The University of Minnesota women's hockey team held its Media Day Tuesday afternoon at Ridder Arena. Head coach Brad Frost was accompanied by team captains Megan Bozek and Bethany Brausen to answer questions from the local media. Below are a few questions highlighting the event along with the video posted above.
COACH FROST: I can't believe the season is here already, but we are very excited and ready for that. We are getting going Friday night against Colgate, and I think it is the first time that we have played them; at least it is in the 12 years that I have been here. So we don't know a lot about them, but we are still excited to get them into our barn here on Friday and Saturday.
Our two captains are senior defender Megan Bozek and junior Bethany Brausen, and so we know that we have great leadership from these two but also our strong senior class. We lost a lot certainly last year with our senior class, who contributed a bunch for us and helped us win the national championship.
We add seven new players in six freshmen and a transfer. Coming into the season, we would expect them to contribute early for us. More importantly our returners, which we have 15 of those from last year's team, we hope they can elevate their game and help in the scoring area this year.
We are deep in all positions, which is exciting for us. At our goaltender position, Noora Raty returns for her senior year, and she is a two-time All-American. She is obviously a tremendous goalie and one of the best in the world, if not the best. We have a freshman in Amanda Leveille from the Ottawa area, who will get some time this year. She has shown some great things already here in the first week of practice.
At the defensemen positions, we are led my Megan [Bozek] and Mira Jalosuo, who is a senior as well. We have two new freshman defensemen in Milica McMillen and Lee Stecklein, who are both highly touted players. Megan [Bozek], who is 5-9 or 5-10 is probably our shortest defenseman this year, so we have some big kids back there who all can shoot and move the puck. So we are really excited about all six of our defensemen on the backend.
And then upfront, we are definitely led by junior Amanda Kessel, our leading scorer from last year and an All-American as well. We also expect big things from Bethany Brausen, Kelly Terry, Sarah Davis, Rachael Bona, Meghan Lorence and then some of our freshmen too.
We are just super excited about the year. It is just a great time of year, and it is a brand new team for us. We can't look at last year's team and think we are going to be identical to that because we are a completely different team. Having said that, we will have the same goals of winning the WCHA conference and tournament. Obviously, getting to the Frozen Four, which is being held here at Ridder Arena come March. It is a great opportunity for us to play in a great environment and play back here in front of our own fans.
Our league is tremendous again, as it always has been. There is a reason our league has won the last 13 national championships. Today it came out that we are favored and picked to finish first in the WCHA. North Dakota also received a vote for I believe the first time in their history, and Wisconsin received the other first-place vote and then us getting six. Wisconsin, North Dakota, Duluth and us should all be in the mix again for the conference title. As you all know, if you can win your conference tournament and/or the conference regular season championship, there is a good chance you will be contending in March, which is what we hope to be doing.
Again, we look forward to the year, and thanks for being here. We will now answer any questions you may have.
What does it give the team to have that trophy sitting there and have that experience to have made it all the way and won it? How does it change the aura surrounding the team and the program?
BETHANY BRAUSEN: I think Coach Frost has already emphasized. It has been really, really great and a great experience, especially with all the returners coming back. It is really cool to have that experience under your belt. However, the big focus this year is that that was last year and that it where it stays. It gives you something to strive for. Like you said, it also something that we need to know that it is not an indication of how this season will go. It will be just as hard, if not even harder now that we have that big 'X' on our back. Thought it was great to get the monkey off our back last year, I think it is very important, especially this year, that we come out and hopefully, do the same thing this season.
With having been on a coaching staff that has won a couple national titles and done it back-to-back as well, what is tougher winning a national championship, or trying to repeat the next year?
COACH FROST: It is going to be really difficult. I told our players, and both Megan and Bethany have done this, but when you have the 'M' on your chest, it is hard enough. There are so many players on other teams within the WCHA that would love nothing more than to kick the Gophers around a little bit. That may be because they didn't get recruited, or they did and we went with another. Whatever the reason, we are a team that has been near or at the top ever since our program started. So we have the 'M' on our chest and now the target on our back, and I think that is exciting. Wisconsin dealt with it, Duluth dealt with it, we dealt with it in 2004 and 2005, and it did bring out the best of every team. Our players are aware of that we will have to be at our best every game, and we will take it chip-by-chip and hopefully, end out on top. But it's difficult, and if people think it is easy...they are nuts. Again, we are going to focus on the process of the things that we do well because March is a long ways away. I know that is what everybody wants to talk about - repeating, back-to-back national championships, etc. - but that is so far out of our minds right now.
