Start of Season Catches Gophers, Fans Unaware


Lackadaisical Start Dooms Minnesota in 3-2 Loss to Robert Morris


10/3/2008 – Robert Morris 3, Minnesota 2


The schedule wasn’t lying – the Gophers’ 2008-2009 season began at 7:07 p.m. on October 3rd with a game against Robert Morris. Perhaps the fans, unfamiliar with the Colonials of College Hockey America, mistakenly assumed that this was another exhibition, thus explaining the attendance of only 725.


The Gophers, however, should have known better. Displaying far less energy than they brought to the ice in their two exhibition games the previous weekend, Minnesota spotted RMU a 3-0 lead over the game’s first 26 minutes and was unable to recover.


“I’m not sure why, but we didn’t come ready to play and we took the first half of the game off,” Coach Brad Frost said.


Senior co-captain Melanie Gagnon felt the unfamiliar opponent, one Minnesota had never faced, played a factor.


“I think we just didn’t come out prepared, unfortunately,” she said. “I don’t think we took them too lightly, we just didn’t know what to expect.”


Minnesota’s offense has the potential to come back from just about any deficit, but not in the opener.


“Once we were down three-nothing, we responded and played really hard and outshot them 47-5 in the last two periods,” Frost said. “But it was too little, too late against a very good goaltender and a good defensive team like that.”


Frosh Anne Schleper got the Gophers on the board with her first college goal on a power play rebound over goalie Brianne McLaughlin at 6:42 of the second period.


“That was kind of my goal at first – get in there, get gritty, and it ended up working out,” Schleper said. “From there, I was hoping that it would boost up the team a little bit more, but I think we definitely showed some character coming back there at the end.”


Emily West’s power play goal with an extra attacker pulled Minnesota within one with just over a minute remaining, but they were unable to get the equalizer.


“I think the major issue is to get someone in front of the net,” Gagnon said. “We got 65 shots on net, so you can’t argue with that, it was just a matter that she saw every shot. So we’ve got to get a little more traffic, and we’ve got to get to those backdoors. She kicks out some juicy rebounds, we were just a little too low to get them.”


Penalties hurt the Gophers, in the form of the two power play goals they yielded and having to kill off penalties when they needed every minute for their comeback attempt.


“There was just selfish play all over tonight, and it’s incredibly frustrating to see that – some of our veterans, some of our freshmen as well,” Frost said.


“To have power plays negated by retaliatory penalties or offensive zone penalties just were not smart hockey plays at all. And that carried on throughout the game, not just the first half of the game. We paid for it tonight.”


Minnesota was out of synch defensively, yielding three goals on only ten shots on goal. Senior Kim Hanlon, who looked strong in a period of work against the US Select team on Sunday, was pulled after allowing the goals while recording only four saves.


The two teams conclude their series with a 7:07 rematch on Saturday night.

Minnesota Finds the Net, Earns Split With Robert Morris



Marvin, Erickson Each Connect Twice in 7-1 Win


10/4/2008 – Minnesota 7, Robert Morris 1


Inevitably the long road that is a hockey season will present some bumps. After being derailed on Friday night, the Gophers (1-1-0) got their season moving in the right direction on Saturday with a convincing 7 to 1 win over the Colonials.


“In the midst of difficulty, there is an opportunity to respond, and I was really proud of the way they responded tonight,” Coach Brad Frost said. “The energy was there from the drop of the puck.”


Part of that energy may have been derived by new combinations in the first three forward lines from what had been used in the season to date.


“Certainly there was a comfort and luxury of knowing that Gigi [Marvin’s] line was together, but I think certain players struggled last night, so we just wanted to mix things up, and get a spark, and I thought we did that.”


Marvin led the attack with two goals and an assist on a goal by Brittany Francis, back on the line she shared with Marvin and Emily West last season. Marvin was glad to be skating with Francis again.


“We clicked today. [Francis] did a phenomenal job. I think she improved a ton over the summer.”


Freshman Sarah Erickson, who scored her first two goals in maroon and gold, joined Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux on an all-rookie line.


“I think that playing with each other in previous camps, power play, and even in practice we stay out later, that helps out a lot,” Erickson said. “It’s a really great line to be with.”


Despite the newfound offense, Minnesota once again faced an early deficit. Robert Morris scored the game’s first goal on a power play, just as they did on Friday.


This time, the Gophers had a better response. Jen Schoullis tipped in a Melanie Gagnon slap shot for the first of seven unanswered goals.


“It was probably our biggest point of emphasis, to take [RMU goalie] Brianne McLaughlin’s eyes away,” Frost said. “I think she saw too many shots last night, and we wanted to get people in the back door in front of the net and looking for rebounds and tips.”


Gagnon later earned a goal of her own with West screening in front.


“I luckily just hit the net and people did the dirty work for me, so that’s all I can ask for,” Gagnon said.


Freshman Alyssa saw her first action in the Gopher net in the final two periods and stopped all eleven shots she faced.


Her coach liked that she was “making smart plays by stopping the puck behind the net and getting whistles when we need it. So I thought that she played really well.”


Also debuting was defenseman Kelly Seeler.


“I thought she looked tremendous in her first real game,” Frost said. “After not playing last night, I think she made a statement tonight that she belongs in the lineup, and I was really happy with her play.”


Seeler was one of only five defensemen dressed for the game, including two rookies. Co-captain Gagnon thought the blue line corps worked well together.


We’ve got two freshmen defensemen, but they’re great defensemen,” Gagnon said. “They’ve both got international experience, so there’s not more you can ask for. They know their positions and they communicate well, so there’s really no threat. We can roll with each other and there’s no problems.”


Next up on the schedule is an always-challenging trip to Duluth for a pair of games against the NCAA champion Bulldogs. Marvin said the veterans will try to get the newcomers prepared for what they will face at the DECC.


“We’re going to walk them through it,” she said. “Let them know the stories, let them know the history, let them know what to expect. There’s going to be nerves, but hopefully we can calm them and come out like we played against the U.S. team.”


Minnesota Rocks Ohio State at Ridder

Fast Start, Team Effort Propels Gophers Past Buckeyes

10/17/2008 – Minnesota 8, Ohio State 1

Second-ranked Minnesota returned to home ice in great form, scoring on the game’s second shift and their first two power plays. The three unanswered first-period goals were followed by four more in the second, and the Gophers closed out an 8-1 victory over OSU.

“I thought from the drop of the puck our team was ready to play,” Coach Brad Frost said.

Freshman wing Monique Lamoureux definitely was. She collected a homerun pass from Melanie Gagnon, cruised past the lone defender, drew goalie Liana Bonanno out of position, and slid a forehand into the net just 81 seconds into the game.

Brittany Francis and Rachael Drazan finished off power plays during the latter half of the period, and Minnesota (4-1-0, 3-0-0 WCHA) had all the offense it would need.

“A great enforcement tool is a good power play and putting the puck in the net,” Frost said. “Being able to get those power play goals early there and jumping on them three – nothing in the first period I think really kind of took the wind out of their sails, but more importantly, put the wind into ours.”

The second period was more of the same. Jocelyne Lamoureux corralled an airborne rebound and banged it home before the goaltender could reset.

Jen Schoullis netted a pair – one-timing a Chelsey Jones pass and tipping in a Monique Lamoureux point shot just as a power play ended – leaving her one shy of a hat trick.

“I needed one bad at the end of the game,” she said. “I was diving everywhere, and Coach Frost was putting me out there as the first forward changing. I wanted a third goal, and it didn’t happen for me tonight, but maybe tomorrow.”

