Future Gophers Up for Ms. Hockey Award

Three future Gopher women's hockey players have been named semifinalists for the 2014 Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award. Let's Play Hockey newspaper announced that Sydney Baldwin, Kelly Pannek and Nina Rodgers are among the 10 semifinalists for annual award, which will be presented to the top senior girls' high school hockey player in Minnesota.

All 10 players named as semifinalists are committed to a Division I school for next season, including six in the WCHA. The semifinalists have scored an average of 24 goals and 26 assists this season for their respective teams. All 10 players have been bound to the textbooks for the past several years as they check in with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.7.

The five finalists for the Ms. Hockey Award will be named in the Feb. 13 edition of Let's Play Hockey with the winner announced at the Ms. Hockey Awards Banquet on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 11:30 a.m., at the St. Paul RiverCentre.

The 10 semifinalists for the Let's Play Hockey Senior Goalie of the Year Award were also announced this week. The five finalists for the Senior Goalie of the Year Award will be named in the Feb. 6 edition of Let's Play Hockey. Both awards are sponsored by Let's Play Hockey, the Minnesota Wild and Shakopee Chevrolet.

In addition to on-ice talent, criteria for the Ms. Hockey Award include academics, community/extracurricular activities, citizenship and coachability.

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

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Let's Play Hockey: 2014 Ms. Hockey, Senior Goalie semifinalists announced

Gophers Alum to Compete at NYRR Millrose Games

Gophers alumna Gabriele (Anderson) Grunewald, the fourth-fastest American at 1500 meters in 2013, is slated to compete in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 15, it was announced by New York Road Runners and the Armory Foundation this week.

Headlining the women's field are teenage track sensation Mary Cain and three-time USA champion Morgan Uceny. In addition to Grunewald, the women's field also includes two-time USA steeplechase champion, Emma Coburn; the 1500-meter bronze medalist at the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships, Cory McGee; Villanova University star, Emily Lipari; and Alexa Efraimson, the youngest Wanamaker Mile entrant at age 16 and the winner of the girls' race at the 2013 Nike Cross Nationals. The Millrose Games women's record for the mile is 4:21.45, run by Rumania's Doina Melinte in 1988.

The NYRR Millrose Games will be presented live on NBCSN from 2-4 p.m. CT. Fans will have the chance to watch the famed Wanamaker Miles, a world-class women's 800-meter race, and much more.

Most recently, Grunewald finished second in her first race of the 2014 season at the Sainsbury's Glasgow International meet last weekend. Grunewald was second in the 1,500-meter run in 4:12.76. Kenya's Hellen Obiri won the race in 4:10.20. Grunewald, then Anderson, wrapped up her Gopher running career as an All-American and the 1,500-meters runner-up at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

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Team USA Minnesota
World Championships Medalist Matthew Centrowitz and Teenage Track Sensation Mary Cain to headline NYRR Wanamaker Mile Fields

Gophers in the News: UND, Olympics Preview

Catch up on Gopher women's hockey in the news this week. The media recapped Minnesota's sweep over St. Cloud State last weekend and previewed this weekend's series at North Dakota, along with previewing the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Star Tribune: U women's hockey wins on Leveille's third consecutive shutout
Jan. 25, 2014

Pioneer Press: Meghan Lorence scores twice in 3-0 win over St. Cloud State
Jan. 25, 2014

Star Tribune: Gophers women's hockey sweeps St. Cloud State
Jan. 25, 2014

Minnesota Daily: Minnesota sweeps SCSU amid penalties
Jan. 27, 2014

USCHO: Lorence scores twice as Minnesota shuts out St. Cloud State
Jan. 24, 2014

GopherSports: Gophers Volunteer with Special Olympics
Jan. 28, 2014

Minnesota Daily: Gophers shoot to avenge loss to UND
Jan. 30, 2014

Star Tribune: 'Extra fire' on both sides of Gophers-UND women's hockey rivalry
Jan. 31, 2014

Grand Forks Herald: UND to host Minnesota in rivalry game this weekend
Jan. 31, 2014

Let's Play Hockey: 2014 Ms. Hockey, Senior Goalie semifinalists announced
Jan. 30, 2014

New York Times: In Rinks Beyond Sochi, a Chance for Players Left Behind
Jan. 31, 2014

Check out in-depth stories on Rachel Ramsey and Hannah Brandt that appeared this week.

Minnesota Daily: Ramsey carries the torch
Jan. 28, 2014

Kaz Watch: Hannah Brandt stays golden as Gophers sophomore
Jan. 28, 2014

The pre-Olympics coverage includes plenty of ties to Gopher women's hockey, too.

