The Gophers ended Boston University’s season last year. This weekend, they’ll try to do it again. Minnesota defeated the Terriers last March to win its second consecutive NCAA title. This year, the two teams will meet in the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday at Ridder Arena. “We have the target on our back every day right now, being the defending champs,” sophomore forward Hannah Brandt said. That’s especially the case for the Terriers, who will be looking to avenge last year’s 6-3 loss in the title game.
WASHINGTON — The University of Minnesota’s women’s hockey team finished last season 41-0-0 en route to its second consecutive NCAA title. The Gophers’ 2012-13 team had a storybook ending to its perfect season Monday when it traveled to the nation’s capital to meet President Barack Obama. “He made it so obvious when we were all there that he really genuinely was happy that we were all there,” senior captain Bethany Brausen said, “and I think that was the most special thing to us.”
The Gophers dropped two of three games in the weather-shortened Chanticleer Classic over the weekend. Minnesota was scheduled to play four games, but impending weather issues in Myrtle Beach, S.C., forced a schedule change. The Gophers lost to Elon 5-2 on Saturday in the first game of the series. They came back and beat Coastal Carolina 5-2 in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader before falling 4-1 to UNC Greensboro on Sunday afternoon.
BEMIDJI — The Gophers women’s hockey team captured the WCHA Final Face-Off title Saturday with a 3-1 win over North Dakota. After the team won the WCHA regular-season crown last month, the only thing left to win is a third straight NCAA title. “Our last goal is to make the Frozen Four and give ourselves an opportunity to bring the big trophy back,” head coach Brad Frost said. The Gophers’ win Saturday marked their third straight WCHA Final Face-Off title.
BEMIDJI, MINN. – The Gophers advanced to the championship game of the WCHA Final Face-Off with a 4-1 win over Minnesota-Duluth. Minnesota will take on North Dakota on Saturday with an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line. The Bulldogs and Gophers traded goals in the second period, before Minnesota scored three in the third. “The resiliency of our team in the third was what spoke to me," head coach Brad Frost said. "I thought our team came together and really battled and competed and found a way to get it done.”
Gophers senior Matt Halloran said he figured he’d start nearly every game behind the plate this season. But it didn’t exactly work out as planned. Halloran started the first game of the season behind the plate, but an arm injury forced him out of the position. Enter freshman Austin Athmann. Athmann has started six of nine games behind the plate this season. He leads the team with a .381 batting average. And he’s done it with very little time to mentally prepare himself for his new role.
Rachael Bona stood in the hallway of Ridder Arena across from the Gophers’ locker room Tuesday afternoon when one of her teammates walked past. “Patty Kaz,” she whispered to the junior forward before vanishing into the locker room. Bona and sophomore forward Hannah Brandt were both named Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top 10 finalists last week. The Patty Kazmaier award is given to the top player in Division I women’s hockey each year.
University of Minnesota students and alumni won more medals than 69 of 88 countries competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics, thanks to the U.S. women’s hockey team’s performance in Sochi, Russia. Lee Stecklein and Amanda Kessel, who are redshirting this season, and former players Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin and Anne Schleper all brought medals home. Team USA won a silver medal at the Winter Games after losing to Team Canada in the gold-medal game.
The Gophers gave up 24 runs last weekend, but this weekend, the team bounced back to win two of three games against Louisiana Tech. Minnesota starting pitchers Alec Crawford, Jordan Jess and Ben Meyer gave up a combined four earned runs in 17.2 innings of work. The Gophers split a doubleheader Saturday, winning the first game 4-2 in extra innings before losing the second game 3-2. Minnesota closed out the series with a 6-1 victory Sunday.
Gophers head coach John Anderson has always believed that the leader of a team has to be the team itself. That was on display this past summer, as members of the baseball team took the initiative to change the team’s offseason lifting routine. “We tried to come together and change the atmosphere in the weight room,” sophomore pitcher Lance Thonvold said. “In previous years, not that we hadn’t been weightlifting, but it wasn’t exactly something we put a lot of focus toward.”