Catch up on the Gophers in the news heading into this weekend's regular-season finale against Minnesota Duluth.
Minnesota Daily: Gophers seniors reflect in final season
Feb. 20, 2014
Take one last look at some of the notable Olympic coverage:
Star Tribune: Sudden ending for U.S. stuns Gophers women's hockey team
Feb. 21, 2014
Star Tribune: Day after collapse, US women's hockey team resigned to remember, 'we didn't finish the job'
Feb. 21, 2014
Star Tribune: TFD: A mostly happy day ends on a sad note for Gophers women's hockey team
Feb. 20, 2014
USA Today: Canada women snatch gold from United States with big rally
Feb. 20, 2014
CBS News: U.S., Canadian women facing off for hockey gold
Feb. 20, 2014
St. Cloud Times: Friends, family cheer Schleper in gold medal game
Feb. 20, 2014
ESPN W: 5 Keys to USA-Canada Hockey
Feb. 20, 2014
ESPN W: Women's Hockey Steadily Rises
Feb. 19, 2014
Bleacher Report: US vs. Canada Women's Hockey: A Rivalry the Olympics Needs to Keep
Feb. 19, 2014
KARE 11: U.S. women's hockey advances with Minn. Angle
Feb. 19, 2014
Minnesota Daily: Column: It's time for pro women's hockey, ya feel me?
Feb. 18, 2014
Washington Post: Women's hockey final is the latest chapter in USA-Canada rivalry
Feb. 18, 2014
NESN: Team USA's Phil, Amanda Kessel Dominating Olympic Hockey In Sochi
Feb. 18, 2014
Toronto Star: What's wrong with Olympic women's hockey? Not much: Cox
Feb. 17, 2014
SI: Phil and Amanda Kessel are the new faces of U.S. ice hockey
Feb. 17, 2014
Bleacher Report: Team USA's Amanda Kessel's Quest for Gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics
Feb. 17, 2014
Huffington Post - U.S. Women's Hockey Team Clinches Spot In Gold Medal Game With 6-1 Win Over Sweden
Feb. 17, 2014
Pioneer Press: "So at home": Minnesota Olympian Marvin saw Oshie's Sochi tricks back in Warroad
Feb. 16, 2014
CBS Sports - US dominates Sweden, advances to women's hockey gold-medal game
Feb. 16, 2014
Rival Films recently followed the Gopher women's hockey team to learn more about the program's culture and recipe for success. Check out a behind-the-scenes look at the program.
From Rival Films: "With back-to-back national titles, a 62-game winning streak that ended just months ago and a strong contingent competing in Sochi, the University of Minnesota has built an impressive women's hockey program. Go inside the team and learn how culture defines who they are."
We caught up with former Gopher All-American Nick Bjugstad last weekend when the current Florida Panthers forward was back in town during the Olympic break. Check out the video below to hear what Bjugstad had to say about his time as a Gopher, his first NHL game and transitioning to the pro game.
Through 52 games this season with Florida, Bjugstad has 23 points for the Panthers while his 13 goals are tied for second on the team. Bjugstad was selected 19th overall in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Panthers.
During his three seasons with the Maroon & Gold, no Gopher scored more goals than Bjugstad with 54 while the forward tallied 98 total points in 109 career games. In Bjugstad's final two seasons with the program, the Gophers earned two-straight MacNaughton cups as Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) regular-season champions and two NCAA tournament berths including the team's run to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2011-12.
Written by Chris Hawthorne, Student Affairs Intern and Unlimited Executive Board Member
If you aren't familiar with the back story of Unlimited, here's an article from the Pioneer Press.
putting the finishing touches on what should be an incredible event for
all involved. Some of the last minute logistics we are working on are
finalizing the schedule, figuring out who is performing and what is
happening when, what drawings we will do when, and just putting in a
couple things to make this event as special as it should be. I think
that the event from start to finish is something that this University
can be really proud of and should be something that the students,
alumni, families, and children can all really enjoy. We are really
encouraging people to get there early and to start getting into position
around 5 so when we recognize the families and children that will be
there, they can get the reception they truly deserve.
will have a fully operational concession stand that will have all the
food, drinks, and candy that anyone could want at discounted rates which
will be great for all that come to this great event. We also have a
bounce house, lots of giveaways and drawings, student-athletes and
student group performances, motivational speeches, food, and lots of
dancing. All in all, the night should and will be incredible and we hope
each and every person that gets to read this can help make history and
can come be apart of something that will bring our school, our students,
our community together like never before.