Does having a new group of players that are so highly skilled generate more competition in practice?
MEGAN BOZEK: Absolutely. The battle in practice is as if we were playing Wisconsin. We know that if we set a high standard for ourselves, then we won't expect anything less than everyone's best every day. So we have a healthy rivalry when we play games in practice, but it will make everyone better in the long run.
The University of Minnesota women's hockey team had an
eventful Saturday as they participated in two aspects of the Gopher football
game day experience with signing autographs before the game and receiving their
2012 National Championship rings during the game.
At 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, the 2012-13 team went into Block G and signed autographs for fans of all ages up until 15 minutes before kickoff. Following the 30-minute long autograph session, the Gophers entered the game to cheer on their fellow student-athletes.
At the end of the first quarter, the National Championship squad met near in the field in preparation for the ring ceremony. And during the first TV timeout of the second quarter, the squad walked out on the field and was presented their championship rings in front of a gold-out crowd of 44,921 Gopher faithful.
To top off the fun-filled day had by the Gophers, the team was able to cheer on the football team to a victory and a 3-0 start to the 2012 season.
Before the football game kicks off at 11 a.m., head coach Brad Frost and the 2012-13 team will be located in "Block G" signing autographs. They will be positioned right in front of Mariucci Arena from 10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Following their autograph session, the 2012 National Championship team will be honored during the first TV timeout of the second quarter. During this short intermission, the Gophers will be presented with their championship rings on the field.
Bozek, a native of Buffalo Grove, Ill., earned All-America and All-WCHA honors last season. She was Minnesota's top-scoring defenseman in the 2011-12 campaign, and ranks fourth on the Gophers' all-time top scorers list among defensemen. Bozek played with Team USA at the World Championships in April and helped the U.S. to a silver medal.
"I am very honored to be named a captain of the defending national championship team," said Bozek. "It is a great privilege to wear the M, and we have a lot of depth this year that will make us successful, on and off the ice."
Brausen hails from Little Canada, Minn., and was the 2010 Ms. Hockey award winner. She played in every game for the Gophers last season, scoring nine points. Brausen is a top performer when it comes to academics, earning WCHA Scholar Athlete and Academic All-WCHA honors last year.
"Being a team captain for the University of Minnesota is something far beyond what I could have wished for," explained Brausen. "What means the most to me is not the patch on my jersey, but to have been nominated by a team full of captains. Every member of this team is a leader, and no matter who wears the captain's patch, we all have a role in leading this team. I am so honored to have been put in this position with such an amazing team."
The defending national champions will start the 2012-13 season with a home series against Colgate Sept. 28-29 at Ridder Arena. The Gophers return 17 letterwinners from last year's squad, including three players who have earned All-America acclaim. Minnesota adds six freshmen and a sophomore transfer to its roster for the season.
Head coach Brad Frost returns for his 13th season with the Gopher women's hockey program, and sixth as the head coach. Assistant coaches Joel Johnson and Nadine Muzerall also return to the coaching staff.
The University of Minnesota's Ridder Arena will serve as the site of the 2013 WCHA Final Face-off and the NCAA Frozen Four, giving the Gophers the opportunity to defend their WCHA Tournament title and NCAA title on their home ice this season.
"We have a great group this year and everyone knows what is at stake," said Bozek. "There is a target on our backs, but we are willing to sacrifice and work hard to perform at our best all year. Everyone is very excited to get the season rolling in just a few weeks. It is a great time for our freshmen to put on the jersey for the first time, and for the the returners to come back with the drive to improve and defend our national title."
"I see this as being another great year, building off the momentum from last year and the national championship," said Brausen. "My hope is not that we not only remain as good as last season, but get better. It is a new season and we will treat it that way. The expectations will be to strive to be better players and people."
In Thursday's game, Gopher sophomore Rachel Ramsey opened up the scoring, notching a goal 8:46 into the first period. Ramsey earned a second point in the game, getting an assist on Jillian Dempsey's goal in the second period. Canada answered with a goal late in the second to being the score to 2-1, but the Americans scored twice in the third period to bring the final score to 4-1. The U.S. outshot Canada 30-17 in the game. Click here for the USA Hockey recap and here for the Hockey Canada recap.
On Friday, Gopher junior Kelly Terry got Canada on the board first, scoring 15:35 into the opening period. The U.S. answered before the period ended as Jocelyne Lamoreaux tallied a goal, assisted by Gopher senior Megan Bozek. Team USA would score two goals in the second period to Canada's one, bringing the score to 4-2 at the end of the second, which would prove to be the final score. Canada led in shots at 23-20 for the game. Click here for the USA Hockey recap and here for the Hockey Canada recap.
