The Frozen Four is finally here!
Since winning the national title last season, our sights have been set on returning to the Frozen Four, especially with it being hosted at Ridder Arena. And after a long, exciting and history 2012-13 season, we have finally achieved one of our goals.
With the rest of Minnesota on Spring Break, our schedule has been very flexible. We had a team breakfast this morning at Egg & I, and then we had our team practice around lunchtime.
The practice was business as usual, and we fine-tuned some things for tomorrow's game versus Boston College. At the end of practice, we did our ritual "Hair-Down Showdown", which is done the last practice before the weekend begins. Coach Frost was the surprise winner today as he somehow slipped the puck by Noora.
After practice, Noora, Amanda and Coach Frost addressed the media one last time before the weekend.
We are now getting ready to head to the NCAA Frozen Four Banquet, which will be held at TCF Bank Stadium. It will be a good chance for all the players, coaches and staff to mingle with one another and really take in the whole Frozen Four experience. I've heard the meal is the same as what we had at the Senior Banquet back in February, so we all are pretty excited about dinner tonight!
The banquet will wrap up our final prep day for the Frozen Four, and then it is business tomorrow morning! Everyone is pumped and excited to defend our national title this weekend!
The Frozen Four is finally here!
Today was game day against Finland,
and it was the last round robin game.
We had an early breakfast and departed for pre-game skate after. It was a short skate just to get our legs moving because we had a late game at 7 p.m. We had lunch when we returned and had a video session with the coaches. Then it was down time before departure to our game. I took a nice nap to relax and got some rest.
Our game was our best yet at the tournament. We beat Finland, 15-1, and controlled most of the game. We worked on lots of plays and played well as a team to improve our weaknesses. We played strong and our whole team enjoyed the win. It was a good game to play before tomorrow's gold medal game against Canada. We are ready for a rematch!
Tomorrow should be an exciting day, but it will be our last in Finland. It will be sad to leave, but I'm also ready to return home. It has been an awesome experience here to get to play with the National Team. I will miss this team and all of my great teammates, but we still have one more game to play first.
Have a great day!
Today was a great day for the team in Helsinki. We had an early breakfast and lunch, then we headed to the rink for a quick strength and conditioning lesson, which was followed by a team practice.
After that, we had some down time. People chose to stay back and rest and catch up on homework, but a couple teammates and I decided go see downtown Helsinki. The city, looking by the pictures, had the appearance of Times Square. The buildings were very bright and animated! Downtown was beautiful, not to mention, the chocolate is amazing!
We had dinner with the team back at
the hotel, and now we are starting to preparing for the game tomorrow versus
Finland! All of us are excited and ready to get back to action here at the Four
Hello from Finland!
Today in Finland, we had the same routine as Tuesday. We woke up had breakfast, some meetings and then it was game time.
We ate our pregame meal at 10 a.m., and I made the mistake of having coffee with my meal. Let's just say coffee, pasta and salad does not mix well! After our meal, I just laid around, listened to music and hung out before we departed for the rink. At the rink, I like to joke around and sing and dance as part of my pregame routine, so I stay loose and have fun.
It is nice to have current and old
gophers on this team. However, a little fun fact is that I spend a lot of time
with a current rival and Wisconsin Badger, Brianna Decker. I have known her
since I was young, and we are really good friends despite having the bitter
It was a tough game today versus Canada as it did not go in our favor. We suffered a
3-1 loss, but the good thing is we can
move on and learn from that game.
Tomorrow, we have an off day from games, but we will keep busy since our schedule is jam packed with activities and meetings.
Have a great day!
This week, three
current and three former Gophers are suiting up for the U.S. Women's National
Team for the Four Nations Cup in Vantaa & Kerava, Finland. This blog will
give you a first-hand insight on what the current Gophers (Megan Bozek, Amanda
Kessel and Milica McMillen) are experiencing during their time with the
Hello from Finland!
We just ended Day 2 of our week here in Finland. Today, we played our first game and pulled out a 4-0 win over Sweden!
We got to sleep in today, which was nice after traveling all day and then having practice right after. We had our pregame meal, a team meeting, and then had some down time. Everyone has their own ways of preparing for game, such as: getting treatment, doing homework or taking naps. I decided to go with a little homework and then a nap before leaving for the rink.
Our first game of the tournament was against Sweden, and we won 4-0 in a fast and physical game. One of our defensemen, Lisa Chesson, got hurt in the opening two minutes, right after she scored the first goal. So we had to roll with six defensemen for the rest of the game. We scored two more goals in the second period, and then in the third period, my roommate Brianna Decker scored!
It was a lot of fun getting to wear the USA jersey again. This is only my second time with the senior team and first major tournament. We have all different players ranging from veterans to first-timers. The veterans are a lot of help and have great advice on and off the ice for us newer players, so we get to know the team and program better. Meghan Duggan, who is the assistant captain of the team, pulled some of us aside today to tell us to have fun and relax. It's really nice to have the support around us as we try to adjust, and it's worked so far!
We play Canada tomorrow, so it's time to get some rest!
Have a nice day,
This week, three current and three former Gophers are suiting
up for the U.S. Women's National Team for the Four Nations Cup in Vantaa &
Kerava, Finland. This blog will give you a first-hand insight on what the
current Gophers (Megan Bozek, Amanda Kessel and Milica McMillen) are
experiencing during their time with the national team.
We just got back from a good skate today. Our travel day was very long, consisting of a two and half hour flight to New York City, which was followed by a six-hour layover and then a seven and a half hour flight to Helsinki! We made it safe and had a little bit of time to spare at the hotel before heading to the rink.
All is college players that were joining the team today thought our skating would be pretty bad, due to all the traveling, but it turned out good. Helsinki gets very dark around 4 p.m., so it is kind of depressing walking out of the rink and having our day gone so fast!
The weather here is rainy and dreary, which isn't fun for us since we can't walk around and sightsee, but then again most of us are more interested in getting some sleep over touring Helsinki.
It's been really exciting being able to spend time with friends from other collegiate teams, especially my roommate Hilary Knight, who played for Wisconsin the past four years. Here are a few fun facts about her:
- She plays for the Boston Blades in the CWHL.
- She is from Idaho.
- She knows how to use a lasso/rope.
- She played the viola and the saxophone when she was younger.
There you have it! More updates to come tomorrow!
Hope everyone has a great day!!
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."