GWH Blog: Hockey Earns Honors at Golden Goldys

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Last evening, the University of Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics department recognized both the athletic and academic achievements by honoring its 750 student-athletes in a Golden Goldys/Scholar Athlete banquet. The event marked the sixth year of the Golden Goldys and the 23rd year of the Scholar Athlete banquet.

Women's hockey walked away with the best women's team, best women's coach (Brad Frost) and the Female Athlete of the Year and Breakthrough Athlete of the Year (Megan Bozek).

Bozek became a first-team All-American in 2012, and was a first-team All-WCHA selection this season. Jumping from 23 points scored as a sophomore, Bozek tallied 42 points and ranked second in the nation in scoring by a defenseman.

Head coach Brad Frost led the Gophers to their first national championship and first WCHA tournament title since 2005, earning him the award for best women's team coach. Frost and his team had two All-Americans and five players named All-WCHA honors. Along with the national title, the Gophers won the WCHA tournament championship

Gopher women's hockey posted a 34-5-2 overall record and 21-5-2 in WCHA play. With NCAA and WCHA Final Face-off titles in 2012, the team was honored at the Golden Goldys as the best women's team.

The top academic awards were also handed out at the banquet, including the Outstanding Achievement Award. It is presented to one male and one female student-athlete who are accomplished in the four areas emphasized by the NCAA Student-Athlete Affairs Program:  Academic, Athletics, Leadership, and Volunteerism. Senior defenseman Anne Schleper earned the Outstanding Achievement award for the women this year.

For a full list of the Golden Goldys winners and nominees in each category, as well as a photo gallery from the awards banquet, click here.

GWH Blog: World Championships Wrap Up

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The 2012 IIHF Women's World Championship wrapped up on Saturday with Canada earning a 5-4 victory over the U.S. in overtime to win the gold medal. In the bronze medal game, Switzerland won 6-2 over Finland. A highlight video from the championship game between the U.S. and Canada is here.

In the gold medal game, Canada took a 1-0 lead with a goal 7:52 into the first period, but the U.S. evened it up five minutes later as Kendall Coyne scored. Gopher Amanda Kessel had an assist on the goal.

Canada racked up two more goals early in the second period, building a 3-1 lead. Brianna Decker cut the lead to one with a goal 16:43 into the second, with another Gopher player getting a point as Megan Bozek was credited with an assist on Decker's goal. Former Gopher Gigi Marvin evened the score at 3-3 with a goal in the final two minutes of the second period.

Marvin scored again less than three minutes into the third period, giving Team USA its first lead of the game. Both of Marvin's goals came on the power play. The U.S. took a penalty in the final minutes of the game, and Canada took advantage, getting a power play goal with under three minutes remaining in regulation. The score was tied at 4-4 as the third period ended, forcing overtime. Caroline Ouelette found the net for Canada just a minute and 50 seconds into overtime, giving the Canadians a 5-4 victory.

Canada had advanced to the championship game by defeating Finland 5-1 in the semifinals, while the U.S. defeated Switzerland 10-0 in the semifinal round.

In the bronze medal game, Finland took a 1-0 lead early in the game, and went ahead 2-1 in the first period, but the Swiss evened the score at 2-2 with just one second on the clock in the opening period. Switzerland scored one goal in the second period, and scored three more times in the third period to win 6-2. The World Championship third-place finish is the best ever for Switzerland.

Amanda Kessel finished as the fourth-leading scorer in the tournament with three goals and seven assists for 10 points in five games played. Gigi Marvin had three goals and six assists for nine points, and was the top-scoring defenseman in the tournament. Megan Bozek had two goals and three assists for five points, and was the third-highest scoring defenseman in the tournament behind Marvin and Switzerland's Julia Marty. Bozek had a plus/minus rating of +8. Anne Schleper had a plus/minus rating of +9 for the tournament, which tied her for third place  and the top rating among defensemen.

The coaches named the three best players for each team, and Gopher goalie Noora Raty was named one of Finland's best players. Raty was also named the Best Player of the Game in Finland's 3-2 loss to Canada in the preliminary round, and in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Sweden.
darwitz-natalie.jpgUSA Hockey will honor the first six members of its new 200 Club during the second intermission of tomorrow night's (April 14) gold-medal game of the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship at Gutterson Fieldhouse. The Club recognizes players who have played at least 200 games for the U.S. Women's National Team.

