Betsy Helfand


Minnesota sweeps NIU to start season

Minnesota has struggled at the plate in recent years, and the Gophers are making strides to address that issue this season. So far, so good. Minnesota racked up 20 runs in a series sweep against Northern Illinois this weekend in Glendale, Ariz. “We’ve struggled the last couple years hitting. We know that. Everyone knows that,” infielder Mark Tatera said. “So to put up 20 runs [this weekend] was great. I think that’s just a tribute to all the hard work we’ve put in.”

Eye on Sochi: Team USA wins three games to advance

The U.S. men’s hockey team won its first three games over the weekend, defeating Slovakia, Russia and Slovenia. Team USA will have a bye in the next round and will advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. The U.S. team will hold the No. 2 seed. The most recent game was Sunday against Slovenia. In that matchup, former Gophers forward Phil Kessel recorded a hat trick that helped pace the team to a 5-1 win. Blake Wheeler, another former Gophers forward, recorded an assist.

Räty hangs up skates after loss to Sweden

Former Gophers women’s hockey goaltender Noora Räty announced her retirement from women’s hockey Saturday via her Twitter page. Räty, 24, has been part of the Finnish national team since she was 15 and is one of the top female goaltenders in the world. She is currently competing in her third Olympics, but Finland was eliminated from medal contention after a 4-2 loss to Sweden on Saturday. “[B]efore the season started, I made a decision that my national team career will end here in Sochi,” Räty wrote in a letter she released on Twitter.

Minnesota sweeps Wisconsin, clinches WCHA crown

MADISON, Wis. — The Gophers women’s hockey team has clinched the WCHA regular-season title again. And it did so in dramatic fashion as No. 1 Minnesota swept No. 2 Wisconsin on the road. On Friday, the Gophers spoiled Wisconsin’s Senior Night in a closely contested 3-2 battle. A night later, they wore down Wisconsin 4-0 in front of an announced crowd of 13,573 — the largest crowd in NCAA women’s hockey history.

Gophers go for the gold

MEGAN BOZEK Buffalo Grove, Ill. Bozek, 22, played for the Gophers from 2009-13. She was a two-time national champion during her time at Minnesota and served as a co-captain in her senior season. Bozek set school records for points by a defenseman (146), and goals defenseman (47). She has played in two International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships and two Four Nations Cups. This is her first Olympic appearance.

Eye on Sochi: Team USA falls to Canada, Finland beats Switzerland

The U.S. women’s hockey team dropped its first game of the Olympics on Wednesday morning with a 3-2 loss to Canada. Team USA scored first late in the second period, and former Gophers defenseman Anne Schleper had an assist on the play. Canada, however, scored early in the third period to tie it up 1-1. It took a 2-1 lead later in the period on a goal that seemed to have crossed the line after the whistle had been blown. After Canada made it 3-1, Schleper scored a goal of her own late in the third period, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.

Minnesota opens season on the road

With snow covering the ground in Minneapolis and the Metrodome in the midst of being torn down, the Gophers baseball team will head south this weekend to kick off its season. For the next five weekends after that, they’ll commute back and forth between Minnesota and warm-weather climates suitable for baseball this time of year.

Women’s team set for border battle

For the second weekend in a row, a No. 1-ranked Minnesota hockey team will head to Madison, Wis., to take on the Badgers. The Gophers men’s hockey team traveled to Wisconsin last weekend and was swept at the Kohl Center. This weekend, the women’s hockey team will try its luck across the border in a battle with No. 2 Wisconsin.

Eye on Sochi: Diggins misses finals, U.S. curling falls to China

Jessie Diggins, an Afton native, missed out on the finals of the cross country Ladies’ Sprint Free Qualification on Tuesday in Sochi, Russia. Diggins finished third in her quarterfinal. The two skiers who finished ahead of her in the quarterfinal moved on. The U.S. men’s curling team lost to China on Tuesday, dropping the team’s record to 0-2 in Olympic competition. Four of the team’s five members hail from Minnesota. Norway is currently leading the medal count with 11 after its dominance in cross country skiing.

Brausen’s leadership goes beyond stats

While using statistics to quantify a player’s value in sports is almost as old a concept as sports itself, those stats often don’t tell the full story. In the case of Gophers forward Bethany Brausen, they don’t even scratch the surface. Brausen has only 12 points this season, while one of her teammates has more than four times that number. But Brausen’s value to her team goes way beyond her point total — many of the qualities she brings to the Gophers women’s hockey team are intangible.