NCAA.com: Putting School On Hold To Chase Gold
Jan. 28, 2014

NBC Olympics: Women's Olympic hockey tournament preview
Jan. 28, 2014

NBC Olympics: U.S., Canadian women's Olympic teams top contenders for gold in Sochi
Jan. 28, 2014

NBC Olympics: Team USA Class of 2014 Yearbook

NBC Sports: On The Ice With The U.S. Women's Hockey Team (Part 1)
Jan. 27, 2014

Women's Hockey Life: Lee Stecklein Towers Over the Competition as She Earns Spot on Ambitious US Squad
Jan. 22, 2014

Gopher Sports Update: U.S. Olympian Lee Stecklein
Jan. 28, 2014

USA Hockey: Olympians Donate 300 Total Sets of OneGoal Hockey Equipment to Youth Hockey Associations
Jan. 29, 2014

Minnesota Hockey Magazine: Gopher Olympians donate 60 sets of youth hockey equipment
Jan. 29, 2014

KARE11: Road To Sochi: U.S. women's hockey team goes for gold
Jan. 29, 2014

Gophers Meet the Media: Michigan State

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The No. 1 Gophers will welcome Michigan State to Mariucci Arena this weekend for a two-game set. The series kicks off Minnesota's 12-game stretch against Big Ten opponents to close out the regular season. Select Gopher players and head coach Don Lucia met with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the showdown with the Spartans and events of the past couple weeks.

The Gophers took four of a possible six points from the Spartans during a road trip in early December. 

"They are a good defensive team. (Goalie Jake Hildebrand) is very good," coach Lucia said. The Spartans dropped a pair of game last weekend to their archrival Michigan.

The last three weeks offered unique quirks with a Monday game, an outdoor game, and a trophy. 

"It was pretty crazy. It was a lot of new experiences, even for the guys who have been here for a few years," said forward Travis Boyd. "It was fun, but at the same time it was a little hectic."

This week's return to Mariucci means the Gophers can fall back into a routine. Minnesota recently completed a stretch of four games at four different venues.

"It is good to be at home again. We are looking forward to the Big Ten rivalries picking up again," said defenseman Mike Reilly.

The non-conference portion of the Gophers schedule is now complete with Minnesota posting an 11-2-3 record out of conference. The Gophers will face strictly Big Ten opposition prior to the NCAA postseason. 

"(The schedule) is starting to ramp up now," Lucia said. "We have not seen Michigan yet, we have to go to Madison, and we have a very difficult finish at Ohio State and at Michigan."

Minnesota is currently riding a 12-game unbeaten streak -- the longest active unbeaten streak in the nation -- but the players know their recent hockey hasn't been their best. 

"We have to give a ton of credit to Adam Wilcox for this past weekend," Reilly said. "We have to pick it up (going forward) and start focusing a little bit better."

The Gophers will be forced to play with five defensemen on Friday. Michael Brodzinski will be out a few weeks with a lower-body injury and Ben Marshall must miss out on Friday's action after receiving his third game misconduct of the year in the title tilt of the North Star College Cup. Marshall is eligible to return to the Gopher lineup on Saturday. Tom Serratore also sustained a lower-body injury on Saturday and will be sidelined a few weeks.

Friday's puck drop is at 8 p.m. CT and will be shown live on BTN. Saturday's contest begins at 7 p.m. CT and will be shown live on FSN Plus. Fans can listen to Wally Shaver and Frank Mazzocco call both games this weekend on 1500 ESPN.

-Story by University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

Gophers Clinch WCHA Home Ice

With a month remaining in the regular season, Minnesota and Wisconsin both have clinched home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs after recording league sweeps last weekend. Meanwhile, North Dakota, which collected five of six points on Jan. 24-25, needs just one more point to guarantee that it will finish in the top four and host a first round league playoff series.

Minnesota (24-1-1, 18-1-1-0 WCHA, 55 points) remains in the league lead, one point ahead of Wisconsin (21-3-2, 17-3-2-1 WCHA, 54 points), which has played two more games than the Gophers. North Dakota (16-5-3, 13-3-3-2 WCHA, 44 points) is nine points back but also holds two games at hand on UW and fourth place Minnesota Duluth (12-10-4, 10-8-4-3 WCHA, 37 points). Bemidji State (9-14-3, 6-12-2-1 WCHA, 21 points) holds on to fifth place, but just two points ahead of streaking Ohio State (9-12-5, 4-12-5-2, 19 points) which is unbeaten in five straight games. Minnesota State (9-19-0, 4-18-0-0 WCHA, 12 points) and St. Cloud State (4-20-3, 3-15-2-1 WCHA, 12 points) are tied for seventh place.

The WCHA postseason championship begins with a best-of-three first round Feb. 28-March 2. The four winning teams advance to the 2014 WCHA Final Face-off to square of for the WCHA crown at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn., March 7-8.