Laura May and Terra Rasmussen of Minnesota’s fourth line sandwiched goals around the Buckeyes’ lone tally to complete the scoring.

“We work really hard in practice, so to get some ice time and to get a couple of goals, it feels good for our line, definitely,” May said.

“I’m really proud of our fourth line tonight, netting two goals there,” Frost said. “At the start of the third, I thought we were a little sloppy there, we had three bad shifts in a row by our top three lines. And then our fourth line went out, got the momentum with a great fore check and scored. That’s one of their big roles is to provide energy for us and get our team some momentum back.”

May said that her line understands the importance of continuing what the previous lines have established.

“We never want to let the momentum down; if anything, we’ll try to get a spark for us if we are slacking a bit.”

Emily West also had a productive night, earning three assists. She said that the Ohio State defense made things tough at times around their net.

“They picked up our sticks, and that’s something we have to find a way to battle through, and I think we did that tonight and got in the goalie’s eyes. I think that was a big thing on our power play and throughout the whole game was to really irritate in front.”

Alyssa Grogan made 12 saves in picking up her first win on home ice.

“In a tough game where you’re not seeing a lot of shots, I thought she was square to the puck, she was challenging, and getting whistles when we need them,” Frost said.

“It was a pretty complete hockey game in my opinion. We got contributions from everybody, and everybody was pulling on the rope together. I’m very pleased with the effort and obviously the outcome.”

The Gophers entertain the Buckeyes again on Saturday afternoon with a trip to Madison to face top-ranked Wisconsin looming.

“We can’t take anyone lightly, and we’re not even looking to Madison right now,” West said. “We’ve got a game to play tomorrow. I think that’s our main focus right now, because we’ve got to come out and play just as if we’re playing in Duluth or Madison tomorrow. We have to come out every weekend like that.”

Her coach is confident that they will.

“It’s early in the season, but that Robert Morris game lit a fire under our team,” Frost said. “I don’t ever have to remind them that it doesn’t matter who our opponent is, they need to be ready to play. Ohio State is a very good hockey club, and we played extremely well tonight.”
Gophers Record First Home Sweep of Season Over Buckeyes

Offense Puts Up 8-Spot for Second Straight Day

10/18/2008 – Minnesota 8, Ohio State 2

Game 2 of the series with Ohio State seemed to be following the same pattern as the Gophers’ one-sided win in Game 1. Minnesota (5-1-0, 4-0-0 WCHA) scored early, this time with 3 minutes elapsed. They increased their lead in the latter stages of the period while continuing to hold OSU without a goal.

Apparently during the second intermission, the Buckeyes decided they’d seen enough of this plot, dialed up their intensity, and scored twice in 2:23 once play resumed to tie the game at 2-2.

“I think we just continued to play like we did in the first, and just felt like it was going to happen, and Ohio came out and played harder,” Minnesota Coach Brad Frost said. “Their hard work paid off, and it was kind of a wakeup call for our kids.”

Jen Schoullis scored what proved to be the gamewinner for Minnesota on a 5-on-3 power play a couple of minutes later, the first of six unanswered goals. For Schoullis, it was her third goal of the weekend.

“I was proud of our kids the way they responded there in the second to get that lead back and then some,” Frost said.

Jenny Lura recorded 11 saves and improved to 3-0 on the season.

Meanwhile, the balanced offense continued with 8 different players netting a goal, at least one from each line and three different power play units. Of the 18 skaters, 13 contributed at least one scoring point.

“When all four lines are contributing into the scoreboard, it’s great for our team,” said Monique Lamoureux, who led the way with a goal and 3 assists. “If we ever have one line struggling to get the puck into the net, we usually have another line that will go and bury it.”

The all-freshmen line of Lamoureux, sister Jocelyne, and Sarah Erickson proved the most prolific with 2 goals and 7 assists between them, including the always-important first goal of the game, when Erickson slammed home a pass on a 2-on-1.

“We knew we wanted to come out strong right away and that’s what we did,” Erickson said. “I think Coach talked about busting for the net. This is a young goalie, she hasn’t had many games, so bust to the net and test her.”

The trio has exhibited unusual cohesion in just five games as a line for the Gophers.

“We actually got to play on a line together before we were even in high school,” Monique Lamoureux said. “We always loved playing together. It seemed to carry over into college pretty well.”

The line of Schoullis between Chelsey Jones and Kelli Blankenship also had a strong game, with each member notching a goal and at least one assist.

“I’ve said it many times, but that’s the biggest strength of our team is our depth,” Frost said. “Nikki Ludwigson getting in the lineup after sitting last night, and she pots a goal home, too.”

For freshman Ludwigson, the goal was her first wearing the “M”.

“My line – [Jamie] Horton and [Terra Rasmussen] – did a great job, and somehow, the puck got through, it got to me, and got in,” she said. “It was an awesome feeling.”

“It’s great that everybody on our line contributed, they either got a goal or an assist. It just gives us a lot of confidence that we’re actually like part of the team and can help the team along.”

Between Minnesota’s depth and relentless attack, they had the Buckeyes worn down by game’s end.

“In the second period, we did a great job of not letting them change, because of the new rule, they ice it and they can’t change,” Monique Lamoureux said. “We did a great job of just keeping it in their zone and that seemed to tire them out for the third period.”

Next week, the challenge gets tougher as Minnesota travels to Madison to take on the top-ranked Badgers, the team that has ended the Gophers’ season each of the last three years.

“Wisconsin is certainly a real tough team,” Frost said. “We’re going to be playing a little more in our D-zone. I felt like we had possession of the puck a lot this weekend which we always want to do, but against Wisconsin, we may not have it as much.”

“We’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing and focus on our D-zone coverage and neutral-ice transition and see if we can’t put some goals home.”
Gophers Escape Huskies

Grogan Keys Win With 25 Saves

10/31/2008 – Minnesota 2, St. Cloud State 1

For the second straight game, Minnesota saw a lead slip away early in the third period, when Sammy Nixon drew St. Cloud State even at 1-1 with just 8 seconds gone.

“Unlike last weekend when we went into the third and they scored, we found a way to get it done tonight,” Coach Brad Frost said. “It wasn’t pretty, but St. Cloud is a very good club.”

Gigi Marvin scored the gamewinner, taking a pass from Kelli Blankenship, and then scoring on her own rebound.

SCSU goalie Ashley Nixon stopped the initial shot, but the puck rolled out behind her as she fell, and Marvin pounced.

“I was glad to see that puck coming out behind her,” Marvin said. “We didn’t put many past her; she stopped pretty much everything we put on her. Thankfully, that puck just kept going, and I put it in the net.”

Blankenship set up the play by finding Marvin alone at the Husky blue line.

“She looked up, kind of like a quarterback checks out their passes,” Marvin said. “Saw Fran, Fran wasn’t open. Looked up again, saw me, fed it over, and she just made the right play. She’s very smart, and she came through and read them.”

Marvin scored with 7:22 remaining, so Minnesota (6-2-1, 5-1-1 WCHA) had to survive a few anxious moments, such as when a St. Cloud player wound up with the puck alone in front of Gopher netminder Alyssa Grogan.

“I was able to save it, luckily,” Grogan said. “It was kind of a quick reaction kind of thing; happened to be able to get a leg on it.”

The Huskies finished the game on a power play, and when they pulled their goaltender, they had a two-skater advantage for the final 51 seconds. However, Grogan and the Minnesota penalty killers were able to deny them the equalizer.

Emily West got the Gophers on the scoreboard first, flipping the puck over Ashley Nixon on the first shift of the second period.

