Future Gopher Baldwin Named 2014 Ms. Hockey

Let's Play Hockey newspaper announced that future Golden Gopher Sydney Baldwin, a senior defenseman on the Minnetonka High School girls' hockey team, was named the winner of the 19th annual Ms. Hockey Award today at the annual Ms. Hockey Awards Banquet. The award, presented to the top girls' high school hockey player in Minnesota, is based on the following criteria: academics, community/extracurricular activities, citizenship, coachability and, of course, on-ice performance.

The career leading scorer for defensemen at Minnetonka, Baldwin becomes the first blueliner to be named Ms. Hockey since South St. Paul's Ashley Albrecht in 2002. Averaging over 30 minutes per game this season, Baldwin owned totals of 12-19--31 and helped Minnetonka to an unprecedented three consecutive state championships during her career. She captained the Skippers to the No. 5 ranking in Class AA this season to go along with a 19-6-2 overall record.

Baldwin had points in 19 of her 27 games this season, including nine multi-point contests. She was a three-time all-conference and all-state honoree for the Skippers. Baldwin was also a member of the silver medal-winning U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team at the 2013 IIHF World U18 Championship and will represent Team USA again this March.

Baldwin is set to continue her hockey career with the Gophers and will join Minnesota for the 2014-15 season.

"Sydney Baldwin is like Bobby Orr," Minnetonka head coach Eric Johnson said. "She's the best defensive and offensive player on the ice and the most humble, team-first player off the ice. Syd is the best all-around skater we have ever seen at Minnetonka. She's smooth, fast and strong, while making it look effortless as she glides by opponents. Her puck-handling, passing and shot are even more impressive than her skating ability."

Away from hockey, Baldwin owns a 3.45 GPA and volunteers her time with the DinoMights Inner City Youth Hockey Program. She has also served as a Big Sister with Minnetonka youth hockey teams. In addition to hockey, Baldwin was a two-time member of the Skipper tennis team, captaining the squad to a second-place finish in the 2012 state tournament.

"Sydney is a giver," Johnson said. "She has volunteered over 100 hours in the Minnetonka Youth Hockey Association, attending youth girls' practices, games, study halls and pizza parties. She cares about the kids and about being a good role model. In addition to her academic and athletic commitments, she works four part-time jobs throughout the year. She understands that success is earned through hard work and expects nothing to be given to her."

Two other future Gophers were among the finalists for Ms. Hockey in Kelly Pannek of Benilde-St. Margaret's and Nina Rodgers of Hopkins. Sam Donovan of Irondale and Nicole Schammel of Red Wing rounded out the top five finalists.

Past winners include Dani Cameranesi of Blake (2013), Hannah Brandt of Hill-Murray (2012), Karley Sylvester of Warroad (2011), Bethany Brausen of Roseville (2010) Becky Kortum of Hopkins (2009), Sarah Erickson of Bemidji (2008), Katharine Chute of Blake (2007), Allie Thunstrom of North St. Paul (2006), Gigi Marvin of Warroad (2005), Erica McKenzie of Hastings (2004), Andrea Nichols of Hibbing/Chisholm (2003), Ashley Albrecht of South St. Paul (2002), Renee Curtin of Roseville (2001), Krissy Wendell of Park Center (2000), Ronda Curtin of Roseville (1999), Laura Slominski of Burnsville (1998), Annamarie Holmes of Apple Valley (1997) and Winny Brodt of Roseville (1996).

The 19th annual award, selected based on votes from a panel of high school coaches and Division I and III college coaches from Minnesota and Wisconsin, is sponsored by Let's Play Hockey, the Minnesota Wild and Shakopee Chevrolet.

Read more:
Let's Play Hockey: Sydney Baldwin of Minnetonka named Ms. Hockey

Del Walker Qualifying

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The Minnesota men's golf team will play in the Del Walker Classic in Long Beach, Calif., on Monday, March 3 and Tuesday, March 4. The Gophers held a qualifying tournament at Desert Mountain's Cochise Course and Outlaw Course in Scottsdale, Ariz. Both courses have a par of 72.

Jose Mendez was exempt from qualifying. There will be three automatic qualifiers and one coaches' pick. Alex Gaugert led the way at the Cochise Course with a scorching 8-under 64, while Jon Trasamar's even-par 72 was the team's best score at the Outlaw Course.

Below are the scores from both rounds.

Alex Gaugert 64-75--139 (-5)
Jon Trasamar 72-72--144 (E)
Jose Mendez 71-75--146 (+2)
Matt Rachey 74-74--148 (+4)
Jon DuToit 72-77--149 (+5)
Tyler Lowenstein 78-79--157 (+13)
Grady Meyer 82-84--166 (+22)

The travel team for the Del Walker Classic, announced Wednesday, will be Mendez, DuToit, Gaugert, Trasamar and Rachey.

Gophers in the News: Olympics Recap, UMD Preview

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

The Gold Standard: Inside Gophers Women's Hockey

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."

NHL: Catching Up with Nick Bjugstad

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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.

Unlimited Update: Blog from Hawthorne

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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.

We are 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. 

We 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

Thanks for your support and we'll see you in 3 days.

DONATE TO UNLIMITED DANCE MARATHON

Sixteen WCHA Players to Go for Gold

Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!
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
Go Gophers!

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 R├Ąty, 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.

Read more:
WCHA: 16 Current and Former Players to Go for Gold in 2014 Winter Olympics
Gopher Olympian Photo Gallery

Gophers and Beavers Join for Worthy Cause

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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.

Gophers 3-1 at 2014 Big Ten Match Play

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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.  

Go Gophers! Jon DuToit
Go Gophers!
Jon DuToit
Go Gophers!

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 holes.  

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 round.  

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!

John Carlson

Gopher Connections Set to Compete in USA Open Tryouts

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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 college.

Good luck to all Gopher participants!