to the Sports Pavilion confines on Sunday. Match time is set for 1 p.m. against the Northwestern Wildcats.

Here's a few promotional items for this Sunday's match.

Dig Pink Day - Join the Gophers as we battle Breast Cancer! There will be t-shirt sales, ribbon sales and many more opportunities to donate to the fight against Breast Cancer!

Purchase Tickets

$1 Day - All General Admission tickets are $1 (ADVANCE SALE ONLY)

Autograph Day: Stick around after the match to meet your favorite Golden Gopher Volleyball player!

Traffic Advisory: Due to the Gopher men's hockey game, also scheduled for a 1 p.m. Sunday start, fans should plan accordingly and leave ample time to get the game and find parking. Ramp access is available at the University Ave. Ramp, Fourth St. Ramp, Oak St. Ramp.

Don Lucia Radio Show Airs Tonight

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Don Lucia

Listen to tonight's show: 1500ESPN.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Don Lucia Radio Show returns to the airwaves of 1500 ESPN for the 2013-14 season, airing live on Mondays during the year from the Beacon Public House inside the Commons Hotel on campus. 

Join coach Lucia and co-hosts Wally Shaver and Jeff Dubay on Mondays throughout the season with each show airing live on 1500 ESPN from 6-6:30 p.m. CT. 

This week, the Don Lucia Radio Show looks back at the Gophers' two-game sweep over Bemidji State last weekend and previews the upcoming nonconference series against Boston College this weekend. Lucia, Shaver and Dubay will also discuss Minnesota's new No. 1 ranking in the national polls as well as the hot hands of NCAA leading scorer Sam Warning and rookies Hudson Fasching and Justin Kloos, who are both tied for the Big Ten rookie scoring lead. 

For the second-season in a row, Beacon Public House will host a live viewing of the Don Lucia Radio Show with food and drink specials every Monday night for Gopher Hockey fans. Learn more about Beacon Public House here

Richard Pitino Blog: Breaking Down First Look Scrimmage

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Thanks to the thousands of Gopher fans that came to the Barn on Friday night for our first open scrimmage of the season. If you missed it, you can watch highlights from the game above or click here for a recap and box score. Below are my player-by-player evaluations of how I felt each guy performed:

Gold

Charles Buggs
Positives
Did a good job of trapping in the press.  
Had a great steal.  
Attempted to offensive rebound.  
He will continue to improve.
Only a freshman.

Negatives
0 rebounds in 13 minutes.

Wally Ellenson
Positives
Played with a very high motor.  
4 offensive rebounds was great.  
9 deflections was also very encouraging.  
Has the physical ability to be a stat sheet stuffer.
He will continue to improve because he wants to get better.

Negatives
Struggled with certain things defensively in the half court - very normal for this time of year.  
Has to be ready to rotate for steals better in the press.  

Joey King
Positives-  
Took 2 charges and got three offensive rebounds.
Attempted his first two point shot in a Gopher uniform during a scrimmage!

Negatives
0 defensive rebounds and 5 fouls.  
Very willing to draw charges but is a half step slow on his rotations.

DeAndre Mathieu
Positives-  
There were a lot of them!  
9 deflections, took 11 high percentage shots.  
Showed great leadership.  
Never quit, fought through fatigue.

Negatives-  
Didn't demand the ball vs. the press.  
Had a negative assist to turnover ratio.

Kendal Shell
Positives-  
Played good defense on the ball.  
Always shows great leadership.

Negatives
None

Malik Smith
Positives-  
He didn't hurt any of our great fans with his errant passes.
He will be fine.

Negatives
1 for 9 on challenged shots.  
8 turnovers, 0 assists. 

Mo Walker
Positives
6 deflections for a big is great.  
9 rebounds and 5 offensive were a team high.  
Drew a big charge at the end of the game.
Love the direction he is headed.

Negatives
6 missed screens.  
Not a whole lot of other negatives - I was impressed.

Maroon

Maverick Ahanmisi
Positives-  
Took very good shots.  
Stayed within himself and didn't force much.  
5 defelections.

Negatives
6 turnovers and 6 fouls.

Elliott Eliason
Positives
5 rebounds was good, not great.  
Made some very nice passes out of the post.  
Ran the court well.  
Did a better job screening.  
He is getting better.

Negatives
Only 1 offensive rebound.  
Still needs to demand the ball better in the post.

Andre Hollins
Positives-  
Great defensive performance.  
Team high 10 deflections and 5 steals.  
He is showing pride in becoming a great defender.  
Effort was extraordinary.  
Didn't force anything.

Negatives-  
Only one rebound.

Austin Hollins
Positives
All positive.  
Really impressed with his overall performance.  
Very efficient.
Played great defense.  
6 deflections.
He is playing with a lot of confidence right now.

Negatives
2 turnovers - other than that he was phenomenal.

Daquien McNeil
Positives
Effort level was very good.  
4 deflections in 13 minutes.
Great attitude.

Negatives-  
4 turnovers.

Oto Osenieks
Positives-  
Best he has looked as a Gopher.  
Showed a lot of toughness.  
7 rebounds.  
Was efficient offensively.  
Very happy with the strides he took.

Negatives
4 missed screens, 2 bad turnovers against the press.

Overall-   
I am very happy with the strides we are taking as a team.  We got much tougher this scrimmage.  I showed the team a couple of clips from Louisville's scrimmage last week that my father sent me. We tried to explain to the guys that if they wanted to compete with the best they had to be as physical as the best.  I also showed them the clip of Torii Hunter trying to rob David Ortiz of a home run in the playoffs. They responded very well after watching both films. The maroon team won the game because they were the better "team."  They played together offensively and defensively.  Gold did a lot of good things but tried to do it by themselves.  I was impressed and grateful for the crowd that showed up Friday night.  That's what makes this job and program so special.  

The goal over the next couple of weeks is certainly to continue to develop on the fundamentals.  One glaring issue is the turnovers.  

Less than three weeks to our first game!
Go Gophers!

Richard Pitino

What We Learned At Bemidji State

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The Gophers are now 4-0 this season after sweeping the Bemidji State Beavers on the road this past weekend. Minnesota is 4-0 to start a season for just the second time in the last 13 years. In fact, the last two times the Gophers started 4-0 they ended the season with a trip to the Frozen Four.

Here is what we learned this weekend:

Warning To The Nation

Sam Warning looks like a scoring dynamo this season. His nine points through the first two weeks are tied for the most in the nation. He was named the number one star both games in Bemidji after collecting five points on the weekend. His two goals Saturday night marked the second two-goal effort of his career. Sam was challenged in the offseason to become a consistent scorer this season. In the first two weeks, he has delivered. Warning has a goal in every game this season. His five goals on the season are tied for second best in the country.

Upperclassmen Now

Sam Warning might be the headliner, but the whole junior class has raised their game. Defenseman Ben Marshall and forward Travis Boyd each posted a goal and an assist this weekend. Boyd's impact is especially noteworthy due to his struggles last season. It is obvious Travis' strong start on the scoresheet has carried over to his strong forechecking and overall energy on the ice. He was awarded the hard hat for his performance Friday night. Ben Marshall has not been shy to jump into the play during his career, and he has found success early in this season, giving the Gophers more scoring punch from the blue line. Kyle Rau has been as steady this season as Gopher fans have come to respect from the captain.

Freshman Chemistry On Display

The appearance of freshmen Justin Kloos and Taylor Cammarata in Gopher sweaters this season was highly anticipated. This weekend, we began to see the chemistry these two diminutive forwards developed together playing for the United States Hockey League's Waterloo Black Hawks last season. Justin Kloos notched his second goal of the season on Saturday and Cammarata tallied four points this weekend after being held off the scoresheet during the Ice Breaker. Taylor scored his first college goal on Saturday by scooping up and deposited a Kloos' shot, which rebounded of the end boards. Taylor helped set up Kloos in the third period with good work behind the net to find Nate Condon, who quickly feed the puck right to Kloos for Justin's second goal of the season.

Spread The Wealth

The spread of scoring was mentioned last week, but thirteen different Gophers have now found the back of the net this season. Seventeen different Gophers have registered at least a point. A pair of unheralded defensemen joined the list of point producers this weekend with great stretch passes from the defensive zone that led to Gopher goals on the rush. Senior Jake Parenteau assisted on Travis Boyd's crucial goal that evened the score early on Friday's game. Freshman Jake Bischoff collected his first collegiate point with an excellent outlet pass that led to Sam Warning's second goal on Saturday.

What Needs Work

The Gophers need to make a more concretive effort to stay out of the penalty box moving forward this season while the penalty killers continue to improve. Games have been called tight early this season, so Minnesota must adjust. The penalty killers got the job done all four times Saturday night, but in the two games before the Gophers went shorthanded a total of 10 times and yielded four goals. Special teams usually take time at the beginning of the season, but the team could help themselves by eliminating the number of penalties. Minnesota has given up only three goals while at even strength this year.