Some items we'll be giving away
* Sun Country Round Trip Tickets (continental United States)
* Flexdine Gift Cards
* Minnesota Wild Tickets
* Golden Gopher Autographed Items
Feb 8, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; USA defenseman Megan Bozek (9) carries the puck away from Finland forward Nina Tikkinen (23) during the women's ice hockey preliminary round game in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Shayba Arena. Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association will be well-represented in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games women's hockey gold-medal game this Thursday when Canada and the U.S. face off in the championship game. The WCHA will have 16 current and former players fighting for the gold medal. The game will be televised live at 11 a.m. CT on NBC.
The WCHA broke down the league's Olympians by country and university:
The roster for the United States team includes 11 current and former players from the WCHA. All 21 members of the squad have college ties and every player has competed in an IIHF Women's World Championship, including 18 who captured a gold medal last April to propel the United States to the No. 1 ranking in the world.
In addition to the five current and former Gophers competing for Team USA - Megan Bozek, Amanda Kessel, Gigi Marvin, Anne Schleper and Lee Stecklein - Wisconsin and North Dakota also have players on the Team USA roster. Marvin is the lone Olympic veteran among the Gopher representatives. Marvin is one of 11 USA athletes with Olympic experience, and Stecklein is the youngest player on the roster. Kessel and Stecklein have college eligibility remaining.
Four former Badgers are on the U.S. Olympic squad. They are forwards Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, who has been named team captain, and Hilary Knight, along with goaltender Jessie Vetter. It marks the second Olympic Games for Duggan, Knight and Vetter as the trio played for UW head coach Mark Johnson in the 2010 Olympics, while Decker is making her Olympic debut. Decker, Duggan and Vetter all took home the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the nation's top player, at some point during their Wisconsin careers, while Knight is the all-time leading scorer in school history. Vetter and Duggan each won three national championships while at Wisconsin, while Knight was a part of two national championship teams and Decker was a member of the 2011 national championship squad.
Former North Dakota players Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux are also on Team USA. It is the second Olympic Winter Games for the Lamoureux twins, who played in their first Olympics winning silver with the U.S. in 2010 in Vancouver.
Along with the Team USA connections, three WCHA teams - Minnesota Duluth, Wisconsin and Ohio State - have former players on Team Canada, the defending Olympic champion. They are forward Natalie Spooner of Ohio State, defenseman Meghan Mikkelson of Wisconsin, Jocelyne Larocque of Minnesota Duluth and former UMD forwards Haley Irwin and Caroline Ouellette, the Canadian captain.
Overall there were 34 current and former WCHA players who competed in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, including Minnesota Duluth with 11 players, Minnesota with seven, North Dakota with six, Wisconsin with five, Ohio State with three and Minnesota State with two. There are five current and former WCHA players who will compete in the bronze medal game between Sweden and Switzerland Thursday at 6 am CT. That game will be televised by NBC Sports Network.
Along with five Team USA Gophers, Minnesota had Finnish teammates goalie Noora Räty, an all-American collegian last season, and defenseman Mira Jalouso in competition for their native countries. Wisconsin has five players - the USA quartet will be playing against Mikkelson, who won two national titles while at Wisconsin and was named the 2007 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year.
Along with the Lamoureuxs, UND also had three current players that played in the 2014 Games. Forwards Michelle Karvinen and Susanna Tapani were key members of Team Finland, while defenseman Tanja Eisenschmid played for Germany. Former UND defenseman Susanne Fellner also played for Team Germany.
Minnesota Duluth had 11 current and former players on six teams in Sochi. Irwin, Larocque and Ouellette have been stalwarts for Team Canada, although Irwin missed some games with an injury. Both forwards, Irwin and Ouellette, played on Team Canada's gold medalists in 2010 in Vancouver. Ouellette is a three-time gold medalist for Canada (2010, 2006, 2002), while Larocque, an all-American defenseman, was one of the last players cut from the 2010 Canada Olympic squad after she was centralized for the first part of the 2009-10 NCAA season. After returning to UMD in January, she helped lead the Bulldogs to their fifth NCAA title that March.