The initial group of honorees includes alumni Natalie Darwitz, who was a Golden Gopher player from 2003-05 and an assistant coach at Minnesota from 2008-11. Darwitz is a three-time Olympian, and competed in eight IIHF Women's World Championships. In 13 years with the U.S. Women's National Team Program, she recorded 245 points (117-128), second all-time in the program.

The other players being honored in the initial class are Team USA alumni Cammi Granato, Katie King and Angela Ruggiero, and current players Julie Chu and Jenny Potter.

In IIHF play today, Canada faces off against Finland in the first semifinal, while the U.S. plays Switzerland in the other semifinal game. Team USA's game, which starts at 6 p.m. central, will be shown online at FASThockey.com. There's a game preview from USA Hockey here. Live stats during the game are available on the IIHF website here.

Tomorrow's championship game will be at 6 p.m. central, and will be televised on Universal Sports (available in the Twin Cities through DISH Network or DIRECTV).

GWH Blog: World Championships Update

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After two days of play in the IIHF Women's Hockey World Championships, Team USA has a 2-0 record, defeating Canada 9-2 and winning 9-0 over Russia.

On Saturday, the Americans played their first World Championships game, winning 9-2 over Canada. Team USA got off to an amazing start, taking a 5-0 lead in the first five and a half minutes of play. Gopher players scoring points in the game were defenseman Megan Bozek who had an assist, and former Gopher Gigi Marvin, also a defenseman, who had two assists in the game. USA Hockey's full game recap can be read here. Postgame video is available here.

On Sunday, Team USA got a 9-0 shutout over Russia. Gopher sophomore Amanda Kessel had three points in the game, including two goals and an assist. Megan Bozek had two points with a goal and an assist. The Americans had a 54-5 advantage in shots in the game. A full game recap from USA Hockey is available here. Postgame video reaction from the game is available here.

Team Finland is 1-1 after its first two games, winning 5-4 against Russia in its first game before falling 3-2 to Canada in its second game. Gopher defenseman Mira Jalosuo played in both games for the Finns, and has a plus/minus rating of +1 after two games, one of four players on her team with a positive +/- rating. Goalie Noora Raty did not play in the game against Russia, but played against Canada. Raty had 40 saves and a 93.0 save percentage in the game, and was named Finland's Best Player of the Game. A game recap of the win over Russia is available here. A recap of the Finns' game against Canada is here.

Today is an off day at the World Championships, with the preliminary round finishing up tomorrow. On Tuesday, the U.S. and Finland square off at 7 p.m. A live video webcast of the game will be available on UniversalSports.com. More video from the tournament is available on the IIHF YouTube channel.

GWH Blog: Team USA wins 7-0 over Finland

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Team USA played in its final exhibition game leading up to the 2012 IIHF Women's Hockey World Championships. Last night, the U.S. and Finland faced off in Lake Placid, N.Y., with Team USA coming out on top 7-0. Gopher Megan Bozek had two points in the game, as did former Gopher Gigi Marvin.

Gigi Marvin scored just over two minutes into the game, getting the goal that would prove to be the gamewinner. The goal was the only one of the first period.

Team USA scored its second goal just 57 seconds into the second period, as Brianna Decker found the net, assisted by Megan Bozek. Bozek got a goal of her own before the period was up, scoring with 3:22 remaining in the period to put Team USA ahead 4-0.

Gigi Marvin added a second point when she assisted on Brianna Decker's goal with just seven seconds remaining in the game to bring the score to 7-0.

Gopher goalie Noora Raty did not play for Finland last night, Meeri Raisanen played in net for the Finns.

Amanda Kessel played on Team USA's second line with Brianna Decker and Kendall Coyne. Gopher recruit Hannah Brandt centered the fourth line. Gigi Marvin was paired with Kacey Bellamy on defense, while Minnesota teammates Anne Schleper and Megan Bozek were paired together.

For a full game recap, visit usahockey.com.

The World Championship tournament begins on Saturday, and Team USA has a tough opponent in its first game, facing Canada at 7 p.m. on April 7. Finland will face off against Russia in its first game of the tournament, game time is 3 p.m. on April 7.