Looking Ahead

The next four games will tell us a lot about just how good the Gopher team is. A trip to South Bend, Ind. to take on Notre Dame is on the horizon, but the Gophers will need all their focus on next weekend when Boston College comes to town. The always-talented Eagles will come to Mariucci with plenty of confidence after a 9-2 victory over Wisconsin Friday night. Jonny Gaudreau's seven points in three games leads Boston College in scoring. The showdown with Boston College brings together two of the nation's best teams and best freshman classes.

Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

Gophers in the News: UMD Series Preview

Catch up on some of the media coverage of Gopher women's hockey leading up to this weekend's series at Minnesota Duluth.

Star Tribune: Gophers women bring 53-game hockey winning streak to Duluth
Oct. 18, 2013

Minnesota Daily: Gillanders cousins relive childhood in college
Oct. 17, 2013

Duluth News Tribune: Cousins will clash when UMD and Minnesota square off in women's hockey
Oct. 17, 2013

Duluth Reader: Gopher Women Bring Record 53-Game Win Streak to AMSOIL
Oct. 17, 2013

In case you missed it, here's what the media had to say about Minnesota's sweep over Wisconsin last weekend.

Minnesota Daily: Women survive first test of season, sweep Wisconsin
Oct. 14, 2013

Star Tribune: Gophers women's hockey sweeps Wisconsin, runs streak to 53 games
Oct. 13, 2013

Star Tribune: Gophers women's hockey rallies for 2-1 win over Wisconsin to keep streak alive
Oct. 12, 2013

Pioneer Press: Gophers women's hockey: Minnesota runs winning streak to 52 games
Oct. 12, 2013

Minnesota Daily: Women set for border battle with Badgers
Oct. 10, 2013

Gophers Receive Support After MSU Win

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Gopher Volleyball felt gratitude from it's fans and the entire University of Minnesota athletics department after last night's win over No. 5 Michigan State. With a crowd of 4,782 in the Sports Pavilion and televised live on ESPN2, the Gophers received an incredible amount of support. With tweets from Gopher basketball, football, baseball, men's and women's hockey to name a few, the outpour allowed Minnesota Volleyball (@GopherVBall) to trend in the Minneapolis area. Along with USA Volleyball head coach Karch Kiraly in the building (color analyst for ESPN), United States Olympian Lloy Ball was also in attendance to watch the match. Minnesota Timberwolves star JJ Barea was also on hand to watch as the Gophers won in a thrilling five-set match. Here's some media articles as well as tweets to support the Gopher volleyball program.

Pioneer Press Recap

GoldandGopher


Gopher Hockey Press Report: Bemidji State

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Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!Senior Tom Serratore will face off against his uncle's Bemidji State team this weekend.
Go Gophers!

Catch up on all the news around Gopher Hockey with this week's Gopher Hockey Press Report. 

*Adam Wilcox steady in net for Gophers Hockey (Star Tribune

*Serratores come together at Bemidji (Minnesota Daily)

*Sam Warning ready to take turn filling up the net (Pioneer Press)

*Gophers' goalie Adam Wilcox picking up where he left off (FSN)

*In-state rivalries still critical for Gophers despite new landscape (1500 ESPN)

*Condon and Rau lead Gophers on and off the ice (Carlson School of Management)

Name: MacKenzie Misel

Number: 23

Position: Center Back

Year: Senior

Major: Elementary Education

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa

What about Minnesota made you decide that you wanted to be a Gopher?: After visiting Minneapolis I fell in love with the campus and the city. I wanted to be apart of the Minnesota soccer family because I knew it was something very special and a great place. The Friday night games under the lights are something I always dreamed about and quickly became one of my favorite things and the perfect atmosphere to become the best soccer player I could be.


You've been a part of this team for a while now... What is special/different about this team?: My time here at the program has been special in the fact that I have played for two different head coaches for two years each. Being older and looking at my team now I see a lot of positive energy with competitiveness thats formed us into a team that better understands one another as teammates and friends.


What does Gopher Soccer mean to you?: It means I am proud to be a member of the Gopher program because of all the amazing players that have been here before me. I know what those girls had to do to get our team and program to become an elite program with high standards. Gopher soccer has a legacy of greatness and its a truly special feeling that only the players can feel because we do it for one another.


What does being captain mean to you and how has it changed your responsibility to the team?: It is an honor to be a Captain for the Gophers. It is a role that takes a lot of commitment and loyalty to our program as well as our culture of the team. I have done a lot of reflecting back to when I was a younger player, and trying to share with the freshmen their roles and help them adjust to the next level. It is a big adjustment stepping into the college game and I want all my teammates to feel like family and be successful together.


When did you first start playing soccer?: I started playing soccer when I was six years old. I actually really did not want to go to my first practice ever. I refused to get dressed in my soccer gear. My dad still made me go -- wearing a pink dress. Lets just say, that has never happened again!


What is your favorite soccer memory?: In 2010 when we qualified for the sweet sixteen when we beat Texas A&M in the Minnesota winter!


What is something you've done in the past year that you are the most proud of... on or off the field?: In the classroom would be making the Dean's list and more importantly helping with many different organizations like, HopeKids, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and volunteering in classrooms. Also helping take the lead as a board member in student groups through the athletic department like, Gopher Global and S.A.A.C. (Student Athlete Advisory Committee)


What is your favorite local Minneapolis restaurant and what do you order when you are there?: I have a couple, Tony's Diner/Key's Cafe/Al's Breakfast all for their pancakes - I love pancakes and they all have their own specialties.


How do you prepare/get pumped up for a game?: I always do my nails for the game. Pink is definitely my favorite choice. Other than that I keep it simple. I really do enjoy dancing before the game, however that takes more energy than I would like to use before a game so I like to relax.


If you could spend one day with a professional soccer player, who would it be and why?: Christiano Ronaldo because he has been my favorite player ever since I was younger and is one of the best, if not the best player in the world.


If you could give any advice to the younger players on the team, what would it be?: It is important to stay positive and have the right amount of self confidence that helps you succeed on the field but keeps your striving for more. Also, you are never alone - during these 4 years of college there are so many people that want to help you be the best person you can be. Invest in those people and show them you care.


What is your "walkout" song and why?: My song is "Return of the Mac" My freshman year I used the original by Mark Morrison and than Snoop Dog made a remix - which was more like today's pop music. I like it because it has my name in it.


What do you think your biggest strength on and off the field?: Off the field I try to be a role model to my fellow teammates. How to make smart decisions and have fun. How to prioritize your life but still give back to others. On the field I will do whatever it takes to make the team successful and be a consistent player in each game.



What is your biggest goal for the season?: I would love to see our team get back into the NCAA tournament along with a B1G championship!


How has playing soccer at Minnesota influenced the way you feel about the game?: It has just showed me how much I really love the game. It has influenced me to continue coaching and sharing my love and passion for the game to help younger players succeed.


What is your favorite non-athletic building on campus and why?: I am going to have to say in Dinkytown - Chilly Billy's the frozen yogurt place :)


Who is your biggest role model and why?: My parents have been my biggest role models because the two of them have taught me my morals and values in life and that is what has made me successful while at college.


What is next after college?: I will be continuing into my masters program following this year with student-teaching. After that... looking for a teaching job and continuing to coach the game of soccer to younger players.

NHL: Good Night for the Gophers

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Kyle Okposo, Erik Johnson and Nick Bjugstad all tallied points in NHL action last night while Jordan Schroeder became the 13th Gopher to play in the NHL this season. 

Okposo helped the New York Islanders dig out of a one-goal deficit in route to a 3-2 win over Edmonton. Okposo's power-play -- his second goal of the season -- tied the game at 2-2 early in the second before the forward added the primary assist on the game-winning goal later in the period. Okposo now has six points (two goals, four assists) in seven games. 


Meanwhile, former Gopher Erik Johnson tallied his first goal of the season -- also on the power play in Colorado's 4-2 loss to Detroit last night. The defenseman took the puck from net to net for the goal, sparking a two-goal rally for the Avalanche.


Noteworthy: 
*Nick Bjugstad tallied his first career assist on Thursday night in Florida's 3-2 loss to Boston.  

*Paul Martin had a game-high 27:30 of ice time and was +2 in Pittsburgh's 4-1 win over Philadelphia. 

*Jordan Schroeder made his season debut for Vancouver in a 3-0 win over Thomas Vanek and the Buffalo Sabres. 
Name: Steph Brandt
Number: 13
Position: Forward
Year: Senior
Major: Biology
Hometown: Rochester, MN

What about Minnesota made you decide that you wanted to be a Gopher?: 
Growing up in Minnesota, the idea of playing soccer and representing my home state was exciting for me. On top of that, I knew I would be joining an amazing soccer family, and getting my degree from an outstanding university. Everything felt right, and it was obvious to me that I was meant to be a Gopher. 

