Betsy Helfand


Intrasquad meet gives Gophers runners kick start

Junior Molly Kayfes and senior Laura Docherty led the way as the Gophers women’s cross country team kicked off its season Friday in the Intrasquad 5K Meet. Aside from Kayfes and Docherty, 11 other Gophers finished the race in less than 20 minutes, and head coach Sarah Hopkins said she loved how “under control” the team was. “Nobody really went to the well,” Hopkins said. “They got a really good race feel where they remembered what it’s like to hurt. That’s the hardest part coming out of summer.”

The Transition: Natalie Darwitz

When the 2014 Winter Olympics roll around, Natalie Darwitz will be a spectator. Though the three-time Olympian and former Gophers women’s hockey star is enjoying the next chapter in her life, she said it will hit her hard when the games begin in Sochi, Russia. “I miss the competition. I miss the big games,” said Darwitz, 29. But in her second year as head coach of the girls’ hockey team at Lakeville South High School, Darwitz is less stressed, more laid back and more carefree.

Day in the life: Katie Frischmann

Katie Frischmann’s day resembles the typical college student’s in many ways. She goes to class, studies, hangs out with friends and is still unsure of what she’s going to do with her life when she graduates in May. Frischmann’s roommate called her fun to be around. Her friend called her personable. But her day also differs significantly from the average college student’s. That’s because Frischmann is a member of the Gophers women’s hockey team. Morning workout

The Eden Prairie pipeline

Eden Prairie High School has been likened to a minor league for the University of Minnesota. With 20 alumni currently on University teams, Eden Prairie has one of the most impressive high school sports programs in the state. Nestled in a suburb about 20 miles southwest of the University, the school has become a powerhouse in state high school athletics. Since 1996, it has won eight football titles and established a winning tradition that extends to nearly every one of its athletics teams.

Gophers set another record, stay perfect heading into break

BEMIDJI, Minn. — The Gophers women’s hockey team wrapped up a dominant first half of the season with a sweep over Bemidji State this weekend. Minnesota won 5-1 Friday and 5-0 Saturday in Bemidji, Minn., despite playing without three freshmen. The Gophers won their 16th-consecutive road game Friday to set a new Division I record. They extended the streak to 17 games Sunday. Head coach Brad Frost said he was ecstatic about the team’s first half of the season.

Gophers set road winning streak record

BEMIDJI, Minn. –- The Gophers women's hockey team defeated Bemidji State 5-1 on Friday to win its 16th consecutive road game -- a new NCAA record. Minnesota overcame the absence of three freshmen and scored three goals in the second period to pull away from the Beavers. “It took us a while to get our legs,” senior forward Becky Kortum said. “The second period has been our best all year, and luckily we picked it up.” Kortum said the team has to have adversity somewhere, and right now it might be in the first period.

Minnesota travels to face Bemidji State

The Gophers women’s hockey team will travel to Bemidji State this weekend and look to cap the first half of the season with a perfect record. Minnesota (18-0-0) and Bemidji State (3-11-2) have started the season in opposite directions. The Gophers rank first in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in scoring offense (5.78 goals per game) and defense (0.61). The Beavers rank last in scoring offense (1.75) and defense (3.69).

Instincts, skill make freshman stand out

When Hannah Brandt was in eighth grade, her hockey coach at Hill-Murray High School told her that his wish was for her to become a world-class player. “She looked at me like I had two heads,” Bill Schafhauser said. “She was too young to realize that she had a lot of good things to look forward to.” Brandt, a freshman forward for the Gophers women’s hockey team, is well on her way to fulfilling her former coach’s wish. Through 18 games, the star freshman has 18 goals and 27 assists.

Protection and expression: the goalie mask

Few positions in sports resemble the goaltender in hockey. Aside from having rubber disks rocketed at them throughout the game, goalies also get to personalize their equipment. Miska Designs, a company based in Stacy, Minn., is tasked with painting the masks for goalies on the Gophers men’s and women’s hockey teams. The company also designs many professional goalies’ masks. The goalies submit personalized designs and leave them in the hands of designer Todd Miska. A custom design ranges from $300 to $1,000.

Women’s hockey: on fire on the ice

The top-ranked Gophers women’s hockey team found itself in an unfamiliar position entering the third period Sunday: tied 0-0. Minnesota hadn’t won a game by fewer than two goals all season. And it maintained that streak Sunday, defeating Wisconsin 2-0 to sweep the weekend series. “I felt like our team knew that they were going to get that goal,” head coach Brad Frost said. “It was just a matter of how or when.”