“It all started with [Brittany] Francis’ fore check on that,” West said. “If she hadn’t went hard when they ringed the puck around the net, it wouldn’t have gone out, so she really made that play happen. And Gig really forced the net, too, and took the defender out, so it was the work of a team. Well needed after the first period.”

Minnesota as a team lamented their performance in the opening 20 minutes, when SCSU out shot them 12 to 4 and looked to be the more inspired team.

“We only had three days of practice before the game tonight, and quite honestly, Tuesday and Wednesday weren’t real good,” Frost said. “Yesterday, we had a great practice, so I was hoping that would carry over, but they absolutely took it to us in the first.”

“I feel like we’ve done that way too many times this year,” Marvin said. “Every game, I feel like our first period is sloppy. That’s something we’re obviously going to work on, and we’ve got to get better no question.”

Whatever was said in the locker room, it inspired the Gophers to turn the tables and lead in shots on goal in the second period 15-6 while netting the only goal.

“Everyone was pretty disappointed,” Grogan said. “We all knew we had a lot more in us.”

“We need to certainly play better, but I thought our first line with Gigi and Westy and Franny got the job done for us tonight, and Alyssa Grogan in net played fantastic to get the win,” Frost said.

The two teams travel to St. Cloud to resume the series at 7:07 p.m. at the National Hockey Center.

“I feel like we need to come out all 60 minutes consistent, from the drop of the puck, until we’re congratulating our goalies,” West said. “We can’t take a shift off, we can’t underestimate any opponent, everyone’s good here, and we just have to go into every game knowing that we’re going to have to work our tails off to get a ‘W’ in this conference.”
Gophers Do Enough to Earn 2-1 Win Over Mavericks

Win Moves Team Into WCHA Lead

11/21/2008 - Minnesota 2, Minnesota State - Mankato 1

A lot of teams would be happy with the game that Minnesota played in beating Minnesota State University – Mankato 2 to 1. The Gophers themselves were less than impressed.

“We want to do the little things correctly and do them well,” Coach Brad Frost said. “Tonight, we spent too much time in the box; we spent too much time doing things that we don’t normally do.”

Following a recent pattern, Minnesota (10-2-1, 9-1-1 WCHA) struggled to generate anything positive in the first period of the series. Both teams failed to connect in seven shots on goal in period one.

“We just have to make sure that in our rink, no matter where we are, that first period is key in us setting the tone of the game, instead of us watching what will happen before we decide to show up,” Melanie Gagnon said.

The senior co-captain helped to set the tone when she spotted Brittany Francis alone at the side of the MSU net during a second-period power play.

“They’re really an aggressive team, so we’ve got to catch them when they go a little too aggressive, and that’s what happened on that play,” Gagnon said. “They forgot about Franny back there, and she did a great job of putting it in the net.”

The Mavericks (6-6-1, 3-5-1WCHA) had problems keeping track of Francis on that pivotal power play, and the third time she found herself alone with the puck beside MSU goalie Alli Altmann, she took advantage.

“We switched up our power play this week, so we’re running a sort of different way of doing it,” Francis said. “I felt like they just didn’t know what to do – they didn’t even notice I was there, and I snuck right in.”

Jocelyne Lamoureux gained her team-leading 12th assist on the play.

The Gophers lead doubled midway through the final period. Gagnon sent Monique Lamoureux in on a shorthanded breakaway, and the frosh wing slid the puck neatly through the five-hole.

“Monique went for the middle, and I was going to dump it, and I saw that maybe she had a chance,” Gagnon said. “We got lucky on that play, and she finished it again – great goal. We had to beat that goalie somehow; she played a great game.”

MSU scored a power play goal with 4:13 remaining to provide some added drama. The tension mounted when the Mavericks went back on the power play at the 18:31 mark of the third period and pulled Altmann for an extra attacker.

Jocelyne Lamoureux picked up a loose puck and sped toward the empty net. A Minnesota State back checker was able to disrupt Lamoureux’s shot sufficiently that it bounced harmlessly off the post, but the resulting hooking penalty aided the Gophers in surviving the final minute without further damage.

Grogan improved her season and career record to 5-0-1. The game featured a rare match up of starting goaltenders who were high school teammates last season. Grogan and Altmann shared the position in backstopping Eagan High School to a Minnesota Tournament appearance.

“I’m happy with the two points and putting them in the bank,” Frost said. “I think that we for whatever reason started off sluggishly in the first period. We certainly picked it up in the second and in the third with some good energy. Our fourth line was our best line of the night – provided some great sparks for us.”

The two WCHA points pushed the Gophers ahead of undefeated Wisconsin. The top-ranked Badgers are playing a nonconference series versus New Hampshire this weekend.

Minnesota outshot their opponent 27-8 over the final two frames. Francis thinks her team will need to fire even more shots at the Maverick net to earn a sweep.

“If we get our shots and get our rebounds, they’ll have to go in.”
New Top Line Fuels Gopher Victory Over Mavs

Lamoureux/Lamoureux/Marvin Combine for 5 Goals and 6 Assists

11/22/2008 - Minnesota 6, Minnesota State - Mankato 3

Minnesota’s coaching staff didn’t like what they saw on Friday night in a one-goal win, so they made wholesale changes to the forward lines for Saturday’s rematch with Minnesota State.

The combination of senior co-captain Gigi Marvin, a returning All American, and first-year phenoms Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux spent a lot of their first game together celebrating goals. Every member of the line had at least one goal and at least one assist.

“They are three tremendous players,” Coach Brad Frost said. “The main reason for the move was to get Gigi Marvin going a little bit, and I think she did tonight. I thought the Lamoureux did a nice job of distributing the puck, and I thought Gigi did a nice job of distributing the puck. In order for any line to be successful, that has to happen, and I thought they did that very well tonight.”

“It was fun playing with the Lam’s today – I’ve never played with them,” Marvin said. “I think it was a good little combo.”

Her new center agreed.

“We clicked really well right off the first shift, so it’s only a matter of time before a couple of your chances start going in,” Jocelyne said.

The line scored in every period, including twice producing 2 goals on a single shift in the second period. Monique Lamoureux led the way with two goals and assists on the team’s other goals in the 6-3 triumph.

“I think we all love to play with the puck, but we all know that if we move it to each other, if we get into position, we’re going to get it back,” she said.

Frosh defender Kelly Seeler put Minnesota (11-2-1, 10-1-1 WCHA) ahead to stay at 12:47 of the second period when she rifled in a slap shot for her first collegiate goal.

“It feels really good,” she said. “It was nice to get that first one in.”

Seeler, who features a shot noticeable both for its velocity and her unique windup, said she has worked to speed up her delivery since joining the Gophers.

“Just because there is so much of a speed difference between high school and college – that the girls come out so much faster – you do need to get that shot off quicker, so just practice and repetition really helps.”

Coach Brad Frost was happier with both the result and the energy that went into it.

 “Obviously, we made some changes line-up wise – seemed to pay off today, but I thought all of our lines played well, even though every line didn’t necessarily score.”

 “So much of how we play is dictated not by systems and not by great coaching tactics, but by if we show up ready to play from the drop of the puck,” Frost said. “And if we do, I think we’ll be fine and we’ll be able to play a strong 60 minutes. I thought right away we were ready to go, and that’s to the kids’ credit and nobody else’s.”

Jenny Lura improved her record in the Gopher goal to 6-1 on the season.

Minnesota came into the game averaging slightly less than 20 minutes of penalties per game, but was called for only three minor penalties.