What is special/different about this team?: 
This team is special because we have a great mix of personalities and talents that allow us to get along with each other both on and off the field. 

What does Gopher Soccer mean to you?: 
For me, Gopher Soccer provides an arena within which young women can grow both as players and as people. During my time with this incredible program, I have been able to improve my soccer skills, and also develop many personal qualities through the triumphs and failures that we have faced together.

When did you first start playing soccer?: 
I started playing soccer when I was in kindergarten. 

What is your favorite soccer memory?: 
My favorite soccer memory was in the NCAA tournament when we played with huge piles of snow all around our field.

What is your favorite local Minneapolis restaurant and what do you order when you are there?: 
My favorite local restaurant is Chilly Billy's. I always get a couple different flavors of frozen yogurt, and a bunch of toppings because it's too hard to choose.

If you could give any advice to incoming students at the "U", what would it be?: 
I would tell them to take advantage of all the cool activities this school and city have to offer. There is a time to study and a time to have fun, and it is the combination of those that make college such a worthwhile experience.

What do you think your biggest strength on and off the field?: 
On the field, my biggest strength is finding different ways to make our offense dangerous, and off the field my biggest strength is making things more efficient and problem solving.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?:
In 5 years, I hope to be in a thriving career as a Physician Assistant.

What is your biggest goal for the season?: 
My biggest goal for the season is for us to get into the NCAA tournament. It is so much fun to compete on a big stage, and I know this is a team that can get there.

What is your favorite non-athletic building on campus and why?: 
My favorite non-athletic building is Folwell Hall because it has 28 chimneys and 0 fireplaces, and I took a Spanish course there that I really enjoyed.

Who is your biggest role model and why?: 
One of my biggest role models is Adrian Peterson, because he was able to overcome the adversity of injury, and come back to have one of the best seasons of his life.

Tip-Off Dinner is a Success

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The Minnesota women's basketball program celebrated with its most loyal donors and fans on Wednesday evening, as the Fast Break Club held its annual Tip-Off Dinner at Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.

Head coach Pam Borton spoke to a nice-sized crowd that came to hear about the upcoming season. Borton introduced her staff, which remains the same for the third-straight season this year. She then introduced two of the Gophers' three captains - senior guard Sari Noga and junior guard Rachel Banham. Senior forward Micaëlla Riché was unable to attend due to a class conflict.

Minnesota is less than two weeks away from its first exhibition game against Winona State. The Gophers and Warriors will play at Williams Arena on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased by calling 612.624.8080 or 1.800.U.GOPHER, or online at mygophersports.com.

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Name: Lauren Bauer
Number: 22
Position: Defender
Year: Senior
Major: Kinesiology (Clinical Movement)
Hometown: Eagan, MN

What about Minnesota made you decide that you wanted to be a Gopher?:
I knew I wanted to stay in the Mid-West and the University of Minnesota campus has so much to offer. I enjoy the "college" aspect of Dinkytown and I love how close we are to Downtown Minneapolis. Also, Minnesota provides me with an excellent education and the research opportunities are endless.

What is special/different about this team?:
What is special about this team is that we are a young team who fights through adversity. We have a lot of individuals (starters and non-starters) who contribute to the teams success. I have confidence in every one of my teammates that when they step on the field, they will get the job done.

What does Gopher Soccer mean to you?:
Gopher Soccer allows me to be apart of something bigger than myself. I think of the team as my second family. Gopher soccer means laying everything out on the line for my teammates throughout every practice and game. Minnesota soccer means having pride in the team I represent and knowing that every teammate is playing for one another.

When did you first start playing soccer?:
I first started playing soccer at the age of five. Because I am young for my grade, my best friend started playing before I could, and would tease me about how she was playing soccer and how I couldn't.

What is your favorite soccer memory?:
My favorite soccer memory is with my club team when we won regionals and went on to compete at nationals. It was my last year playing with my club team, so I guess you could say we went out with a bang!

What is something you've done in the past year that you are the most proud of... on or off the field?:
Something that I had the opportunity to be a part of last summer was the Muscular Dystrophy (MDA) Summer Camp. I was a camp volunteer for a week. Each camp volunteer is paired with one child for the week. This camp allows children with various types of muscular dystrophy to attend summer camp like any other healthy child would at no cost to their families. The camp modifies different activities so that every child at camp, no matter their disability, is able to participate. Activities include: fishing, swimming, archery, horseback riding, and adaptive sports.

What is your favorite local Minneapolis restaurant and what do you order when you are there?:
My favorite local Minneapolis restaurant is Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown. When I go I order one blueberry pancake and one egg benedict. 

How do you prepare/get pumped up for a game?:
To get pumped up for a game I listen to music while dancing and goofing around with teammates. To prepare for games I put both socks on, then my cleats, then my shin guards (Right then left for each).

If you could spend one day with a professional soccer player, who would it be and why?:
I would spend my day with Cristiano Ronaldo because he is easy on the eyes!

If you could give any advice to incoming students at the "U" what would it be?:
Advice that I would give incoming students is to get involved. You can get involved in anything from academic clubs to intramural sports. Becoming involved in your school not only allows you to meet new people and friends but also gives you something to put on a resume.

What is your "walkout" song and why?:
My walk out song is Bow Wow (What's My Name) by Lil Bow Wow. My last name is Bauer and my nickname is Bau.. "Bow" in Bow Wow is said like Bauer.

What do you think your biggest strength on and off the field?:
My biggest strength on the field is my physical presence and my ability win balls out of the air. My biggest strength off the field is my motivation and drive I have toward my studies.

What is an interesting fact that not many people know about you?:
An interesting fact about me is that I have never had a cavity. I'm squeaky clean!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?: 
In five years, I see myself graduating from Physical Therapy School and starting my career as a Physical Therapist.

What is your biggest goal for the season?: 
My biggest goal of the season is to make it to the NCAA Tournament because the past two years we have fallen short of our goal.

How has playing soccer at Minnesota influenced the way you feel about the game?:
Playing soccer at Minnesota has really made me appreciate all the hard work and dedication I have put in to get to this point. This experience has made me realize that I have to make the best of my experience because nothing lasts forever.

What is your favorite non-athletic building on campus and why?: 
My favorite non-athletic building on campus is Folwell Hall. I enjoy this building because of its amazing architecture and intricate detail. Personally, this building is my favorite place to study because it is close to home and is open late.

Who is your biggest role model and why?:
My biggest role models are my parents because they have shaped me into the person I am today. They have taught me important qualities including hard work, dedication, and compassion. I love you mom and dad!




Gophers Meet the Media: Bemidji State

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The Gophers get their first road test of this season this weekend as they travel to the Sanford Center to take on the Bemidji State Beavers. This early-season clash will be the only regular-season meeting between these old WCHA foes. Today, coach Don Lucia and some of the players meet with the media to discuss the challenge that awaits the Gophers this weekend in Bemidji.

Minnesota is very familiar with the Beavers. After this weekend, the Gophers will have faced the Beavers in six of their last 10 games, dating back to last season.

"They play very well defensively. They are very structured," Coach Lucia said about what he expects to see from Bemidji this weekend. "It is their home opener, so they will be excited to play with an influx of new players." Minnesota seeks to continue their success against Bemidji. The Gophers are 14-1-1 all-time against their in-state foes.


Even through Bemidji State no longer shares a conference with the Gophers coach Lucia believes it is crucial to continue to play them and all the other Division I teams in the state. 

The team is looking forward to getting away from the Twin Cities and developing a little team chemistry on the bus up to Bemidji. 

"It is always fun to get away and get in a hostile environment. It will be a good experience for the young guys," forward Tom Serratore said. Coach Lucia likes what this trip provides the team. "I think early in the year that getting on a bus is good for everybody."

A trip to Bemidji means Gopher forward Tom Serratore goes up against his uncle - Bemidji State Head Coach Tom Serratore. "It is really exciting. It is go to see my family. My family flies up (to Bemidji) and my Grandpa comes down, so it is a good family atmosphere up there."

Sam Warning led the team - along with line-mate and roommate Kyle Rau -- with four points during the Ice Breaker. He wants to contribute more offensively this season as he takes on a larger role.

"Now that I am on the top line with Rau and Fasching, I need to be more of a goal scorer. I need to be on the stat sheet every weekend."

Friday's face-off in Bemidji is set for 7:37 p.m. CT and can be seen on Fox Sports North. Saturday's game is a  7:07 p.m. CT start time and will be broadcasted live on FSN Plus. You can listen to both games this weekend on 1500 ESPN.

-Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

 

NHL: Vanek Scores, Bjugstad Returns to Lineup

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Tuesday night was full of former Gophers in NHL action including a trio of Gopher vs. Gopher games. 