Current Bulldog freshman defenseman Lara Stalder will play for a bronze medal with Team Switzerland Thursday against UMD alums defenseman Jenni Asserholt, goaltender Kim Martin Hansson and forward Pernilla Winberg who are all skating with Team Sweden. Ex-Bulldogs Alexandra Vafina and Iya Gavrilova played for the host team Russia, current Minnesota Duluth blueliner Tea Villila skated for Team Finland and former Bulldog goalie Jennifer Harss was on Germany's Olympic squad.
In addition to Spooner, Ohio State had two others alums in Sochi - forwards Minttu Tuominen and Emma Terho (Laaksonen) who played on Team Finland.
Minnesota State has two alums at the Games. Nina Tikkinen played for the Finnish team and fellow alum Emilia Andersson is on the Swedish tea which is still hoping for a bronze medal.
WCHA: 16 Current and Former Players to Go for Gold in 2014 Winter Olympics
Gopher Olympian Photo Gallery
DONATE TO AMPLATZ AND UNLIMITED DANCE MARATHON
The Gopher Athletics department held a special ceremony at the Feb. 8 game at Ridder Arena. The Gophers welcomed back one of their former hockey players Jenelle (Philipczyk) Kelley and her husband, Ben, at the game against Bemidiji State. Jenelle and Ben's daughter, Lilah, who is two years old, is battling a rare form of nervous system cancer (neuroblastoma). Lilah's aunt, Jenessa Philipczyk, is a member of the Beaver hockey team as the two teams combined to raise awareness towards cancer. In a Gold Out celebration, funds were raised for Unlimited and the Amplatz Chilren's Hospital, where Lilah has been a recent patient.
The Big Ten Match Play..."One of the events I remember from
my years in college golf." "Concession Golf Club is the hardest track I have
ever played." "Erik van Rooyen beats Luke Guthrie on the final hole to secure
the team victory for Minnesota." Those are just some of the quotes and
commentary that have come from seeing the Big Ten put together the finest
conference match play tournament in college golf. With the NCAA Championship moving to match play
to determine the national champion, our conference has taken the right steps in
preparing our players for the biggest stage in college golf.
We arrived at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., on
Wednesday. Being last to arrive at the
airport, first to arrive at the course at 6:30 a.m. the following day helped
set the stage in the minds of our players that Gopher Golf was here to take the
necessary steps to be ready to compete against the best teams in the Big
Ten. Concession Golf Club is known around
the country for having one of the highest course ratings (76.2). It boasts extremely undulated putting
surfaces, tight fairways in spots guarded on both sides by well-placed
bunkering and water hazards. Not to mention
the visually intimidating tee shots that test a player's ability to pick the
correct club from a wide variety of tee boxes.
All of these course attributes make our event special and will draw TV
viewers from all over the country on March 15 at 4:30 pm CST to watch the debut
of the 2014 Big Ten Match Play on the Big Ten Network.
Day 1 kicked off with our first round matchup against the
10th-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions. Senior Jon Trasamar (Blue Earth, Minn.) got the
action started in a big way with his convincing 7&5 victory that included a
bogey-free round! Not to be outdone, the
No. 1 freshman in the Big Ten, Jose Mendez (San Jose, Costa Rica), finished JD
Dornes off with a 30-foot uphill putt from the fringe on his 13th hole of the
day to notch a 6&5 win for our team.
With five players competing for each team, the goal is to win at least three
points to move on to the next round.
2013 Minnesota State Open champion and sophomore Jon DuToit (Chaska,
Minn.) was able to win a hard-fought match, 3&1, only six days after coming
back from an illness. His stamina was
tested but he withstood that test with his patented straight driving of the
golf ball and accurate iron shots. Our
other victor from the morning match was our longest player on the team, senior Alex
Gaugert (Lake Geneva, Wis.). The lone
defeat came from junior Tyler Lowenstein (Plymouth, Minn.), who was beaten by a
hot putter in Xander MacDonald-Smith.