“It was so much fun just going out there and every single time 5-on-5, and I think that adds a lot to the game,” Marvin said. “It was a lot of fun that they put the whistle away, and both teams played pretty clean.”

Up next for the Gophers is Harvard, a team Minnesota hasn’t faced since the 2005 NCAA championship. The teams meet at Ridder Arena for a two game series during Thanksgiving weekend.

“We don’t know as much about them, unlike a WCHA conference team where we don’t even have to go over the game plan because we already know, all the veterans know what is going on,” Marvin said. “It’s going to be a new atmosphere, and we’re going to have to rely on our coaches, and they are going to have to teach us what to look for and what to exploit, and what their weaknesses are.”
Gophers Defeat Harvard 3-1 in First Meeting Since 2005 Championship

Crimson Hold Minnesota to Season Low 22 Shots

11/28/2008 - Minnesota 3, Harvard 1

Whether it was due to the efforts of their opponent, the after effects of a Thanksgiving dinner, or just having an off day, the Minnesota offense didn’t look quite like itself through much of Friday’s game versus Harvard.

“We talked after the first period only getting five shots on net, and the second period getting five more, just getting to the net, getting bodies to the net, and getting the puck to the net,” Coach Brad Frost said.

It took a little while, but the Gophers (12-2-1, 10-1-1 WCHA) finally got untracked a bit in the third, firing 12 shots on goal and finding the net twice. Clinging to a 1-0 lead earned on the first shift of the game, Minnesota got second-chance goals from Kelli Blankenship and Emily West to put the game out of reach of the Crimson (4-3-2, 4-2-2 ECAC).

“Once again with the lead going into the third period, and the kids really responding and putting a team away was good to see,” Frost said.

Sarah Erickson took a pass from Brittany Francis and put a low shot on Harvard goalie Christina Kessler. Blankenship crashed the net, and although Crimson coach Katey Stone protested, the goal stood.

West provided the backbreaking goal shorthanded just after Minnesota had staved off a Harvard 5-on-3 power play.

“[Rachael] Drazan stepped up on the loose puck at the blue line, and didn’t wait for it to come back to her, and that was a key play,” West said. “She moved it up, and I picked it up, and I heard [Monique Lamoureux] calling for it. She had a rocket of a shot, and to be honest, I thought it went in on the shot, and then saw it trickling. It was just laying on the goal line, so I had to push it in.”

Frost agreed the sequence was key to the outcome, as the Gophers lead grew to three with the Crimson hoping to cut it to one.

“It’s such a momentum thing,” he said. “If you score there, obviously it’s huge for them, but to come back and kill it off, and [Alyssa Grogan] again made a huge couple of saves there, we come back and get that shorty, the momentum is significant in our favor and kind of deflates them a little bit.”

Grogan made 19 stops, yielding only a late power-play goal in improving to 6-0-1 on the year.

Lamoureux got Minnesota off to a quick start, scoring her eleventh goal of the year just 32 seconds into the contest.

“[Sister Jocelyne] was yelling for the puck, and the D was reading pass and she went down, and I didn’t pass it,” Monique Lamoureux said. “I got to keep the puck, and the goalie went down too, so I had the whole net to shoot at.”

With her assist on West’s goal, Lamoureux’s team leading point total grew to 25. The Gopher faithful had an anxious moment late in the second period when she went into the boards head first and remained on the ice momentarily before skating shakily to the bench.

“I was seeing stars for a second, but then once I gathered my thoughts after that, I was fine,” she said. “A little headache, but I’m fine.”

After the early goal, Minnesota had few quality scoring chances through the first forty minutes.

“I think we kind of panicked maybe a little bit at first and were rushing ourselves, and we had more time than we thought,” West said.

Minnesota’s power play continued it’s recent struggles, particularly on two first-period attempts when two new units debuted.

“When I switched lines last week, we got into some power plays, but then we had somebody from every line almost on the power play, so it was hard to come back with a regular line after a PP,” Frost said. “We tried to shuffle them up a little bit, and we may go back to it, but it was probably unfair from me to expect our kids to really make that transition going into a really big game with an aggressive penalty kill going against us. We didn’t have a lot of time to practice, so we went back to what at least is comfortable, not necessarily what has been working.”

The two-game series concludes on Saturday at 4:07.

“I thought we played well; I think we can play better,” Monique Lamoureux said. “We definitely need to shoot more, and everybody knows that, so hopefully we can come back tomorrow and do that.”

To earn the sweep, the Gophers will need another team effort.

“From our first line to our fourth line, everybody contributes, and everyone works hard,” West said. “I think that’s a huge up on teams like this. When they roll two, two and a half lines, and we can roll all four comfortably, and know that we’re going to be all right and have everyone working hard, definitely that’s an advantage.”
Gophers Best Crimson 3-2

Schoullis Scores Deciding Goal in Penalty-filled Third Period

11/29/2008 - Minnesota 3, Harvard 2

Harvard and Minnesota combined for 17 minutes of penalties in the third period of Saturday’s game, not including Rachael Drazan’s game misconduct. As the clock wound down inside 5 minutes remaining, each team had scored twice during specialty situations.

But during one of the rare times in the period where both teams were at full strength on the ice, Jen Schoullis scored the game’s only even-strength goal to give the Gophers (13-2-1, 10-1-1 WCHA) a 3-2 win in their final home game of 2008.

“That line (of Schoullis, Emily West, and Brittany Francis) just did a great job tonight, maintaining puck possession and forcing Harvard to chase them, and then taking it to the net and getting some opportunities,” Coach Brad Frost said. “It was great to see Schoullis get rewarded with that gamewinner, because she had a really good weekend and didn’t have much to show for it on the score sheet up until that point.”

Schoullis deflected Michelle Maunu’s shot out of the air and past Christina Kessler. The officials reviewed the goal to see if it had been played with a high stick, but did not find any evidence to overturn the call on the ice.

The sophomore center said her stick contacted the puck between her bottom hand and the blade.

“We were all just praying standing there against the bench, ‘Please be a goal, please be a goal.’ It worked out.”

The goal came just 31 seconds after the expiration of a major penalty on the Gophers for a check from behind had aided Harvard (4-4-2, 4-2-2 ECAC) in drawing even.

“Obviously, they scored one goal, but it is still tied and there is still quite a bit of game left to play,” Maunu said. “You get momentum coming out of that.”

Francis moved the puck to the junior defenseman, who let one fly from the point.

“I just saw the opening, took a shot, and Schouie made an amazing tip,” Maunu said. “I could never do that, so good for her.”

“After two hard games battling, I felt I worked hard,” Schoullis said. “You work hard, you’re bound to get one. It felt really good.”

The teams were tied at one entering the pivotal third period.

“We talked in between the second and third just about how the game was going to come down to guts and character and heart, and I thought our kids showed a ton of it in the third,” Frost said. “Having to overcome that 5-minute [penalty], and then being down 5-on-3 and 6-on-4 at the end.”

Drazan gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead when she got loose on the back door on a power play and redirected West’s pass into the goal. Jenny Lura also earned a helper on the play, the first assist credit to a Gopher goalie in more than four years.

“I had no idea I got an assist until [the public address announcement]”, she said. “I was trying to think back on how it happened, and I couldn’t even figure it out, but it was a good little thing to happen.”

The sophomore stopped 20 shots in upping her personal record to 7 and 1.

“I felt really good out there,” she said. “I was coming off a game that I wasn’t as happy about last weekend, so I wanted to redeem myself.”

Francis opened the scoring 14:40 into the game with an unassisted power play goal.