The Final Face-off begins with two semifinal games at 4:07 p.m. CT and 7:07 p.m. CT on Friday, March 7. The semifinal winners will then play at 7:07 p.m. CT on Saturday, March 8 in the championship game. The winner of the WCHA Final Face-off receives the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey Tournament.

Minnesota has won the last two WCHA Final Face-off titles, defeating Minnesota Duluth 2-0 in the 2012 title game and topping North Dakota 2-0 to claim the 2013 crown.

Single-game and tournament package tickets for the 2014 WCHA Final Faceo-off are now on sale. Tickets for all Sanford Center events may be purchased at the Sanford Center ticket office, any Ticketmaster retail location, Lueken's Village Foods, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

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WCHA Final Face-off

Video: Rau's Shootout Goal Featured on NCAA Top Plays

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Kyle Rau's backhand, five-hole, shootout goal from Saturday's inaugural North Star College Cup championship game was featured on the NCAA's Top Five Plays of the Week. Check it out: 
Rau, along with fellow junior Seth Amborz, tallied shootout goals after Minnesota and UMD battled to a 4-4 overtime tie on Saturday night. At the other end of the ice, Adam Wilcox turned away both shootout attempts he faced after matching his career best performance with 38 saves in the game. The shootout win was Minnesota's first in four attempts this season. 

The Gophers return to Big Ten action this weekend at home against Michigan State. Friday's opener is set for 8 p.m. (BTN, BTN2Go.com, 1500 ESPN) while Saturday's finale is set for 7 p.m. (FSN+, BTN2Go.com, 1500ESPN.com). 

NHL: Stoa Recalled By Capitals

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Go Gophers! TopTen
Ryan Stoa with the Colorado Avalanche.
Go Gophers!

Former Minnesota All-American Ryan Stoa has been recalled by the Washington Capitals and has joined the team in Buffalo ahead of tonight's game with the Sabres. Stoa is a game-time decision according to the Capitals with tonight's game set for 6:30 p.m. CT on the NBC Sports Network. 

"Ryan's played well down there (with Hershey)," Washington head coach Adam Oates said during today's media availability. "He's a good skater, and we're trying to stay as fast as we can." 

Stoa spent four seasons at the 'U' and totaled 97 career points (47 goals, 50 assists) in 120 games. In his final season with the Gophers (2008-09), Stoa led the WCHA in scoring with 46 points in 36 games and earned First Team All-America and First Team All-WCHA honors. 

The Bloomington, Minn., native was selected 34th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and has appeared in 37 career NHL games with Colorado, registering seven points (four goals, three assists) and 20 penalty minutes.

Stoa, 26, has skated in 36 games with Hershey (AHL) this season, registering 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) and 39 penalty minutes. The forward is one of four former Gophers who have skated for the Bears this season along with Nate Schmidt, Ryan Potulny and Jeff Taffe. Schmidt has also spent time in the NHL with the Capitals this season. Stoa has registered 152 points (75 goals, 77 assists) and 244 penalty minutes in 259 career AHL games with Lake Erie and Hershey.

Stoa would be the 16th former Gopher to skate in the NHL this season joining Keith Ballard (Minnesota), Nick Bjugstad (Florida), Alex Goligoski (Dallas), Erik Haula (Minnesota), Erik Johnson (Colorado), Phil Kessel (Toronto), Nick Leddy (Chicago), Jordan Leopold (St. Louis), Paul Martin (Pittsburgh), Aaron Ness (New York Islanders), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders), Nate Schmidt (Washington), Jordan Schroeder (Vancouver), Thomas Vanek (New York Islanders) and Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg). 

Gophers Volunteer With Special Olympics

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The University of Minnesota women's hockey team was in full force as 14 members of the team volunteered with the Special Olympics at the state poly hockey tournament, Sunday, Jan. 26 in Golden Valley, Minn.

The Gopher contingent of Milica McMillen, Sidney Peters, Amanda Leveille, Kate Flug, Kate Schipper, Hannah Brandt, Dani Cameranesi, Paige Haley, Kelsey Cline, Shyler Sletta, Baylee Gillianders, Sarah Davis, Bethany Brausen and Kelly Terry were in attendance from 12-6. The group interacted with the participants and presented awards during the Special Olympics ceremony.

The Gopher women's hockey team has always had a long-standing tradition of community service. Earlier this month, the team held a teddy bear toss to donate to Toys for Tots, while Feb. 8 game against Bemidiji State, the team will hold a Gold Out as proceeds go towards Amplatz Children's Hospital and Unlimited Dance Marathon.

NHL: Schroeder Scores Two in Return

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In his first NHL game since suffering an injury on Oct. 19, Gophers alum Jordan Schroeder scored both of Vancouver's goals in a 4-2 loss to Edmonton on Monday night.