In Sunday's series finale, Canada led 1-0 at the end of the first period. Early in the second period, Gopher junior Sarah Davis gave Canada a 2-0 lead with a goal 6:56 into the period. The U.S. responded two minutes later with a Brianna Decker goal, assisted by Megan Bozek. Team USA scored two additional goals in the second to lead 3-2 going into the third period. Each team added one goal in the final period, bringing the score to 4-3. Again, the Canadians outshot the Americans with a 33-26 tally for the game. Click here for the USA Hockey recap and here for the Hockey Canada recap.
Playing for Canada will be Gopher juniors Kelly Terry and Sarah Davis, both forwards. Davis also represented Canada in the 2012 Meco Cup. Terry has participated in a Canadian Under-22 development camp, and was a member of the Canadian Under-18 team in 2010.
On the U.S. roster are Sarah Erickson, Hannah Brandt, Megan Bozek, Rachel Ramsey, Anne Schleper, and Lee Stecklein. The U.S. team is not a true Under-22 team, as several members are at or above age 22. The Gopher contingent includes two forwards (Erickson, Brandt) and four defensemen (Bozek, Ramsey, Schleper, Stecklein). Brandt and Stecklein will be joining the Gophers as freshmen this fall, while Ramsey will be a sophomore. Bozek will enter her senior season this fall. Erickson and Schleper graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2012.
All six Gophers who represent Team USA participated in the National Festival in Blaine, Minn., last week. The last time this series was held (2010), Bozek. Erickson and Schleper were all on the U.S. team. Stecklein played for the U.S. at the 2012 Under-18 World Championships, while Brandt played on the Four Nations Cup team last fall.
In addition to the six Gopher players representing the United States, former Minnesota head coach Laura Halldorson will serve as an assistant coach for the series.
Team USA and Team Canada will play at 8 p.m. (central) on both August 16 and 17, and will finish the series on August 19 with an 11 a.m. (central) game. Games will be held at the WinSport Canada Athletic & Ice Complex in Calgary.
Real-time updates from the games will be available on Twitter @usahockeyscores
The U22 series vs. Canada will be played for the fifth time, with the first series contested in 2006. The series was not played in 2011 or 2009. The U.S. is 2-7-3 all-time against Canada in this event.
View the full roster for Team Canada here.
View the full roster for Team USA here.
For all the details and a tournament registration form, please click here.
Not a golfer? No problem! We're also looking for hole, tee and green sponsors. Or, if you'd like to attend the Golf Open banquet without golfing in the tournament, that's okay too. See the registration form for more information.
All proceeds generated from the GWH Golf Open directly support the University of Minnesota women's hockey program.
Among the players with Gopher ties are four alumnae (Sarah Erickson, Gigi Marvin, Anne Schleper and Emily West), three Gophers who will be returning letterwinners this fall (Rachael Bona, Megan Bozek and Rachel Ramsey), and three incoming freshmen (Hannah Brandt, Milica McMillen and Lee Stecklein).
Attending the USA Hockey Women's National Festival are 21 of the 23 members of the U.S. Women's National Team that turned in a silver-medal performance at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship in Burlington, Vermont. Gopher players who were on the 2012 World Championships team include Megan Bozek, Anne Schleper and Gigi Marvin.
The Festival will culminate with the selection of teams to represent the United States in a U18 series vs. Canada in Blaine and a U22 series vs. Canada in Calgary, Alberta. Both events will include three games between the two nations to be staged from Aug. 16-19.
In addition to the nine Gopher players on the roster, former Minnesota head coach Laura Halldorson and Gopher assistant coach Joel Johnson will each serve as an assistant coach for USA Hockey at the summer festival.
For the complete over-18 roster, click here.
Schleper and Schoullis are among five players drafted by Boston this season. Also picked by the Blades were Hilary Knight (Wisconsin), Genevieve Lacasse (Providence), and Kelley Steadman (Mercyhurst).
The CWHL consists of five teams, of which four are located in Canada: Alberta (with games played in both Calgary and Edmonton), Toronto, Brampton, Montreal, and Boston.
Last season, the Blades finished second in the league with a 20-7-0 record.
See the full list of drafted players on the CWHL website.