“We’ve got some work to do for sure on the power play, and we’re just trying to simplify it,” Frost said. “Move the puck, move yourself, and then get the puck to the net.”

The two non-conference wins against a team that is a perennial NCAA contender are bound to serve Minnesota well when the selections for the national tournament are made in March.

“We didn’t know a lot about their team in general, but we obviously knew that they had Sarah Vaillancourt and she’s an amazing player,” Maunu said. “But we’re lucky enough that we play against that caliber in practice every day, so we’re used to it.”

The Gophers wrap up the 2008 portion of the schedule with Friday and Saturday games in Grand Forks.

“We just got to play like we did this weekend,” Schoullis said. “Whether it is Harvard or North Dakota, you’ve got to come out like it is the number one team in the nation. They’ve definitely stepped it up since last year, so we’re going to have to step it up again.”
Top Ranked Gophers End Beavers Winning Streak

Freshman Class Scores All 5 Minnesota Goals

1/21/2008 - Minnesota 5, Bemidji State 1

Minnesota took the ice as the nation’s top ranked team for the first time in four years and skated to a comfortable 5-1 win. The Gophers (20-2-1, 15-1-1 WCHA) outshot the visiting Bemidji State Beavers 49-17 and outscored them in each period.

They didn’t seem all that impressed.

“The game tonight is one where I thought that we started extremely slow,” Coach Brad Frost said. “As the game got going, we started playing better later in the first, and better in the second. I thought in the third we just kind of coasted home.”

Their improved play resulted in part as Monique Lamoureux scored the game’s first two goals. The first came after line mates Jocelyne Lamoureux and Terra Rasmussen put shots on net. With Bemidji goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova down on the ice, Monique collected the rebound and deliberately backhanded it over her and into the goal.

The point was Rasmussen’s first since joining the high-scoring twins on a line.

“She got an assist on the [first goal] just by banging a rebound, and I think Monique cleaned it up,” Frost said. “We’re looking for her to provide some speed up and down the wing, and to clear some space for those guys, and grind it out in the corners. And I think she’s been doing a pretty good job.”

On the second goal, Chelsey Jones got the puck to Jocelyne, who put on a display of high-speed stickhandling before sliding the puck to her sister for a wide-open finish.

“I was thinking shot,” Jocelyne said. “I kind of had my head down just looking at the net, but I heard her yelling off to the side, so I just kind of threw it over there.”

Frost didn’t think that all of his charges were on their game.

“We had some players that played well, and some that didn’t have their best games tonight,” he said.

“I thought Jocelyne and Monique played very well. I thought Dagney Willey had one of her better games on the blue line for us. And Sarah Erickson was getting the puck to the net and good things were happening as well.”

When the Beavers climbed back within one with a goal a minute into the second period, Erickson answered less than two minutes later. She drove the net and redirected Michelle Maunu’s shot behind Tomcikova.

Minnesota added a pair of powerplay goals for the final margin, with Kelly Seeler and Jocelyne Lamoureux collecting the tallies.

Despite having three top players miss the game due to injury, Minnesota got points from 12 different skaters, displaying the balance that has been the team’s strength for much of the season.

“We have four strong lines all of the way through, and it actually really showed,” Rasmussen said. “We didn’t know what to expect from it, because Bemidji is coming off of two great weekends, with a sweep each time. We performed well, and hopefully, we do better tomorrow.”

Rasmussen is adjusting to her new role playing with the twins.

“My role is to pretty much grind in the corners, work hard, and hopefully get it out to them,” she said. “We’ll all just work the puck around. It’s a strength kind of thing – all of us are pretty strong, so I think we work well with one another.”

Jocelyne, whose three points on a goal and two assists led the way, thought taking a first-period lead was key.

“I think it’s really important to get one early on goaltenders, especially on goalies like Tomcikova where they’re going to be stopping you 90, 95 percent of the shots,” she said. “You need to try to get one in right away, try to get their confidence down. She played a good game tonight; kept them in it for the majority of the game.”

Minnesota halted Bemidji’s modest winning streak at four, while the Gophers own run of consecutive victories grew to 15.

Lamoureux said her team needs to bring another strong effort on Saturday as the two teams conclude their series.

“Next weekend (against Minnesota-Duluth), we know that those are going to be tight games,” she said. “Tomorrow night could be a tight game too. We just need to concentrate on ourselves and not worry about who we’re playing.”
Minnesota Overpowers Bemidji St. 11-1

Twin Hat Tricks Fuel Rout

1/17/2009 - Minnesota 11, Bemidji State 1

“Some nights some things go in, and other nights they don’t, and tonight they just kept going in,” said Coach Brad Frost after the Gophers dismantled Bemidji State by an 11-1 score.

Minnesota (21-2-1, 16-1-1 WCHA) has now scored a total of 50 goals in six contests in January.

“I don’t think anybody believes that we’re going to score ten goals a weekend,” Frost said. “But here we are again with another offensive explosion. I don’t think that’s going to happen the rest of the year, but we do have a lot of firepower, and obviously some depth, which is great to see.”

A day after getting points from twelve different players, the Gophers did that one better as thirteen players contributed at least a scoring point. On the weekend, sixteen of the nineteen skaters who played wound up in the scoring column.

“Sometimes we say things and they listen, and sometimes they don’t,” Frost said. “Our goal is to start every period fast, and in particular games. After our slow start last night, that was certainly a point of emphasis tonight, and kids responded very well.”

Yes they did. Minnesota started fast in each period, getting a goal within the first 200 seconds each time.

It took only 19 seconds for Monique Lamoureux to open the scoring, and when the game was over, both she and sister Jocelyne had their first collegiate hat tricks and a trio of assists to match.

“We’re competitive, but we’re not competitive to the point where she gets a goal, you have to get one,” Monique said. “But it’s a good competitiveness we have between each other; we push each other a lot.”

Junior center Jamie Horton scored her first goal of the season in the opening period, as classmate Alexandra Zebro hit her in stride as she walked down the slot and Horton sniped the top corner.

“I guess I could just feel the monkey on my back,” Horton said. “That first shot, I could just feel the relief, and it went in from there.”

A period later, she added a second goal.

“That one was a little easier than the first,” Horton said. “Westy made a great play and the rebound just came right out to me – open net.”

Indicative of the team’s depth, Horton’s line of Laura May and Zebro, listed fourth on the line chart combined for three goals and three assists, the type of production most teams would covet from a first line. Horton credits an increase in shifts over past years for a boost in production.

“I think it’s huge, because it gains confidence for us, and we start clicking as a line,” she said. “Versus last year, sometimes we would struggle to work together, because we didn’t necessarily get the chance.”

Plus in her case, she came into the season healthy, unlike 2007 when she suffered a leg fracture playing in a summer league.

“I had the entire summer to train,” Horton said. “Like last summer, I missed out on that, I was off my feet for a good six weeks.

Zebro had a career high with three assists, doubling her total for the season.

“That was a fun game – thankfully, my teammates can shoot the puck,” she said.

With the return of Rachael Drazan to the lineup, Zebro found herself back on a wing after five straight games at defense.

“I’m trying to be as team oriented as possible,” she said. Wherever the team needs me, that’s where I am going to be. Inspire people, play hard, and try to set an example.”

As has often been the case this season, nobody was as exemplary as the sisters from Grand Forks.

“The Lamoureuxs bring so much intensity, and grit, and selflessness, and goal scoring – they’re just complete hockey players,” Frost said.

Often they are able to make a play because they are able to hold the puck for an extra stride.