Here's another tidbit from USA Hockey today, a video of Amanda Kessel and Erica Lawler talking about one of Kessel's pregame rituals. View the video here. We know the ritual brings good luck ... we found this photo from the NCAA championship game:

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GWH Blog: National Champions visit State Capitol

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Go Gophers! Gopher women's hockey team
Go Gophers!
The Gophers visited the State Capitol on Tuesday.
Go Gophers!
The Gopher women's hockey team had the chance to visit the legislative session at the Minnesota State Capitol yesterday afternoon. Senior captains Sarah Erickson and Jen Schoullis, along with coach Brad Frost, were able to go down on the house floor, with NCAA trophy in tow. The rest of the team sat in the balcony. With gavel in hand, Erickson signaled the start of the day's session, and after the opening prayer, she led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Gophers were first up on the agenda. Rep. Phyllis Kahn introduced a resolution to commend the Gopher women's hockey team on their NCAA Championship title. The house responded with a standing ovation for the Gophers.

View photos from the State Capitol visit here.

There are some video clips here and here.

THIS JUST IN: Going to the Minnesota Wild game Thursday night against the Calgary Flames? The Gophers will be making an appearance there too! More details to follow...

GWH Blog: Gophers, Gophers, Everywhere!

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GWH Blog: National Champions Return to Ridder Arena

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The Gopher women's hockey team has returned home to Minneapolis, and was welcomed by fans and media today. The team bus arrived from Duluth shortly after 1:00. Senior captains Sarah Erickson and Jen Schoullis were the first off the bus, with the national championship trophy carried by Sarah Erickson.

Photo gallery from the welcome home celebration.
Go Gophers! Gophers
Go Gophers!
Sarah Erickson hoists the national championship trophy Monday.
Go Gophers!

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has declared March 20, 2012 Gopher Women's Hockey National Champions Day.  See the proclamation here.

In case you missed any of the local news coverage of the NCAA title win, check out these links:

Gophers in NCAA title (MN Daily)

Gophers are champs again by combining toughness, skill (Star Tribune)

Gopher goalie saves her best for last (Star Tribune)

Golden girls: Noora Räty lifts Gophers women to NCAA hockey title (Pioneer Press)

Gophers win NCAA hockey title (KARE 11)

Minnesota women's hockey wins national title (Fox 9)

Minnesota bests Wisconsin for women's DI championship (USCHO.com)

Gophers top Badgers in Frozen Four championship (Duluth News Tribune)

These Gophers are Golden (NCAA.com - full replay of the game in case you missed it!)

Play of a lifetime (NCAA.com)

Quality helps build the game (NCAA.com)

Badgers run into immovable force in NCAA title game (Wisconsin State Journal)

Badgers suffer hockey heartbreak (The Badger Herald)

GWH Blog: Gophers in the News

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Here are some articles/recaps from last weekend's 5-1 win over North Dakota in the NCAA Quarterfinals:

Gophers punch ticket to Frozen Four (Star Tribune)

Women gain Frozen Four by whipping North Dakota (Pioneer Press)

Gophers punch ticket to Frozen Four (Minnesota Daily)

Sioux season comes to an end at hands of Gophers (Grand Forks Herald)

Räty backstops Minnesota back to Frozen Four with win over North Dakota (USCHO.com)

Gophers defeat North Dakota, move on to Frozen Four (examiner.com)


GWH Blog: WCHA Tournament Pairings Set

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With the conclusion of the WCHA regular season last weekend, the first round of the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs, a best-of-three series format, get underway next Friday (Feb. 24) at No. 1 tournament seed Wisconsin, No. 2 seed Minnesota, No. 3 seed North Dakota and No. 4 seed Minnesota Duluth. Game two of each series will be played on Saturday (Feb. 25) while any game threes, if necessary, will be contested on Sunday (Feb. 26).

The games at Ridder Arena will be played at 7:07 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 24), 4:07 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 25), and if a third game is needed, it will be played at 4:07 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 26). Tickets are available here.


WCHA regular season champion Wisconsin (29-3-2) will host No. 8 seed Minnesota State (7-26-1) at Eagle's Nest in Verona, Wis. Regular season runner-up Minnesota (27-5-2) will entertain No. 7 St. Cloud State (5-27-2) at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, North Dakota (20-10-3) will host No. 6 Bemidji State (17-15-3) at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, and Minnesota Duluth (18-13-1) will go up against No. 5 Ohio State (16-14-4) at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth.

Following next week's four first-round playoff series, the four winners will advance to the 2012 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF championship, set for March 2-3 at AMSOIL Arena.

The full press release from the WCHA is available here

Click here for WCHA Standings.