Among those in action was Thomas Vanek, whose Buffalo Sabres took down Kyle Okposo and the New York Islanders 4-1 in overtime. Vanek gave his team an even slate in the second period, tying the game at 2-2 with a power-play tally for his third goal of the season. Vanek now has five points (three goals, two assists) in eight games this season. 


Noteworthy: 

*The Florida Panthers added Nick Bjugstad to the active roster yesterday with the former Gopher making his season debut in a 4-3 loss to Nashville last night. Bjugstad is now the 12th former Gopher to skate in the NHL this season after Nate Schmidt made his pro debut over the weekend. 

*Paul Martin tallied the primary assist on Pittsburgh's game winner in a 3-2 win over Edmonton. 

*Erik Johnson followed suit with a helper on Colorado's game winner in a 3-2 win against Alex Goligoski and the Dallas Stars. 

*Phil Kessel and Toronto bested Keith Ballard and the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Tuesday with Kessel tallying an assist in the victory. 



Gophers Unanimous No. 1 in Both National Polls

The Golden Gopher women's hockey team is the unanimous number one selection in both the USCHO.com national poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national poll this week.

The No. 1 selection in each poll so far this season, Minnesota has received almost all of the first place votes in the four weeks of rankings this year. However, this week marks the first time the Gophers have collected all of the first place votes in both polls in the same week this season.

USCHO.com Poll: Minnesota's First-Place Votes
Preseason Poll: 14 of 15
(No Poll Sept. 30)
Oct. 7 Poll: 15 of 15
Oct. 14 Poll: 15 of 15

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll: Minnesota's First-Place Votes
Preseason Poll: 18 of 19
Oct. 1 Poll: 19 of 19
Oct. 8 Poll: 18 of 19
Oct. 15 Poll: 19 of 19

The Gophers (4-0-0, 2-0-0-0 WCHA) take their 53-game winning streak on the road to No. 7 Minnesota Duluth (2-1-1, 0-1-1-0 WCHA) this weekend. Puck drop is set for 6:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights at AMSOIL Arena.

Richard Pitino Blog - Recapping Saturday's Scrimmage

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Our team held a scrimmage on Saturday at Williams Arena, a 30-minute game that saw the Maroon team defeat the Gold team 58-55 (click here for a full box score).

I've compiled some thoughts on each players' performance and posted them here for my blog readers to see. Hope to see you on Friday for our open scrimmage - click here for more details, doors open at 6pm and tip-off is at 7pm.

Maroon

Charles Buggs


Charles Buggs

Positives-  
Played with great energy at the front of the press 
His length and athleticism is perfect for the way we want to play
Still only a freshman 
Has room to grow

Negatives-  
1 rebound
0 offensive rebounds
Only 1 deflection

Elliott Eliason

Positives-
8 rebounds in 28 minutes
7 deflections and 3 blocks
Played very good post defense and ran the court well
Body language has improved

Negatives-
5 for 9 from the free throw line
4 missed screens

Andre Hollins

Positives-
Very good on the ball defensively
5 deflections
Was active in the press
Got to the FT line 7 times

Negatives-  
2 unforced turnovers 

Austin Hollins

Positives-
7 deflections
3 steals
Great leadership
Consummate pro on the court
Didn't have a sub and didn't play tired

Negatives-
Only 4 rebounds in 30 minutes of play

Oto Osenieks

Positives- 
Communicated well
Showed good leadership
Got to the foul line 10 times
Showed a good understanding of what we were doing offensively

Negatives-
6 missed screens
Only 1 deflection
0 offensive rebounds

Malik Smith

Positives-
Efficient offensively
Showed very good poise during a close game
That is his strength

Negatives-  
Only 2 deflections in 28 minutes
0 rebounds
0 steals
Can't settle on just being a jump shooter
Has to impact the game in other ways

Gold

Maverick Ahanmisi

Positives-  
Efficient offensively
Stayed within himself
Took 9 high percentage shots
Great disposition on the court

Negatives-  
0 steals
Only 3 deflections
3 unforced turnovers

Wally Ellenson


Wally Ellenson

Positives-
5 deflections
3 steals
Made big shots down the stretch
Played with a good motor
Tried him at the 4 briefly and he adapted well

Negatives-  
0 offensive rebounds 
That needs to be a huge strength for him 

Joey King

Positives-  
Took 2 charges and attempted to take 5 of them
Communicated very well
4 deflections
Great leader

Negatives-  
Had an identity crisis and thought he was Malik Smith (took seven 3s)
Didn't attempt a 2pt shot
Didn't get to the free throw line
Only had one rebound
9 fouls

DeAndre Mathieu

Positives-  
Took 13 very good shots, none of them were forced
Did a great job of running the team
Was most impressed with him

Negatives-  
Only had 4 deflections
He has the speed and quickness to get more
6 turnovers

Daquein McNeil


Daquien McNeil

Positives-  
Coming off an injury looked better physically
Played with a better motor
Guarded the ball well
Had a good attitude
Still learning
Has a bright future

Negatives-  
Only 2 deflections
0 steals

Kendal Shell

Positives-  
Great attitude and leadership
Brings something positive to the team every single day

Negatives-  
0 deflections

Mo Walker

Positives-  
Was efficient offensively
Did a good job defensive rebounding and blocking out
Ran the floor well
4 deflections

Negatives-  
Zero offensive rebounds
Needs to demand the ball more in the post

Parade, Practice and Special Delivery

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Minnesota women's basketball players had a busy Monday. In addition to their class schedules for the day, members of the team who didn't have a class conflict got together this morning to head over to Hennepin Avenue and watch the Minnesota Lynx victory parade. Pictured above are (l-r) Rachel Banham, Kayla Hirt, Amanda Zahui B., Sari Noga, Jackie Johnson, Stabresa McDaniel and Shayne Mullaney.

The Gophers joined thousands of others who gathered in the cool weather to celebrate Minnesota's second WNBA title in three years. Two key members of the Lynx are former Golden Gopher stars Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville. It was the second WNBA title for Whalen, while McCarville enjoyed her first-ever victory parade.

The stay at the parade was somewhat brief, as the team had been scheduled to practice from Noon to 3:00 p.m., but bumped the start of practice back an hour to allow those who wanted to see the parade the chance to go. So, once back on campus, the players geared up for a two-hour workout at Williams Arena.

Head coach Pam Borton's team is entering its third week of full workouts, and the Gophers' first exhibition game is just two weeks away! Minnesota will play host to Winona State on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that exhibition game, as well as the Gophers' game against Minnesota State Moorhead on Nov. 2, are on sale for $6.

To purchase tickets to any game, or to become season ticket-holders, contact Minnesota's Athletics Ticket Office at 612.624.8080 | 1.800.U.GOPHER, or online at mygophersports.com.

Speaking of tickets, members of the team ended their busy day by dividing up into three small groups after practice, and they headed off to personally deliver 2013-14 season tickets to several lucky Gopher women's basketball fans.

As they did last season, the Gophers added a personal touch to some of their biggest fans by showing up at their door to drop off the season tickets the fans ordered. Minnesota's players and coaches are so appreciative of the tremendous following they have from their loyal fans, and the team can't wait to have the chance to play games with those fans in their seats at Williams Arena. Go Gophers!

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Pictured above (l-r): Kayla Hirt, Mikayla Bailey, Sue Corbin, Karen Lueck, Micaella Riche, and Jackie Johnson.

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Pictured above (l-r): Kayla Hirt, Jackie Johnson, Mary Beth Barry, Micaella Riche, and Mikayla Bailey.

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Pictured above (l-r): Amanda Zahui B., Rachel Banham, Karen and Cordell Guse, Shayne Mullaney.

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Pictured above (l-r): Amanda Zahui B., Betsy Mitchell, Rachel Banham, Paul Mitchell, Shayne Mullaney.

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Pictured above (l-r): Cynthia Fay, Shayne Mullaney, Amanda Zahui B., Rachel Banham, Stephanie Fay.

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Pictured above (l-r): Sari Noga, Dave Mona, Stabresa McDaniel.

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Pictured above (l-r): Stabresa McDaniel, Annette Margarit, Sari Noga.

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Pictured above (l-r): Stabresa McDaniel, Pam and Robert Berkwitz, Sari Noga.

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Pictured above (l-r): Stabresa McDaniel, Olivia, Margaret Chutich, and Sari Noga.

Promos for MSU and Michigan Games

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The University of Minnesota volleyball program hosts No. 7 Michigan State and No. 17 Michigan, Thursday and Saturday nights at the Sports Pavilion. Here are this week's promotions as the Gophers take on the Spartans and Wolverines.