“Growing up playing with the boys and then having four older brothers, and them giving us pointers, we learned to be just a little bit more patient,” Monique said. “Holding on for that one extra second will some of the time just open up the net for you, or open up another pass.”

Although everyone enjoys winning, nothing is sweeter than beating the best, and Minnesota gets a shot at that next weekend when #3 ranked and defending champion Minnesota-Duluth comes to Ridder.

“Actually, I think we’re ready for them,” Zebro said. “Whenever they come into our building, it’s the most exciting time. I don’t know what it is; the intensity is just amazing.”

The puck is schedule to drop at 7:07 Friday and 5:07 on Saturday.

We’ve been talking about playing them for the past two weeks,” Monique Lamoureux said. “We’re very excited, and it’s good to have them at home. Hopefully, we can pull out four points.”
#3 UMD Ends Gopher Win Streak at 16

Bad Special-Team Stretch Leads to 4-2 Defeat

1/23/2008 – Minnesota-Duluth 4, Minnesota 2

Minnesota controlled much of the first and third periods, but the Bulldogs dominated the stretch that mattered most. With the Gophers (21-3-1, 16-2-1 WCHA) leading 2-1 late in the second period, Minnesota-Duluth rattled off three special-teams goals in just over three minutes.

“I thought that we came ready to play, and had a really nice first period,” Coach Brad Frost said. “I thought our second period was probably our weakest of the night.”

He wasn’t alone in that assessment.

Haley Irwin tied the game on the power play, when Minnesota failed to clear the puck, and then backed away and allowed her an uncontested shot. It was her second goal of the night, as she’d converted earlier on a breakaway.

When the Gophers went on a power play of their own, intent on regaining the lead, a pair of UMD skaters got behind the defense and Laura Fridfinnson cashed in her own rebound for the gamewinner.

The Bulldogs (16-6-3, 11-5-3 WCHA) added another power play soon after for some insurance.

Frost said, “Credit to them, they knew what they had to do, and that was keep it simple and get pucks deep, and capitalize on their opportunities. And they did a good job of that.”

Minnesota tried to mount a comeback in the final period, out-shooting Duluth 12-3, but was unable to pull closer.

“We had shots, but mostly they were perimeter shots,” Gigi Marvin said. “I don’t think many were quality.”

The senior captain returned to the lineup after missing the Bemidji State series with a shoulder injury, and scored the game’s first goal, going top shelf from in close.

“I was almost a hundred percent,” she said. “It was frustrating at the point that I couldn’t do some minimal things, but it was good, it was good to get out there.”

Some of Minnesota’s frustration could be attributed to UMD senior goaltender Johanna Ellison, making only her second start of the season. Ellison stopped 34 out of 36 shots on the night.
“She made some really nice saves at key times,” Frost said. “We knew she’d be ready to go, coming back to play at Ridder Arena.”

Senior defenseman Rachael Drazan pointed to early scoring chances that went unfinished.

“She’s a good goalie,” Drazan said. “The longer that we let her stay in the game, the better she’s going to get.”

On the bright side for Minnesota, Jaimie Horton scored in her second straight game, giving her team a short-lived lead.

“[Horton] played excellent, provided energy on the puck, and obviously was rewarded with that goal,” Frost said. “She’s playing some good hockey.”

As a team, the Gophers didn’t get the reward they wanted, as they lost for the first time since October.

“We hit a couple of pipes – a few missed passes back door,” Drazan said. “But those are little things that we’ll click on tomorrow. There’s always a chance to redo and learn from our mistakes.”

The teams wrap up their series at 5:07 tomorrow.

“It’s nice to win any kind of game, but especially when you play the top teams in the country and the WCHA, you definitely want to win, and you want to play your best,” Marvin said. “We didn’t do either today, but that’s the joy of the sport is we have another day tomorrow.”
Minnesota Ties UMD, Wins in Shootout

Two Critical WCHA Points Gives Team Tie for League Lead

1/24/2008 – Minnesota 3, UMD 3 (Gophers win shootout 2-0)

Strangely, both Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth may have achieved what they wanted in their tie on Saturday.

By taking three points on the weekend, the Bulldogs (16-6-4, 11-5-4 WCHA) solidified their hold on third place in the WCHA and NCAA standings.

A 2-0 victory in the shootout gave the Gophers (21-3-2, 16-2-2 WCHA) a second conference point and a share of the league lead with Wisconsin.

“Obviously, you want to win a game in regulation or overtime, but it’s two points in the WCHA regardless, so we’re very excited about that,” captain Gigi Marvin said.

For the second consecutive game, Minnesota was unable to hold a lead against their in-state rivals. Down two in the third, the Bulldogs were able to draw even and force a scoreless overtime.

“The third period, I wasn’t upset with our effort by any means, I think it was all there,” Coach Brad Frost said. “They catch some breaks, I guess, and the puck goes in the net, and it ends up 3-3. I thought we continued to battle, we still had some chances there at the end, and couldn’t put it away.”

UMD cut the lead to 3-2 when several Gophers were unable to clear the puck from the slot and Laura Fridfinnson capitalized.

The Bulldogs got the equalizer on a 4-on-3 power play. Michelle Maunu was tripped and slid heavily into the boards, sustaining a slight injury and giving the visitors a momentary 2-skater advantage. Sara O’Toole took advantage of the good fortune, knocking in a rebound.

“They’re a really hard-working team, and a couple simple letdowns on our team and the puck is in the net,” said goaltender Jenny Lura. “It’s all a part of the game, and we’ve got to work with it.”

Minnesota did a better job of remaining poised when they lost their lead than on Friday, when the ‘Dogs caught and passed them in a matter of minutes.

“I thought we continued to battle, we still had some chances there at the end, and couldn’t put it away,” Frost said. “I think the shootout is pretty darn exciting, and I was happy with the result of that.”

Minnesota got shootout goals from Sarah Erickson and Marvin, while Lura denied both UMD attempts.

“My first shootout of the year, so it was a little exciting,” Lura said.

As she did in Madison, Erickson converted on the first Gopher shootout attempt, giving them a lead that they would not relinquish. Marvin’s goal in the third round iced the win.

“Lura did fantastic,” Marvin said. “She’s been on her game all week in practice.

“I guess going into the shootout, obviously my shoulder’s limited, so I knew exactly what I had to do, and what I could do. I took what the goalie gave me. Kind of just what Sarah did, she took exactly what the goalie gave her and kind of the same moves, just different sides.”

The Gophers got second-period goals from Emily West and Monique Lamoureux to go up 3-1 in the final minute.

“[Jocelyne Lamoureux] went to the net and took the defenseman with her, so she should get just as much credit for that goal as I do, because she gives me more time with the puck, for me to make a play,” Monique said.

Jen Schoullis got the game’s first goal when she pounced on a turnover, hesitated a split-second, then whipped a shot high into the net.

For the game, Minnesota outshot UMD 40-22.

The attendance was 2013, Minnesota’s largest home crowd of the season, and Marvin noted that this was the first time the Gopher freshmen had played in front of such a large crowd in Ridder.

“I think they handled it very well,” she said. “It was a great effort all around, and I’m very satisfied with our character.”

Next up is a trip to Mankato where Minnesota hopes to start a new winning streak during a series with the Mavericks.

“I think it will kind of refocus our team and know that we will come out and play a little bit harder the first night,” Lamoureux said. “Hopefully, that will get started this week Monday and have us a good week going into Mankato.”
Minnesota Finally Makes Wisconsin Feel Unwelcome

Jocelyne Lamoureux’s 2 Goals, Assist Spur Offense

2/7/2008 – Minnesota 4, UW 2

There wasn’t literally a monkey on the collective backs of the Gophers. But after failing to win even one of their last 11 meetings with Wisconsin in the state of Minnesota, one could excuse the Maroon & Gold for feeling like they were dealing with something beyond a stubborn Badger.