Breaking down the roster:
6 Seniors: Megan Bozek, Sam Downey, Katie Frischmann, Mira Jalosuo, Becky Kortum, Noora Raty
5 Juniors: Bethany Brausen, Sarah Davis, Baylee Gillanders, Amanda Kessel, Kelly Terry
5 Sophomores: Rachael Bona, Jordyn Burns, Meghan Lorence, Rachel Ramsey, Shyler Sletta
6 Freshmen: Hannah Brandt, Brook Garzone, Amanda Leveille, Milica McMillen, Maryanne Menefee, Lee Stecklein
11 Forwards: Rachael Bona, Hannah Brandt, Bethany Brausen, Sarah Davis, Sam Downey, Brook Garzone, Amanda Kessel, Becky Kortum, Meghan Lorence, Maryanne Menefee, Kelly Terry
2 Defensemen/Forwards: Jordyn Burns, Katie Frischmann
6 Defensemen: Megan Bozek, Baylee Gillanders, Mira Jalosuo, Milica McMillen, Rachel Ramsey, Lee Stecklein
3 Goalies: Amanda Leveille, Noora Raty, Shyler Sletta
By home state/country:
12 from Minnesota: Rachael Bona, Hannah Brandt, Bethany Brausen, Jordyn Burns, Sam Downey, Katie Frischmann, Becky Kortum, Meghan Lorence, Milica McMillen, Rachel Ramsey, Shyler Sletta, Lee Stecklein
1 from Illinois: Megan Bozek
1 from Michigan: Maryanne Menefee
1 from Oklahoma: Brook Garzone
1 from Wisconsin: Amanda Kessel
4 from Canada: Sarah Davis, Baylee Gillanders, Amanda Leveille, Kelly Terry
2 from Finland: Mira Jalosuo, Noora Raty
Minnesota lost seven seniors to graduation after the 2011-12 campaign, including some prolific scorers as four of the seven scored over 100 points in their careers, while three (Emily West, Jen Schoullis and Sarah Erickson) passed the 150-point mark.
To replace the seven seniors who completed their eligibility, seven newcomers will join the Gopher squad this fall.
Three freshman forwards are joining the ranks in Hannah Brandt, Brook Garzone and Maryanne Menefee.
Brandt played her prep career at Hill-Murray High School, and earned just about every award Minnesota prep hockey has to offer, including the 2012 Ms. Hockey award. She led her team in scoring last season, averaging 3.57 points per game with 82 points on the season. In April, Brandt played with Team USA at the IIHF World Championships in Burlington, Vt., helping the Americans to a silver medal.
Garzone comes to the Gopher program from Shattuck-St. Mary's High School, where she helped her team reach the semifinals in the 2012 National Championships where they lost 2-1 in overtime to the eventual national champion. Garzone scored 60 points last season, averaging 1.13 per game.
Menefee played for the Little Caesar's Hockey Club in Michigan, and was a member of the U.S. Under-18 Team that earned a silver medal at the U18 World Championships in January.
Three newcomers will be added to the defensive corp in freshmen Lee Stecklein and Milica McMillen, while sophomore transfer Jordyn Burns returns to her home state after playing one season at Syracuse.
Stecklein comes to the Gophers after a prep career at Roseville High School, leading her team to second place at the Class AA State Tournament. She scored 34 points last season (1.31 ppg) and was her team's scoring leader among defensemen. Stecklein was named to the All-Metro teams by both the Star Tribune and Pioneer press, and was a finalist for the Ms. Hockey Award. She represented the U.S. at the Under-18 World Championships in January, helping Team USA to a silver medal.
McMillen played for the Breck School, where she led her team to the Class A State Championship. McMillen had the assist on the gamewinner in the championship game, and played every minute of the title game for Breck. She led her team in scoring with 55 points on the season, averaging 1.9 per game. McMillen played with Team USA at the 2011 Twelve Nations Invitational. A finalist for the Ms. Hockey Award, McMillen was named to the All-Metro teams by the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.
Burns, who played prep hockey at Benilde-St. Margaret's High School, returns to Minnesota after spending her freshman season at Syracuse. As a freshman, Burns played in all 35 games, scoring two goals and eight assists. She is primarily a defenseman, but could also see ice time as a forward. Since she is transferring from a school outside the WCHA, Burns will not have to sit out a season, and will be able to play in 2012-13.
Amanda Leveille is the lone goalie joining the Gopher program this fall, meaning Minnesota will have three goalies available for the upcoming season. Leveille hails from Kingston, Ontario and played with the Ottawa Lady Senators. She held a goals against average of 1.71 last season, playing in 35 games.