The first round victory set up a rematch from the 2012 Big Ten Match
Play against Purdue University, when we were able to win the tiebreak to gain
an entry in the championship match.
Purdue is a very different team this year with a new
coach, Rob Bradley, and multiple new additions to their team. The Boilermakers drive it very long and
straight, which proved to be too much for our team as they wore us down for a
4.5-0.5 match total. The difference on
paper was big but those in attendance saw a determined Minnesota team battle
back from a large front nine deficit to square up the match with four holes to
play. With four matches hanging in the
balance at 1 up, 1 down and two tied, it was anyone's game. Jose was beaten on the final hole by three-time
All-Big Ten and two-time All-American Adam Schenk with a 9-foot putt. Jon DuToit would lose two of his final four
holes, and Jon Trasamar was unable to find a hot putter in the last four
The one bright spot at the end of
the round was Matt Rachey (Waconia, Minn.).
One of our four current freshmen, Matt battled hard all day in the fifth
spot to secure a half point. Although
the drama of this match and the 36 holes of walking wore our team down after
Day 1, I was thrilled knowing that we will never quit. The will and determination instilled in our
players matches any other team and this attitude proved vital heading into
another long day on Saturday, Feb. 15.
You can cut the tension on Day 2 of the Big Ten Match
Play. Teams filled with veterans and
underclassmen all got a taste of the competition on Day 1, which always leads
to spirited matches. Day 2 certainly did
not disappoint for Gopher Golf. We found
ourselves matched up against Illinois.
The No. 6 team in the nation was upset in the afternoon quarterfinal
match by an upstart Michigan Wolverines squad.
I can't tell you how many times I heard, "Sorry you have to play
Illinois after their first loss in the Big Ten Match Play in two years." Unfazed as we walked the final nine holes
with them tied at the 2013 Big Ten Championship at French Lick Resort in
Indiana, our team was ready for the challenge.
The match of the day was certainly Jon DuToit
vs. Thomas Detry, the No. 17-ranked amateur in the world from Belgium. The first 17 holes couldn't decide the match
so the next 10 minutes was epic. DuToit,
with 7-iron in hand from 172 yards, would hit the shot of the tournament. The high fade to a back right pin landed 3
feet short, lipped out and rolled 4 feet beyond the pin. He would make the putt sending the crowd into
a frenzy that the upset had happened. We
beat Illinois, who had beaten us by 50 shots in the fall season at the Wolf Run
Intercollegiate. The resiliency, work
ethic and maturity had shown through in our latest battle, which will certainly
set the stage for a rematch in the 2014 Big Ten Championship.
The match versus Illinois certainly will lift our
national ranking but business was still not completed for the day. The Indiana Hoosiers, fresh off a big win
against The Ohio StateJ,
were ready for us on the 10th tee at 1:45 pm.
The wind had subsided and Matt Rachey led us off. Tyler Lowenstein, Jon Trasamar, Jose Mendez
and Alex Gaugert would round out the lineup, with DuToit finished for the
weekend. Whether four rounds of golf under
our belt was the key or not, the start in our final match proved to be key in
winning the fifth-place match for our squad.
Gaugert played tough to secure his second win in his three-year career
at the Big Ten Match Play. Trasamar
ended his career at the Big Ten Match Play with a stellar 9-5 record helping on
Day 2 with a convincing 3&2 win that found him under par the entire
I would like to say this match
had no drama, but it wouldn't be the Big Ten Match Play if it didn't. Rachey unfortunately lost four of his final five
holes to lose 1 up to a freshman standout, Will Seger. Lowenstein was in cruise control but lost his
final four holes to lose 1 up. Our golf
team exemplifies pride though. Mendez
couldn't get much going through eight holes in his match against two- time All-American
David Mills. Over the final 11 holes, Jose
would play the inspired golf that has helped him earn the "Athlete of the Year"
award in 2013 for the entire country of Costa Rica. He squared the match up with a birdie on the
17th hole, followed by a halve on the 18th to propel our Gophers into a
tiebreak win to finish the competition.