Purchase Tickets

Michigan State, Thursday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m.
-Watch two of the top teams in the Big Ten Conference as the Spartans are undefeated (4-0) and take on your No. 11 Gophers
- In honor of the match being aired on ESPN2, all general admission tickets are just $2! (advance sale only!-No walk up rate)

Michigan, Oct. 19, 7 p.m. 
-High School Night- High school teams receive free admission with the submission of their roster to gsm@umn.edu with subject line: Gopher Volleyball High School Day - Round 1
-Stewartville, Minnesota Community Day-Community members can help us honor Paige and Hannah Tapp and receive $4 general admission tickets

What We Learned: 2013 Ice Breaker

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The Gophers captured the 2013 Ice Breaker this weekend at Mariucci Arena with victories over Mercyhurst and New Hampshire. Here is what we learned from the Gophers' first weekend:

 

Scoring Depth Looks Good

Coach Lucia said leading into the weekend that he didn't think the team has a 25-goal scorer this season, but he believed the team has more scoring depth than last year. Based on this week's results, he was right. The nine total goals scored this weekend by Minnesota came from eight different skaters. This accomplishment was even more impressive considering all four forward lines chipped in and two defensemen found the back of the net. In total, 14 different Gophers registered at least a point this weekend, including Justin Holl who assisted on two goals from his natural defensive position after playing forward last season.

 

These Freshmen Can Play

The most impressive young forward was Hudson Fasching. He combined with Kyle Rau and Sam Warning to create the Gophers' dangerous line during the Ice Breaker. Hudson showed play-making ability and speed to burn this weekend en-route to posting his first career goal and a pair of assists. Fasching is in the power-forward mold and he displayed no fear in going right to the net on many occasions. He was named to the 2013 Ice Breaker All-Tournament Team.

Justin Kloos sparkled on Friday night against Mercyhurst. He displayed allusiveness on the rush and scored a power-play goal in the second period. Vinni Lettieri earned praise from coach Lucia for his energy and scored the game-winning goal against New Hampshire. Defensively, two Gophers got their first taste of college hockey. Michael Brodzinski scored Friday night in his first game and Jake Bischoff earned key ice time as the Gophers were protecting a one-goal lead late Saturday night.

 

Wilcox Continues to Shine

Heading into the season, the area the Gophers felt the most confident about was goaltending. Sophomore Adam Wilcox demonstrated why this weekend. On Friday, Wilcox made 25 saves against the Lakers to pick up the fourth shutout of his career. On Saturday, he made the timely save again continuing the trend from last year. New Hampshire's Dalton Speelman thought he had tied the game with seven seconds left until Wilcox robbed him with a miraculous glove save. Adam would be the first to give the defense a lot of credit for how they preformed in front of him this weekend. The Gophers did not give up a goal all weekend at full strength.

 

What Needs Work:

No game is perfect, especially at the beginning of the season. The Gophers will be working on special teams during practice this week. The power play features a lot of new faces playing in new roles and looks like it will take time for everything to click. After the power play succeeded twice on Friday, it went 0-6 Saturday night and failed to generate many quality chances. The penalty kill also proved to be a weak point during the second period of Saturday's game. New Hampshire's two goals came with the man advantage and both came, in part, because Minnesota penalty killers gave the puck away cheaply in their own zone. The other area where the team will look for improvement is in the face-off dot. It may take time with a pair of new centers in the top six.

 

Looking Ahead:

Minnesota travels to Bemidji State next weekend to take on the Beavers. The trip will give us a first look at how this under-sized team will fare on an NHL-sized rink. Bemidji State will certainly try to take away the Gophers speed advantage. It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes are made to the Gophers lineup as the team searches to find what players will develop the best chemistry. The Beavers lost and tied this weekend at St. Cloud State and are working in many new faces to their lineup.

Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

Instant Analysis: Minnesota 6 Mercyhurst 0

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The Gophers topped Mercyhurst, 6-0, tonight

 

First Victory in the Books

The Gophers won their season opener for the fourth-straight year. Their last loss on opening night came in 2009 to North Dakota. Tonight, the Gophers blew the game open with three goals in the second after having just a 1-0 lead after one period. The victory also continued a trend of lopsided victories to start the season. Two years ago, the Gophers bested Sacred Heart by a score of 9-0 and last season Michigan State was on the short end of a 5-1 score.  

Rau Steps UP

Kyle Rau scored the Gophers first goal of the season. It was a power-play marker 5:25 into the period. It was a typical-Rau goal. He was stationed at the side of the net and found himself with just enough room to shovel the puck home after it trickled to him. Kyle will be asked to shoulder a lot of the scoring load this season after the departures of talented players like Bjugstad, Haula, and Budish. Travis Boyd picked up a helper on the tally. He is hoping to spark his offensive output this year, so that should be a good confidence booster for him.

Junior Class

The Rau goal from Travis Boyd kicked off a great night for Minnesota's junior class. Rau later set up a goal for fellow classmate Sam Warning. Seth Ambroz also tallied an unassisted goal to add to the party. He threw the puck between his legs from below the goal line and it banked off of a Laker defender and into the net. The coaching staff said this week that they are hoping to see returning players elevate their games. The junior class certainly did that tonight. As mentioned above, with the loss of some talented players, the Gophers need someone to pick up the scoring slack.

 Impact Freshmen

Minnesota dressed five fresh faces in the lineup tonight. They wasted little time making an impact. Justin Kloos was the first rookie to score, notching his goal on the power play during the second period. Fellow freshman Michael Brodzinski capped the scoring for the night with a point shot late in the third period. Hudson Fasching also showed moments of glory. He set up Mike Reilly for a goal, registering an assist, and displayed blazing speed on an end-to-end rush before passing to Kyle Rau.

 Up Next

The Gophers will battle New Hampshire tomorrow night in the Ice Breaker Championship Game. New Hampshire downed Clarkson, , in Friday's other semifinal. The Gophers and Wildcats have a long history against each other, dating back to 1979. Many Gopher fans remember the 2003 NCAA Championship Game when Minnesota topped New Hampshire, 5-1. Overall, Minnesota owns a 13-2-2 record against the Wildcats. The puck drops tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. CT.

 

Richard Pitino Blog - Practice, Upcoming Scrimmages & More

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Good afternoon Gopher fans!  

I am currently en route back from the west coast on a recruiting trip. Our guys had two very good practices this week on Monday and Tuesday. The second practice of the week was the most competitive. It was the first time I saw our team take pride in the press. It was our players first look at our 2-2-1 and 2-3 zone. Or as my assistant and loyal Big Ten traditionalist Ben Johnson calls it "junk defense." One of the keys to building a culture is getting to a point where our players hold each other accountable on their own. Every good team I have been a part of has had that element. Tuesday was the first time I saw our guys do that. That is always very encouraging to see.

Coach Pitino previews the Gophers upcoming practices and open scrimmage on Oct. 18.



Starting this Saturday, we will have one maroon/gold scrimmage each week leading up to our first exhibition game. In each of these scrimmages we will play four, eight minute quarters and give them one media timeout under four minutes. We will have three referees and keep stats. We will try to make it as much like a game like as possible. In the first scrimmage, I will split up the staff and have each of them coach a team. This was always good for my development as a coach. It is also very entertaining to see which assistant coach has a few tricks up his sleeve. The safe bet would be that Coach Dan "Naismith" McHale comes out of a timeout with some defense that we have never worked on.

Next Friday, we will have another scrimmage open to the public. More info can be found here. This will be a good opportunity for us to see how our student-athletes perform in front of fans. It is important for us to open our doors and give our loyal fans a look at the progress of our program. Many people have asked me my expectations for the year. It's very difficult for to speculate on wins and losses. I hope that on Nov. 8, when we play Lehigh, our coaching staff and fans will see a group of guys that leave everything out on the court.  We won't have a "two, three, or four year plan."  We will focus on a one-day plan. There is no point in dwelling on the past or concerning ourselves with the future. The goal will be to get the most out of each other every day.

Congratulations to Willie Burton, Al Nolen and Randy Carter!  All three received their degrees from the University of Minnesota over the summer. The group of former players that we have is so strong and we appreciate all their support. I really enjoyed catching up with Bobby Jackson last week. It's nice to see him get a job with an NBA team in the city he loves so much. Many of our former players end up staying in Minneapolis, even having grown up in other parts of the country. We saw a few former Gophers at our football game recently: Damian Johnson, Kerry Wooldridge, Richard Coffey, Walter Bond, Quincy Lewis - all returned to Minneapolis after college because they enjoy the city.

Coach Pitino says Blake Hoffarber embodies the "Gopher Experience".