"Some hockey gods repaid me tonight," Schroeder said. Here's the forward's first goal of the season, followed by his second. 

It was the second two-goal game of Schroeder's young NHL career. His first came back on February 13, 2013 against the Flames - the same night he scored his first NHL goal.

Okposo Tallies Three Points
Much like Schroeder, Kyle Okposo factored into all of his team's goals on Monday in the Islanders's 6-3 loss to Boston. 

Down 3-2 in the second and with two assists already, Okposo tallied his 23rd goal of the year to move into a tie for the team goal lead (Okposo ranks second on the Islanders with 57 points). The Bruins would go on to score three-straight for the win. 

"We came out sluggish... and obviously weren't having a good first 10 minutes," Okposo said. "We controlled the second half of that first period and then the second period I thought we played well. At the end of the day we have to put it all in, bury some chances and clean up a few things in the d-zone."

Martin and Pens Continue Success
Despite recently coming back from injury, Penguins defenseman and future U.S. Olympian Paul Martin logged 21:52 of ice time in Monday's 3-0 win over Buffalo -- second most among Pittsburgh's skaters. The Penguins have won 15 of their last 16 games. 

Goligoski Adds Two Assists
Alex Goligoski tallied a pair of assists as well as four blocks, two hits and logged a game-high 24:39 of ice time in Dallas' 4-3 loss to Erik Johnson and the Colorado Avalanche. Goligoski now has seven assists in the last four games. 

Gophers Make All-Time List at Jack Johnson

A few Gophers have already made their mark in the University of Minnesota's all-time top-10 performer list in just the second week of the indoor track and field season. Three Gophers delivered top-10 performances at the Jack Johnson Classic last weekend: Alex Beckman (60-meter hurdles), Lyndsey Thorpe (weight throw) and Audra Winter (pentathlon).

60-Meter Hurdles
1. Dawn Solberg, 8.58 (2007)
2. Yvette White, 8.72 (1999)
3. Shari Schutz, 8.75 (2005)
4. Liz Woolford, 8.75 (2003)
5. Vanessa Nelson, 8.75 (2004)
6. Nicole Carroll, 8.77 (2008)
7. Neketa Sears, 8.79 (1999)
8. Liz Roehrig, 8.80 (2006)
9. Alex Beckman, 8.81 (2014)
10. Kelly Stalpes, 8.85 (2009)

Weight Throw
1. Liz Alabi, 69-0 3/4, 21.05m (2007)
2. Beth Howard, 64-1 3/4, 19.55m (2000)
3. Aubrey Schmitt, 63-1 1/4, 19.23m (2001)
4. DeAnne Hahn, 62-1, 18.92m (2010)
5. Devin Stanford, 60-1 1/4, 18.32m (2013)
6. Jeri Johnson-Chambers, 57-7 3/4, 17.57m (2013)
7. Caty Dongoske, 56-6 3/4, 17.24m (2011)
8. Sara Clinkenbeard, 56-2 1/2, 17.13m (2003)
9. Lyndsey Thorpe, 55-10 1/2, 17.03m (2014)
10. Jess Stephan, 55-8 1/4, 16.97m (2006)

1. Liz Roehrig, 4,218 (2008)
2. Apasha Blocker, 3,715 (1996)
3. Jacenta Spandl, 3,698 (2005)
4. Polly Oas, 3,675 (1984)
5. Maggie Jaunich, 3,641 (2005)
6. Christine Gulbrandsen, 3,526 (1998)
7. Nikki Schultz, 3,518 (2009)
8. Jess Herauf, 3,516 (2012)
9. Audra Winter, 3,504 (2014)
10. Nicole Murphey, 3,461 (2012)

In addition, Katie Murgic and Cami Gilson improved their ranks among the all-time top-10 Gopher pole vaulters at the season-opening Northwest Open.

Pole Vault
1. Alicia Rue, 14-4 1/2, 4.38m (2010)
2. Samantha Sonnenberg, 14-1 1/4, 4.30m (2010)
3. Becca Pilkerton, 13-7 1/4, 4.15m (2011)
4. Andrea Smith, 13-6 1/4, 4.12m (2008)
T-5. Katie Murgic, 13-1 1/2, 4.00m (2014)
T-5. Cami Gilson, 13-1 1/2, 4.00m (2014)

7. Laura Massey, 13-0 1/4, 3.97m (2008)
T-8. Monica Stearns, 12-10, 3.91m (2003)
T-8. Ashley Nord, 12-10, 3.91m (2007)
10. Erica Findlay, 12-6, 3.81m (2003)

The Gophers travel to Ames, Iowa, for the Bill Bergan Invitational this Friday and Saturday.