The seniors for Minnesota (24-3-2, 19-2-2 WCHA) finally got to experience a home victory over Wisconsin (24-2-3, 18-2-3 WCHA).

“I think it’s safe to say for all of the seniors on our team it’s exciting,” senior captain Gigi Marvin said. “It’s long awaited, but once it is here, it felt good. It was a total team effort though. All the girls in the locker room did a fantastic job.”

The Gophers’ 4 to 2 triumph resulted in part because they were able to solve senior goaltender Jessie Vetter.

“We know that Vetter is a great goalie,” Jocelyne Lamoureux said. “She’s one of the best goalies in the country. I think to throw pucks on net, if she can’t see them, the chances are she’s not going to stop them.”

Lamoureux scored a vital first goal 87 seconds into the game by doing just that. The frosh center’s backhand deflected off a Wisconsin defender, leaving Vetter no time to react. Brittany Francis and Rachael Drazan earned assists on the play.

“We’re happy with how we started the game and really kind of pushed the pace,” coach Brad Frost said. “We wanted to extend the lead if we did get up, and I thought we did a good job of that.”

The Gophers pushed their lead to three with a couple of second-period goals. Early in the period, Emily West found herself breaking into the Badger zone three-on-one with the twins from Grand Forks.

“It was a great play by [Monique] there, and she read their defenseman as she pulled over to her,” West said. “Jocelyne made a great play and beat Vet’s to the [puck], and it just happened to fly over [Vetter]. I barely got my stick on it, but that’s how it happens when the two Lam’s work together.”

Jocelyne combined with Lady Luck to increase the lead to three, when a Badger’s pass from beside her net went nowhere but unto Lamoureux’s stick.

“She was trying to make a pass up ice and her stick snapped right in half,” Jocelyne said. “An unlucky break for them, but I’ll take that one as well.”

She wasted no time in zipping a shot into the twine over Vetter’s glove.

Brooke Ammerman got Wisconsin on the board, but Melanie Gagnon gave her team some insurance with a third-period power play goal.

“That fourth goal was directly the result because of a great screen in front [by West],” Frost said.

Meghan Duggan took advantage of some confusion by the Gopher blue line to break down the ice alone and beat Alyssa Grogan for a 4-2 score, but Wisconsin would come no closer, and Grogan’s record improved to 11-1-1 and 1-0-1 versus the Badgers.

“I didn’t feel secure until the last horn went,” Frost said.

Given the way the Badgers had owned the home team in Ridder Arena, that was understandable.

“I think everyone had the mentality that we were going to finally put our foot down and play how we can play against Wisconsin,” West said. “I know that we’ve had trouble with them in the past, and we’re sick of it.”

With the offense doing its part, the Gophers also excelled defensively, limiting the nation’s most prolific offense to 2 goals on just 19 shots.

“In all three zones, I thought we did a really good job,” Frost said. “Our PK was just tremendous tonight. All 21 players that were in the lineup tonight really contributed in ways that will enable a team to win.”

Minnesota was able to buck another trend as well, because in recent history they had struggled to win in front of large home crowds. Saturday’s matchup of the top two teams in the league and the country drew 2,562 spectators.

The challenge now becomes one of extending their success against Wisconsin in the series finale on Sunday and hanging onto their lead in the WCHA race.

“We all went in the locker room, we gave a couple shouts, and obviously we’re pretty excited and happy,” Marvin said. “We kind of let it go and we’re focusing on tomorrow. Yeah, a win is great, but two wins is even better.”
Minnesota Loses Shootout to Badgers

Key Point Keeps Gophers Atop WCHA Standings

2/8/2009 – Wisconsin 3, Minnesota 3 OT  (Badgers win shootout 1-0)

It is said that baseball is a funny game. Hockey can be rather strange as well. Two teams battling down to the final 31 seconds of an overtime tie with one deciding to pull their goaltender is not a common occurrence.

“Knowing that they needed the win, I figured that they would do that,” Brad Frost said of rival coach Mark Johnson’s strategy. “But yeah, it was different.”

Minnesota (24-3-3, 19-2-3 WCHA) was able to hold off the Badgers’ attack with the extra skater, preserve the 3-3 tie, and earn a critical point in the WCHA conference race. Although Wisconsin (24-2-4, 18-2-4 WCHA) took the subsequent shootout when Meghan Duggan was the only shooter to connect, the Gophers hold a one-point lead in the WCHA with each team having four games remaining.

“This was a turning point weekend for us, I believe, to beat Wisconsin on our home ice, and then get that tie tonight,” Frost said. “Destiny is in our hands, and I think our kids are really excited about that.”

When Duggan scored to give the Badgers a 3-2 lead with under six minutes remaining in regulation, her team looked poised to win the game outright and forge a tie in the standings. But Emily West snuck a rebound past Jessie Vetter at the 18:04 mark of the third period, and the crowd of 2,895 and the Gopher bench erupted.

“There’s a shot [from Anne Schleper] on net, and I think it hit Vetter’s pads,” West said. “[Brittany Francis] was sitting right there, and Vets made the second save and then it popped out right onto my stick and I was just in the right place at the right time and snuck it under her arm.”

The goal was as big as any that Minnesota has scored all season, given the difference that a tie versus a loss makes in their WCHA prospects.

“I think we thought we worked too hard to lose the game, and so we had to put everything out there, nothing to save it for,” West said.

That was the second time in the third period that the Gophers had dug themselves out of a hole. Jocelyne Lamoureux knotted the game at 2-2 in the first minute, taking a feed from sister Monique and scoring high glove before Vetter could slide across.

Schleper assisted on that play as well, to go with her first-period goal during a 5-on-3 powerplay that gave her team an early 1-0 lead. Given the stage, it was probably the rookie defenseman’s finest game as a Gopher.

“It’s a different transition from high school to college,” she said. “I think it’s a lot of mental pickup from your self. You just have to go out there every day and continue to work hard, and things will come your way even if you do hit a wall.”

Despite controlling the majority of the opening two periods, Minnesota found themselves on the short end of the score for the first time all weekend when Wisconsin struck for two goals 69 seconds apart just before the second intermission.

“It’s hard to believe that we would come out of that second period down a goal, but a couple of lapses there, getting over aggressive in the neutral ice, and they capitalized,” Frost said.

The box score may show that Vetter allowed 3 goals on 29 shots, but she was the primary reason that her team narrowly missed gaining a split in the series. Many of her saves were of the spectacular variety.

“She was tremendous,” Frost said. “We really felt in control there. Hit the post early on that breakaway, one went through her legs and wide. She made some unbelievable acrobatic saves there and kept her team in it.”

That the race for the conference lead went down to the final seconds of overtime was fitting that little has separated Wisconsin and Minnesota all season. 

“It’s always fun playing Wisconsin as a rival,” Schleper said. “Everyone comes with a whole new energy and a whole new perspective on things coming out here.”

As big as this weekend’s series was, it will shrink in importance if the Gophers slip in the season’s final two weeks.

“We can’t be looking ahead by any means, because there’s nothing to look ahead to, especially in the WCHA with teams like St. Cloud and North Dakota who are playing really well,” West said.
Seeler Scores a Pair in 4-1 Win Over UND

Sluggish Win Is a Win Nonetheless

2/13/2009 –Minnesota 4, North Dakota 1

After the high of last weekend’s series with Wisconsin, a return to earth was somewhat predictable. At least it wasn’t a crash landing.