On the other side of the coin, it's been great meeting the former players that wanted to play in front of their hometown crowd and the reasons they wanted to stay "home." I have met and heard about several former players that grew up in Minnesota and are new in their careers - John Thomas at Lifetime Fitness, Jamal Abu-Shamala and Travis Busch in medical device sales, and Blake Hoffarber who embodies the full "Gopher Experience."  He and his family are in the stands at Williams Arena for every game. He was an outstanding student at the Carlson School of Management, took advantage of the thriving business community in Minneapolis/St Paul by interning with Cargill in the summers, and then had several different job offers after college. He had a hard time deciding what job he wanted to take! Blake's basketball recognition, his popularity around the state of Minnesota, and his outstanding character are what we hope for in our student-athletes.

Several publications will come out with their official rankings of colleges each year. Certainly we are rated highly in a lot of those lists, especially our highly touted Carlson School of Management, but in my opinion what makes University of Minnesota so special is the amount of opportunities that the Twin Cities provide after college. With 21 Fortune 500 companies within miles of our campus, our guys will have great job opportunities when they are done playing basketball. We talk to our players all the time about "filming a commercial" on themselves every day. You never know who you may meet! It's my hope that several of our players will get internships with the likes of a Best Buy, Target or a 3M this summer. To have those opportunities at our doorstep is special and our guys need to take advantage of it!  

It's a big weekend for Gopher Athletics! Good luck to Men's Hockey, Women's Hockey and Volleyball who all take on conference opponents this weekend!

Go Gophers!
Richard Pitino

Come out to the Gophers First Look "Raise the Barn" scrimmage on Oct. 18!


Carlson's Corner: Moving Up

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Gopher Golf Fans-

As we embark on our next challenge, or -- as I like to tell my players -- another opportunity, I want to take a moment to reflect upon our latest tournament performance in New Mexico. We have also been very busy with qualifying, along with the first round of midterm exams for all student-athletes.

We have now had five practices and three qualifying rounds since our last competitive round at the University of New Mexico Championship GC, but it seems like just yesterday since I saw our sophomore, Jon DuToit, hole his par putt from 12 feet on his last hole at the Tucker. The Tucker, hosted by the University of New Mexico, is played at 5,000 feet of elevation on a golf course that measures 7,678 yards from the back tees. The elevation plays a huge role as it accounts for approximately 10 percent more carry distance on every golf shot. In summary, here is how we determine the actual yardage is shot was playing:

1.            Lasered Yardage to Pin
2.            Uphill/downhill yardage in elevation (measured by Bushnell Slope Laser in practice round)
3.            10 percent is subtracted from Nos. 1 and 2
4.            Wind Variance
5.            Temperature affected yardage-Frost each morning...in NEW MEXICO(was 85 degrees in MN) 

Go Gophers! Charlie Braniff
Go Gophers!
Read a Q&A with Charlie Braniff below.
Go Gophers!

All in all, we have very intelligent players that made the calculations perfectly, and now it was a matter of execution. Our execution was superb through 33 holes as we were tied for second at that point. In a tournament featuring nine teams ranked inside the top 50 in the NCAA rankings, I finally realized how far the program had come in the last four years. But the excitement in reflection would soon come to an abrupt halt as we finished our final three holes that afternoon 10-over-par. Nevertheless, we had a firm handle on sixth place, trailing USC and UNLV by three shots heading into the final round. After the 20-plus mph winds and dust settled on Day 1, we were once again led by our outstanding freshman, Jose Mendez, with a 36-hole total of 148. Closely behind him were senior Alex Gaugert (73-77), junior Tyler Lowenstein (71-81) and Jon DuToit (73-79).

It is never easy to finish a long day with a few bogeys and despite the upbeat team meeting talking about the "positives" from Day 1, our struggles carried over into the final round. A frost delay and tucked pins greeted all the players on Day 2. We got off to a shaky start but found the heart to battle all day long in tough conditions to secure an eighth-place finish in this strong field. Jose Mendez continued his solid play by posting a t-14th finish that led the team for the second straight week. This day would serve as a great motivator for our practices to follow!

The five days of practice focused entirely on wedge yardages, putting drills and bunker technique in order to alleviate the pressure of missed greens when we play the tough college golf courses. Our 10 men have bought into a strong work ethic, detailed preparation and a more confident mindset, which will prove valuable as we take on our next challenge at Sonoma Golf Club.  Before Sonoma though, we qualified at Minikahda Club, Edina CC and Minneapolis GC because each of these golf courses mirror the conditions we will face in Northern California. Alex Gaugert won the qualifying with an even-par total of 216 by five strokes over runner-up Jon Trasamar. Tyler Lowenstein and Jon DuToit grabbed the final two spots over hard charging Charlie Braniff. 

I have been very impressed by the play thus far of our redshirt freshman, Matt Rachey, and one of our other freshmen, Grady Meyer.  I wouldn't be surprised to see multiple freshmen in the lineup throughout the remainder of the fall and into the Big Ten Championship in May. Competition is alive and well within Gopher Golf, which will help to maintain or improve our current ranking of 49th. At this time two years ago, Gopher Golf was ranked No. 122 out of the 296 Division I golf programs. 

I will be giving daily interviews from California and all fans can follow the live scoring from the Alister Mackenzie on Golfstat.com. Before we compete at Sonoma Golf Club, I like to take my teams to fascinating places on each trip and this experience will not disappoint. We will be playing Mayacama Golf Club the day prior to the practice round, which is one of the finest golf clubs in the country. Stay tuned to GopherSports.com, check out our player feature in this blog on Charlie Braniff, and continue to support our program each and every day!

Fairways, Fairways, Fairways--

John Carlson 

Player Feature: Charlie Braniff (R-So./St. Cloud, Minn./St. Cloud Tech HS)

GopherSports: What are your goals for the season?

Charlie Braniff: My goal for the 2013-14 season is to continue to wake up each morning with a desire to get better and begin to see some results from my hard work.

GS: What is the biggest strength of your game?

CB: My biggest strength in my golf game is my creativity, I feel I can execute any shot I need in any situation by visualizing it.

GS: What is your favorite course in the Twin Cities?

CB: My favorite course in the twin cities area is Somerset CC. That course has some of the most amazing views I've ever seen.

GS: Do you have a favorite club in your bag?

CB: I have 14 of them.

GS: Is there anything interesting that you carry around in golf bag?

CB: I carry around a Titleist No. 7 ball I found when I was younger and it has a lucky charm stamp on it. I feel like it gives me good luck.

GS: What is your favorite part of being a Golden Gopher?

CB: My favorite part about being a Golden Gopher is being from Minnesota and being able to wear the Maroon and Gold and represent the university.

Whalen and McCarville Earn Their Title

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McCarville's Fancy Pass | McCarville's Rainbow Jumper | Trophy Presentation
Minnesota's WNBA Playoff Run in Photos (MPR) | Minnesota Lynx Recap

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Ten years after they began a collegiate season that led them to the NCAA Final Four as stars for the University of Minnesota, former Gopher women's basketball standouts Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville have finally won a title together.

Thursday night in Atlanta, the duo combined for 25 points and nine assists, as their Minnesota Lynx defeated the Atlanta Dream, 86-77, to sweep the series and win its second WNBA crown in three years.

Whalen scored 15 points, dished out six assists and grabbed three rebounds, while McCarville added 10 points, three assists, two steals and a pair of boards for the Lynx.

Whalen and McCarville also combined for 25 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the Game 2 victory against the Dream at Target Center. For the WNBA Finals, Whalen averaged 10.7 points, 5.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds, while McCarville averaged 9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

One of the defining moments of last night's title-clinching win in Atlanta was McCarville's steal, drive and amazing pass between her legs to Rebekkah Brunson on a fast break. That play helped give the Lynx some breathing room during a third-quarter run, allowing McCarville to earn her first WNBA title and give Whalen her second.

Minnesota women's basketball fans were so proud to see Whalen and McCarville walk off the court with their Lynx teammates last night. Congratulations on an amazing feat, 10 years after the incredible season for the Maroon and Gold!

Streak Comparisons: How Do the Gophers Stack Up?

The Gophers enter this weekend's series against the Wisconsin Badgers riding an NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey record 51-game winning streak. The women's hockey winning streak trails a handful of unbelievable streaks but surpasses other NCAA Division I sports' marks for consecutive wins. Check out how some of the most impressive streaks in college athletics compare.

Note: Not all sports are included, and the records include winning streaks only (not unbeaten streaks).

NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball
109 matches: Penn State, Sept. 21, 2007 to Sept. 10, 2010

NCAA Division I Women's Soccer
92 games: North Carolina, Oct. 12, 1990 to Sept. 30, 1994

NCAA Division I Women's Basketball
90 games: Connecticut, 2008-10

NCAA Division I Men's Basketball
88 games: UCLA, Jan. 30, 1971 to Jan. 17, 1974

NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey
51 games: Minnesota, Feb. 18, 2012 to present

NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse
50 games: Maryland, March 9, 1995, to April 20, 1997

NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision
47 games: Oklahoma, 1953 to 1957

NCAA Division I Softball
47 games: Arizona, April 5, 1996 to March 23, 1997

NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse
42 games: Cornell, March 20, 1976 to May 20, 1978

NCAA Division I Baseball
34 games: Texas, 1977; Florida Atlantic 1999

NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey
30 games: Rensselaer, Nov. 24, 1984 to March 22, 1985; Cornell, Nov. 22, 1969 to Nov. 21, 1970

NCAA Division I Men's Soccer
25 games: Navy, 1964 to 1965

How does Minnesota's record match up among professional sports records? The Gophers crush them!

