Betsy Helfand


Eye on Sochi: USA wins, Finland loses

Gophers forward Amanda Kessel made her presence known Monday in Sochi, Russia. Kessel scored two goals and added two assists in Team USA’s 9-0 win over Switzerland. Her goals came in the first period of the blowout. Former Gophers defenseman Megan Bozek and current defenseman Lee Stecklein each added an assist. The win moved the Americans to 2-0 in the preliminary round. They will face Canada on Wednesday in what will most likely be a preview of the gold medal game. Finland

Eye on Sochi: US defeats Finland 3-1

Familiar faces met Saturday in Sochi, Russia, as the United States women’s hockey team kicked off its Olympic schedule against Finland. The U.S. beat Finland 3-1, jumping out to a lead 53 seconds into the game and never looking back. Former Gophers defensemen Megan Bozek and Anne Schleper each recorded an assist in the game. Defenseman Gigi Marvin, who played for Minnesota from 2005-09, led all U.S. skaters with 22:29 of ice time.

Gophers open season with five consecutive victories

Minnesota’s starting pitching stifled its opposition this weekend as the softball team began its season with five straight wins. With the five wins, the Gophers won the Tiger Classic and are off to their best start since 2003. “We should absolutely draw confidence from [this weekend],” head coach Jessica Allister said. Allister said she was pleased with her team’s overall performance in its first series of the year and said the biggest takeaway was the team’s fight over the weekend.

Minnesota sweeps Bemidji State

The Gophers’ win Saturday against Bemidji State completed a sweep that started with a 10-0 throttling Friday — though not without a battle from the Beavers. Gophers junior defenseman Rachel Ramsey said after Friday’s game that contests against Bemidji State tend to be either blowouts or down-to-the-wire games. Though Saturday’s game wasn’t quite a thriller, the Beavers put up a bigger fight in Minnesota’s 5-3 win.

Gophers ready to watch old teammates

In the upcoming weeks, hundreds of millions of people around the world will tune in to the Olympics. And the members of the Gophers women’s hockey team are no different. There’s a special tie for the players, though, as past and present friends and teammates will compete in Sochi, Russia. Minnesota head coach Brad Frost said it was surreal to watch players he’s coached in the Olympics.

Minnesota defeats UND

This weekend’s matchup with No. 3 North Dakota was Minnesota’s biggest road test of the season to date. And it’s safe to say the top-ranked Gophers passed. Minnesota swept North Dakota, winning 5-1 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday. “Anytime you go up to a hostile environment like Grand Forks and come away with six points and play extremely well, [it’s] a great thing,” head coach Brad Frost said.

Gophers shoot to avenge loss to UND

Minnesota ended North Dakota’s season last year with a triple-overtime win. North Dakota returned the favor in mid-November by snapping the Gophers’ NCAA record 62-game winning streak. “They’re probably pretty mad at us for that, and we’re pretty mad at them for ending our streak,” senior forward Kelly Terry said. “[There’s] extra fire for both teams.”

Ramsey carries the torch

When Jill Ramsey first saw her oldest daughter, Rachel, suited up in hockey gear, she cried. Jill Ramsey is a former dancer. Her husband, Mike Ramsey, was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team and a former NHL player. The Ramseys let their three children choose their own paths — two chose hockey, one chose dance. Rachel took after her father, despite the lack of opportunities for girls in hockey at the time.

Minnesota sweeps SCSU amid penalties

The Gophers’ motto this season has been, “Get it done.” They did that this weekend, sweeping St. Cloud State at home. Minnesota won 3-0 and 3-1, but the Gophers weren’t at their best. “We just need to be better and show a little more discipline and more devotion to the team,” head coach Brad Frost said after Saturday’s game. Minnesota took six penalties Saturday, including three in the third period.

Brandt finds niche as go-to player

Sophomore forward Hannah Brandt currently leads the nation in points. But ask her about it and she’s the first to downplay her success. “I mean, I wouldn’t have thought I am [the top scorer in the nation] because I don’t feel like I have that many points,” Brandt said. “But I guess that’s cool.” The Gophers lost a bulk of their scoring production from last year’s team to graduation and the Olympics.