The fifth-place finish, going 3-1 in our matches,
certainly doesn't tell the entire story of where we have come from in the last three
years. I strongly feel like we have one
of the top three teams in the league and will now contend against any field we
face at any tournament the remainder of the year. With another strong freshman class arriving
on campus in September of 2014, you should all look to get more involved in our
program in the future. If you would like
to see all individual match scores from the 2014 Big Ten Match play, read the
gophersports.com recaps from Friday and Saturday.
Follow us on golfstat.com March 3-4 at the Del Walker
Classic played at Virginia CC, close to the campus of Long Beach State
University. Qualifying will be held this
weekend at Desert Mountain Golf Club to determine the five players who will
represent the Maroon and Gold against the majority of the PAC-12 Conference in
early March. I will be updating the blog
after the Del Walker so stay on the inside of Gopher Golf by checking our web
page each time you have a free minute.
Until then, safe travels to golf destinations!
Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!
The University of Minnesota will be well represented as six
student-athletes head to Colorado Springs, Colo., to compete at the USA Women's
National Team Open Tryout, Feb. 21-23. Held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center
(OTC), the Gopher contingent consists of Erica Handley, Adrianna Nora, Katie
Schau, Hannah Tapp, Paige Tapp and Sarah Wilhite.
The tryouts begin on Friday, Feb. 21 until 11 a.m., Sunday,
Feb. 23. The process will be used primarily to identify prospective athletes
for the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team. Athletes not invited to
participate with the National Team may be invited to attend a second tryout as
part of the U.S. Collegiate National Teams program (formerly U.S. Women's
Senior A2 Teams).
USA Volleyball will have one U.S. Collegiate National Team
of 12 athletes and two coaches travel to China June 13-27, 2014, for a series
of training sessions and matches in conjunction with a separate team
representing the PAC 12 Conference.
The second option for the selected U.S. Collegiate National
Team is training and participation at the 2014 USA Volleyball Girls' Junior
National Championships (GJNC) held in Minneapolis. A projected 36 athletes will
be invited to participate in the program with training beginning on June 22,
2014, followed by the competition portion June 26-30. U.S. Collegiate National
Teams will compete against each other while serving as inspiration for junior
athletes competing in the GJNC on what the next level of competition is like in
Good luck to all Gopher participants!
Catch up on all the news around around Gopher Hockey as No. 2 Minnesota prepares for a Big Ten Conference series against No. 10/11 Michigan this weekend at Mariucci Arena.
Reminder, Friday's series opener with the Wolverines is set for 8:04 p.m. CT on the Big Ten Network (Dan Kelly, Ben Clymer, Fred Pletsch) while Saturday's finale is slated for a 7:10 p.m. puck drop on FOX Sports North (Doug McLeod, Ben Clymer, Kevin Gorg). Both games will also be streamed on BTN2Go.com. Radio broadcasts for both games will be on the Gopher Radio Network and flagship station 1500 ESPN (Wally Shaver, Frank Mazzocco).
Let's Play Hockey newspaper has announced the five finalists for the 19th annual Ms. Hockey Award, presented to the top senior girls' high school hockey player in Minnesota. Three future Gophers are among the top five candidates for the 2014 award: Minnetonka defenseman Sydney Baldwin, Benilde-St. Margaret's forward Kelly Pannek and Hopkins forward Nina Rodgers.
Each of the finalists has committed to a Division I women's hockey program as the top five also includes Irondale forward Sam Donovan (Brown) and Red Wing forward Nicole Schammel (Minnesota State). The five honorees have scored an average of 34 goals and 36 assists this season and have helped their respective teams to top 10 rankings.
In addition to their on-ice performance, all five finalists are standouts in the classroom as they check in with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.66.
The 2014 Ms. Hockey Award winner will be named at the Ms. Hockey Awards Banquet on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 11:30 a.m., at the RiverCentre in St. Paul. The award is sponsored by Let's Play Hockey, the Minnesota Wild and Shakopee Chevrolet. Fox 9's Dawn Mitchell will serve as the banquet emcee, while Fox Sports North's Jamie Hersch will be the keynote speaker. To order tickets to the Ms. Hockey Banquet, call Let's Play Hockey at 612-729-0023.
In addition to on-ice talent, criteria for the Let's Play Hockey Ms. Hockey Award include academics, community/extracurricular activities, citizenship and coachability.