NHL
35 games (unbeaten streak): Philadelphia Flyers (25-0-10), Oct. 14, 1979 to Jan. 6, 1980
17 games (winning streak): Pittsburgh Penguins (17-0-0), March 9 to April 10, 1993

NBA
33 games: Los Angeles Lakers, Nov. 5, 1971 to Jan. 7, 1972

MLB
26 games (unbeaten streak): New York Giants, Sept. 7 to Sept. 30, 1916 (includes one tie)
21 games (winning streak): Chicago Cubs, 1935

NFL
21 games: New England Patriots, Oct. 5, 2003 to Oct. 24, 2004

WNBA
18 games: Los Angeles Sparks, June 26 to Aug. 11, 2001

Check out ESPN's 33 Best Streaks in Sports History (dated March 28, 2013) and the Longest Winning Streaks of All Time (compiled by the Associated Press in March 2013). Unfortunately, neither list mentions Gopher women's hockey, but both lists include some impressive numbers!

Gophers Meet the Media: Ice Breaker Tournament

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The 2013-14 Gopher hockey season commences this weekend as Minnesota hosts the 2013 Ice Breaker at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers will welcome Mercyhurst, New Hampshire, and Clarkson to the Twin Cities for the two-day tournament. Wednesday afternoon coach Don Lucia and members of the team met with the local media to discuss the opening weekend.

The Gophers will open with Mercyhurst on Friday night. The Lakers return a veteran group that includes three players who registered over 30 points last season. "They like to get up and down the rink. They are an older team like most of the teams from (Atlantic Hockey) are. It will be a real good challenge for our young guys," Lucia said.

Speaking of the young guys, the freshman got their first taste of collegiate play last weekend against Lethbridge. Overall, coach Lucia liked what he saw. "(The freshmen) did a good job. I was happy, I think some returning players improved from where they were a year ago and that is a real positive."

The influx of talented freshmen gives the coaching staff plenty of options for setting the lineup. "When I look at our team, I don't see a 25-goal scorer. However, I do see a lot of guys who have the potential to put the puck in the net," Lucia said. "We are balanced. I think we are a little deeper up front then we were a year ago. I think we can have four pretty balanced lines." While Lucia has some lines in mind, there is opportunity for players to take on large roles this season.

The players are aware that they cannot take any team lightly as the games begin to count this weekend. "(Mercyhurst) was picked to win their league. You definitely can't look past them. They are a good team. There a three solid teams coming in this weekend, so it will be fun to see where we are at," forward Seth Ambroz said.

With the season just 48 hours away there was a general feeling of excitement in the locker room . "We have been waiting for a long time. We have been working out all summer while taking classes. It is nice it is only two days away," defenseman Brady Skjei said.

Minnesota will first hit the ice at 7:10 p.m. CT on Friday night against Mercyhurst. Earlier on Friday, New Hampshire will square off with Clarkson. The two winners will battle for the championship Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m., with the losers meeting at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Both Gopher games can be heard on 1500 ESPN. The FOX Sports North network will broadcast both Gopher games this weekend. 

 

-Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

 

NHL: Martin's Sliding Score

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If you missed former Gopher Paul Martin's first goal of the year last night, check it out below. The Pittsburgh defenseman went down to one knee to put home the loose puck and give the Penguins a 2-0 lead in route to a 5-2 win over Carolina. Martin, who led the team with 24:34 of ice time last night, now has two points on the year. 


Also of note: Thomas Vanek assists on both of Buffalo's goals in a 3-2 overtime loss to Tampa Bay last night, Kyle Okposo assisted on the game-winning goal in the Islanders' 6-1 win over Phoenix. 

Alister MacKenzie Qualifying

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The Gophers held a qualifying tournament to determine the travel squad for the Alister MacKenzie Classic (Oct. 14-15). On Saturday, they played at Minikahda Club, which is a par-72 course playing at 6,811 yards. Round 2 on Sunday was at Edina Country Club, a par-72, 6,676-yard course. The third and final round was at Minneapolis Golf Club on Monday. Scores from the first two rounds are below.

Jose Mendez was exempt, and there were three automatic qualifiers and one coaches' pick. The five Gophers traveling to California are noted with stars.

*Jose Mendez 77-71--148 (missed round 3 due to class)
*Alex Gaugert 72-75-69--216
*Jon Trasamar 71-77-73--221
*Tyler Lowenstein 71-76-76--223
*Jon DuToit 75-76-74--225
Matt Rachey 76-75-76--227
Charlie Braniff 78-78-74--230
Grady Meyer 78-78-76--232
Daniel Luftspring 81-77-81--239
Genki Hirayama 87-78-83--248

Gophers Receive Preseason Media Coverage

Catch up on what the media is writing about the Gopher women's hockey team leading up to the start of the 2013-14 season.

Star Tribune: No. 1 Gophers women's hockey team talented with holes to fill
By Rachel Blount, Oct. 4, 2013

Pioneer Press: Gophers women's hockey: Amanda Leveille takes over spotlight in net
By Dane Mizutani, Oct. 3, 2013

MN Daily: Freshmen ready for year's first road trip
By Betsy Helfand, Oct. 3, 2013 

MN Daily: Women roll in exhibitions
By Betsy Helfand, Sept. 30, 2013 

MN Daily: Minnesota set for encore season
By Betsy Helfand, Sept. 26, 2013 

Star Tribune: Gophers rout Team Japan in women's hockey
Sept. 26, 2013 


NHL: Kessel's Birthday Goal

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Phil Kessel turned 26 yesterday -- a day after signing a $64 million, eight-year contract extension to stay with Toronto until 2021-22.  How did the former Gopher celebrate? By going out Wednesday night and erasing a first period 1-0 lead for the Philadelphia Flyers as the Maple Leafs scored three-straight goals in route to a 3-1 win -- moving Toronto to 2-0-0 early in the 2013-14 NHL season. 


Kessel now has two points in two games for the Maple Leafs after assisting on a goal in Toronto's 4-3 win over Montreal to open the season on Tuesday. 


Gophers Say Thanks to Deborah Olson

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Head coach Pam Borton and the Golden Gophers took some time before practice on Wednesday to personally thank Deborah Olson for her support of the Minnesota women's basketball program.

The coaches and players signed a large thank you card, which they presented to Deborah as the team huddled at mid court prior to practice. Deborah, who has provided support for multiple projects in athletics, took some time to speak to the team, and the group posed for a picture before starting practice.

"Deborah's friendship has meant a lot to Minnesota athletics and myself for many years," Borton said. "She is always willing to step to the plate to help make our program successful. She's very unselfish, because she doesn't do this for the recognition, but it means a lot to us that she is willing to go above and beyond to help keep our program competitive."
Go Gophers! Pafko
Go Gophers!
Get to know freshman Ashley Pafko
Go Gophers!
Name: Ashley Pafko
Number: 18
Position: Forward / Defense
Year: Freshman
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Blaine, MN

What about Minnesota made you decide that you wanted to be a Gopher?:
I choose Minnesota because it was always my dream to play soccer for my home state. The University of Minnesota is a place that I feel will prepare me for success on and off the field. Along with a great soccer program, they have an excellent computer science program. I also want to help bring a championship to the university.

What is special/different about this team?:
Whenever this team is together, it is always a fun atmosphere. The coaching staff and players are great. We are all very competitive with each other in practice and games, pushing ourselves to become better soccer players each and every day. I have already developed long lasting friendships with my teammates. Along with an amazing group of girls, this team has an outstanding coaching staff. They always make sure everyone is giving 100% effort, but at the same time, they make it enjoyable and fun for us as players.

What does Gopher Soccer mean to you?:
To me, Gopher soccer means the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back of the jersey. 

When did you first start playing soccer?:
I started playing soccer when I was three years old and ever since then, I have grown to love the game.

What is your favorite soccer memory?:
My favorite soccer memory was my first game as a Gopher soccer player. It was and still is such an honor to play for the state of Minnesota and a thrill to play in front of the large crowd that supports Gopher soccer. The best part was in the first few minutes of the game when I scored my first goal of the season.

What is something you've done in the past year that you are the most proud of... on or off the field?:
Something that I've done in the past year that I am most proud of was when I scored the game-winning goal against LSU.

