USA Hockey today announced the 79 players selected to participate in the 2012 USA Hockey Women's National Festival, which will take place Aug. 5-13 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn. The Over-18 roster includes 51 players, including Gophers Rachael Bona, Megan Bozek, Hannah Brandt, Sarah Erickson, Milica McMillen, Gigi Marvin, Rachel Ramsey, Anne Schleper, Lee Stecklein, and Emily West.

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.

GWH Blog: Two Gophers Picked in CWHL Draft

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The draft for the Canadian Women's Hockey League took place yesterday, and two former members of the Minnesota team were chosen in the draft. Anne Schleper, a defenseman, was drafted in the third round by the Boston Blades. In the fourth round, forward Jen Schoullis was also drafted by the Blades. Schleper and Schoullis both finished their Gopher careers with the NCAA Championship win last March. The pair will join former Gopher Gigi Marvin, who also plays for Boston.

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.

GWH Blog: Announcing the 2012-13 Roster

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The roster for the 2012-13 hockey season has been announced, and can be found here.

Breaking down the roster:

By Class:

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

By position:

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.


GWH Blog: USA Hockey High Performance Camp

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Five players with Gopher ties are participating in USA Hockey's Women's National High Performance Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Current Gophers Amanda Kessel and Megan Bozek are participating, as well as recent graduates Anne Schleper and Jen Schoullis. Former Gopher Gigi Marvin (2006-09) is at the camp as well.

The camp started last Friday and runs through tomorrow. The players are training off-ice in areas such as strength and conditioning, mental skills, team building, nutrition and elite-athlete wellness.

The camp roster includes 17 Olympians and 22 of the 23 players from the U.S. Women's National Team that captured the silver medal at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship in Burlington, Vt.

Press release from USA Hockey here.

GWH Blog: Visiting Kyle, Saskatchewan

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Last week, four members of the Gopher women's hockey team made the 15-hour drive to Kyle, Saskatchewan, hometown of teammate Baylee Gillanders. Megan Bozek, Katie Frischmann, Rachael Bona and Rachel Ramsey spent a week hanging out at the Gillanders' family farm. Rachel Ramsey shared a few of her photos from the trip, which can be found on the team's Facebook page.

We'll keep you updated with the happenings of the team throughout the summer ... stay tuned!

GWH Blog: 2011-12 Highlight Video

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Did you enjoy following the Gophers during the 2011-12 season? Want to relive some of your favorite memories from the journey to the NCAA Championship? Check out the 2011-12 highlight video!




We'd like to give a special thank you to Eric Bakke, the women's hockey director of operations, for putting together this video. Thanks, Bakke!

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.