What is your favorite local Minneapolis restaurant and what do you order when you are there?:
My favorite local Minneapolis restaurant would definitely have to be Punch Pizza. I either get the Toscano Pizza or the Margarita Pizza.

How do you prepare/get pumped up for a game?:
Just being with the team in the locker room before games gets me pumped up. We always have music playing and everyone is either dancing or just getting mentally prepared for the game.

If you could spend one day with a professional soccer player, who would it be and why?:
If I could spend the day with a professional soccer player, it would definitely be Mia Hamm. I would chose Mia because not only is she an amazing soccer player, but she was on the USA Women's World Cup team when they won the FIFA World Cup in 2000 that made a huge impact on women's soccer.

What is your "walkout" song and why?:
My walkout song is Trippy by Antiserum & Mayhem because I love the beat and it always gets me pumped up.

What do you think your biggest strength on and off the field?:
My biggest strength on and off the field is my hard work and having the will to succeed. 

What is an interesting fact that not many people know about you?:
My great uncle, Andy Pafko, played professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Braves, and Brooklyn Dodgers.

What is your biggest goal for the season?: 
My biggest goal for the season is to make it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament.

How has playing soccer at Minnesota influenced the way you feel about the game?:
Playing soccer for the Gophers has made me more passionate about the game because this is a highest level of soccer I have ever played and being on this highly competitive team is making be a better player every day.

What is your favorite non-athletic building on campus and why?: 
My favorite non-athletic building on campus is Walter Hall because the design of the building is so neat and the Library inside looks like its from Harry Potter.

Who is your biggest role model and why?:
My biggest role model is my older brother, Matthew, who passed away from brain and spine cancer. He never complained once about the pain he was in, inspiring me to always do my best in anything I do and to never give up.

Gophers Preseason Media Availability

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers are about to embark on their maiden voyage into Big Ten hockey. The new season brings with it many changes. In addition to competing in the new conference, the Gophers welcome eight fresh faces to the squad to replace the departure of six elite talents, who are all playing professional hockey this year.


Chances for players to assume largeer roles exist up and done the line up as the season begins. 

"Guys are going to be given an opportunity, whether it is playing the first line or the fourth line, and it is what (the players) do with it," head coach Don Lucia said. "We are going to have to do a lot of moving guys around during the early part of the season to figure out what the best combinations are going to be."

The freshmen class may be inexperienced at the collegiate level, but they are not short on talent and they will be expected to contribute this season. 

"We are going to have to have some of (the freshman) score for us if we are going to have a successful year," Lucia said. Veteran players will be counted upon to lead the way and show the younger Gophers what is expected from them.

One of those eight new skaters is redshirt freshman Connor Reilly. He returns to the ice this season after missing over a season of hockey while going through two major knee surgeries. Lucia knows it will take Reilly time to get back to where he was before the injury, but there are encouraging signs, "Week by week he will make tremendous strides. We have seen that already in practice. He has his good stick skills, his hockey sense, and bite to his game."

Connor will join his brothers Ryan and Mike in a Gophers sweater this season and Mike can't wait to see it. 

"We have been playing our whole lives together, so getting that feeling back is pretty special."

Despite all the changes among the skaters, sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox remains the anchor of the team. Lucia anticipates more of the same from Wilcox this season. 

"What I liked about his game last year was he made the timely save. When the game was tied, he made the big save to help us win the game and when we were ahead by a goal he would preserve it. He was very consistent."

For his part, Wilcox is excited to have a year of college hockey under his belt. "Last year, I did not know what to expect coming in after two years of juniors. Obviously, college is a whole different ball game. Now, I know what to expect." He comes into this season on the Big Ten's preseason watch list.

The Gophers will host the University of Lethbridge in an exhibition game this Saturday at 7 p.m. before they open up their regular season slate by hosting the Ice Breaker the following weekend. Fans can expect to see plenty of the young players against Lethbridge.

-Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

Wittman Highlighted In Faces of the Big Ten

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Have you watched any of the Big Ten Network broadcasts featuring your favorite team? You may have recognized Gopher Volleyball's Ashley Wittman as one of the 'Faces of the Big Ten' ads. Wittman, a senior captain with the Gophers has done countless hours of volunteering, a multiple Academic All-Big Ten selection and a member of the Gophers' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Take a look at this video.

NHL Update: 12 Gophers Open Season on NHL Rosters

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The NHL season officially started on Tuesday night with a trio of games, and there are plenty of Gophers starting the 2013-14 season in the NHL -- 12 of them to be exact on active rosters as of the first day of the season. 

Here's the full list of Gophers starting the season in the NHL:
Keith Ballard - Minnesota Wild
Erik Johnson - Colorado Avalanche
Nick Bjugstad - Florida Panthers
Blake Wheeler - Winnipeg Jets
Alex Goligoski - Dallas Stars
Thomas Vanek - Buffalo Sabres
Kyle Okposo - New York Islanders
Paul Martin - Pittsburgh Penguins
Nick Leddy - Chicago Blackhawks
Jordan Leopold - St. Louis Blues
Phil Kessel - Toronto Maple Leafs 
Jordan Schroeder - Vancouver Canucks

Kessel Signs New Deal, Makes Mark in Opener
On Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced former Gopher Phil Kessel signed an eight-year contact extension that will commence at the start of the 2014-15 season. 

How did Kessel celebrate? By tacking on the primary assist for the first goal of the 2013-14 NHL season...that's how. 


"Phil Kessel is one of the premier wingers and elite goal scorers in the National Hockey League today," said David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. "He wanted to be a Maple Leaf long term and we're very pleased that Phil will be a part of our core group of players in Toronto until the 2021-22 season."

Kessel, 25, played 48 games for the Maple Leafs in 2012-13, leading the team in goals (20), assists (32), points (52), powerplay goals (5), game-winning goals (4) and shots (161). He ranked seventh in NHL points (tie) and ninth in shots. The native of Madison, Wisconsin also played seven playoff games for Toronto, posting team-highs in goals (4), powerplay goals (tie-1) and game-winning goals (2).

Over the last two seasons, Kessel has accumulated 134 points (57 goals, 77 assists) in 130 games. Only Steve Stamkos (154), Evgeni Malkin (142) and Claude Giroux (141) have more points in that stretch. Only three players have more goals than Kessel's 89 over the last three seasons: Stamkos (134), Corey Perry (102) and Alex Ovechkin (102).

In 504 career NHL games with Boston (2006-07 to 2008-09) and Toronto (2009-10 to present), Kessel has collected 379 points (185 goals, 194 assists) with 139 penalty minutes. The 6-0, 202-pound right-winger has reached the 30-goal plateau four times, posting a career-high 37 goals in 2011-12. Kessel was originally selected by the Bruins in the first round, fifth overall, in the 2006 Entry Draft.


Vanek Named Sabres Captain
Buffalo Sabres coach Ron Rolston officially named former Gopher Thomas Vanek as one of two team captains on Tuesday. Vanek will represent the Sabres as captain for home games. 

"Obviously it means a lot to be representing this great organization with Steve (Ott) and Christian (Ehrhoff)," Vanek told BuffaloSabres.com. "It's an honor, but as I've told the guys, this letter doesn't mean much if we don't do anything as a group. Again it's nice, but it's not where we want to be."

The former Gopher was drafted fifth overall by Buffalo in 2003 and ranks sixth all-time in goals for the franchise and 10th all-time in points. 

"Thomas has been a big part of this organization for a long time. He knows how it ticks," Rolston said. "He wants to have a great year and he also has been really good in camp and in helping our young guys - whether it's on the bench or in the room - develop. That was very important in that decision."

Vanek and the Sabres open the season on Wednesday on the road against the Detroit Red Wings 

Check out what the fans were saying after the Minnesota Golden Gophers upset the No. 13 Michigan Wolverines on Sunday afternoon! 

Pitino, Team Captains Meet the Media

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Head coach Richard Pitino and the Golden Gopher basketball team's three captains met with the media on Tuesday afternoon. Seniors Austin Hollins and Maverick Ahanmisi and junior Andre Hollins have been elected captains by their teammates.

Pitino, who has now been Minnesota's head coach for almost six months, said he would consider a starting lineup that includes all three captains. He said that the team is "right on schedule" in terms of strength and conditioning at this point in the year. Since Pitino's arrival, the Gophers have been working on learning a new style of play. Full team practices started last week.

"At the start of practice, everyone's excited," Andre Hollins said. "You can tell around the locker room -- managers, players, coaches -- everyone's excited for the season."

Team tri-captain (MN Daily) Ahanmisi's role expanding (Star Tribune
Gophers adapting to up-tempo style (Pioneer Press)
Minnesota embraces underdog status (FSN)

MAGIC Visits Amplatz Children's Hospital

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The University of Minnesota student-athletes were again on the move as a group visited the Amplatz Children's Hospital, located here on campus. Here's a quick video of their adventure.