Freshman defenseman Kelly Seeler had the first two-goal game of her young career to lead Minnesota (25-3-3, 20-2-3 WCHA) to a 4-1 win over North Dakota (13-14-4, 9-13-3 WCHA).

“It was just hard to get the kids going again, because [last weekend] was so mentally and physically taxing,” Coach Brad Frost said. “But it’s no excuse –we’ve got to come out and we’ve got to play.”

Minnesota led 1-0 after an uninspired first period thanks to an unassisted goal by Seeler on a rocket from the point.

“It was obviously nice to get that goal and be ahead after that first period, because I thought for large periods of that period we were outplayed,” Frost said. “We got one early in the second; that got us going.”

The early goal came off the stick of Jocelyne Lamoureux, one-timing a pass from her sister into the top of the net while on the power play.

Seeler took a drop from Gigi Marvin and blasted another one home from the blue line to up the lead to 3-0.

“We noticed that coming into the second that they leave that high ice open,” Seeler said. “It gives a lot of time for the D to take some shots, and also the wings to use the high ice to create some movement on the play.”

Emily West also assisted on the play, extending her streak of consecutive games with at least one point to 17, matching her jersey number.

With just under 3 minutes to play in the game, UND pulled their goalie for an extra attacker in an attempt to draw closer. This time it was Monique’s turn to be on the receiving end of a Lamoureux-to-Lamoureux assist, corralling a pass at the offensive blue line and depositing it in the vacant net.

It wasn’t the first time in the game that North Dakota had replaced their goaltender with a skater in an attempt to find some offense; they did so as well during a powerplay several minutes earlier.

“You’re not used to the opposing team pulling their goalie in the middle of the period,” said senior defenseman Dagney Willey. “It’s kind of an interesting tactic, and it keeps you on your toes.”

The goal and assist increased Monique’s season point total to a national best 62.

The Sioux scored in the final seconds to deny Alyssa Grogan the shutout. Grogan’s record improved to 12-1-2.

The Gophers knew that they had dodged a bullet in winning on a night when they didn’t have their “A” game.

“It wasn’t our best game, but we won,” Seeler said. “Can’t ask for anything more.”

“Last weekend was a really emotional weekend, and I think we were a little tired from that,” Willey said. “But we’re coming back firing tomorrow, and we’re not going to quit.”

Just three games remain in Minnesota’s regular season; a win in each would mean a WCHA title and the first championship at the “U” for any of the current Gophers. Willey knows what it will take to accomplish that.

“Keep working hard, keep the energy up, and keep staying positive,” she said. “And try not to look at what is going to happen in the future, just game by game, shift by shift, period by period.”

That next game comes Saturday at 4:07 as UND and Minnesota complete their series at Ridder Arena.

“We’ll see what tomorrow brings, but it’s a new day, and I think the kids will be ready,” Frost said.
Gophers Bring More Energy, Sweep Sioux 5-0

Solid Team Effort Highlighted by 2 Shorties

2/14/2009 –Minnesota 5, North Dakota 0

The box scores looked rather similar for both games of Minnesota’s series with North Dakota. However, the product on the ice looked much better on Saturday as the Gophers (26-3-3, 21-2-3 WCHA) completed the sweep over the Fighting Sioux (13-15-4, 9-14-3 WCHA).

“Much better effort tonight, I thought,” coach Brad Frost said. “Right from the drop of the puck tonight we came out and played a full 60 minutes. I thought we played pretty sound all over the ice.”

As has been the norm, both Lamoureuxs showed up in the scoring column – Monique with a pair of assists, Jocelyne with two goals, including the only one her team would ultimately need at 11:38 of the first period.

“Monique was calling for a drop pass, so I dropped it to her, and I just tried to cause a screen in front of the net, and get in the goalie’s way,” Jocelyne said. “She shot it, it just happened to hit my stick and go in.”

Melanie Gagnon also assisted on the play.

Sarah Erickson doubled the Gopher lead early in period number two, taking a feed from Brittany Francis, putting a hard shot on net, and putting her own rebound away upstairs.

“If we can get shots on net, look what happens,” Erickson. “If we can keep doing that as a team – in practice, or even around the locker room, [we say,] ‘shoot the puck, shoot the puck, good things will happen, and bust the net when you do.’”

At the six-minute mark, Lamoureux struck again, on a pretty passing sequence where all four Minnesota skaters on the ice touched the puck.

“We were shorthanded on that play, so it was nice,” Jocelyne said. “We had full possession and moved it, made a couple of passes, and Seeler made that shot from the point. The goalie kicked out a nice rebound, and I was in the right place at the right time.”

The game was pretty well out of reach once Emily West took a pass on her tape from Jen Schoullis, broke in alone in the period’s final minute, and slid the puck through the five hole.

“It was definitely a great breakout, from Gigi [Marvin] to Schou, and then I just drove wide, and luckily was able to beat their defenseman at the end of the period and put it home,” West said.

Marvin added the final goal in the game’s last minute. While on a power play, UND pulled their goaltender, but Marvin found the net for Minnesota’s second shorthander of the game and ninth of the season.

“It was just a good team effort,” Frost said. “Everybody in the lineup played, and played well I thought.”

Jenny Lura stopped 16 shots in earning her second shutout of the year.

The win keeps the Gophers in position to win their first WCHA crown since 2005, as they continue to lead Wisconsin by a point. Minnesota will close out the regular season next weekend with a crucial home-and-home series with Saint Cloud State.

“Everyone team in the WCHA is willing to show up any weekend, and we have to remember that,” West said. “It’s not going to be an easy walk against any team. We have to know that and show up to every game.”
Gophers Beat Huskies 3-1, Claim WCHA Season Crown

Comeback Win Brings First Championship Since 2005

2/21/2009 – Minnesota 3, St. Cloud State 1

No player on the current roster had celebrated a championship of any kind during their Gopher careers. So as the final seconds wound down on their 3-1 triumph over St. Cloud State, they swarmed in celebration with joy, and perhaps a touch of relief.

“We can finally hang something in Ridder,” senior co-captain Gigi Marvin said. “We don’t have to go out with absolutely nothing of our legacy.”

Needing two points to earn the conference championship outright, it briefly looked like it might all slip away when the Huskies (14-16-4, 11-14-3 WCHA) jumped out to a 1-0 first-period advantage.

The Gophers (28-3-3, 23-2-3 WCHA) had only 31 seconds of powerplay in the opening period, but it was enough for Marvin to draw her team even when she snapped a wrist shot under the crossbar. Defenseman Rachael Drazan slid the puck to Marvin as she fell just inside the SCSU blue line.

“I thought she was going down, and all of a sudden the puck was on my stick,” Marvin said. “I was pretty happy about that; she was thrilled that we didn’t have to back check.”

Minnesota survived 5 minor penalties whistled against them in a ragged opening 20 minutes.

“We’ve taken penalties all year,” coach Brad Frost said. “We’ve been trying to become more disciplined, and sometimes we are, and sometimes our emotions continue to get the best of us. It’s nice that the PK is stepping up when we need it to.”

When Minnesota finally got another chance at a manpower advantage, Sarah Erickson fired home the eventual gamewinner at 8:09 of the second period. The Lamoureux sisters combined on the assists.

“We talked about getting over the blue line, trying to get it deep, and Jocelyne made a nice pass to an area, and I just ended up being in that area,” Erickson said. “I took the shot with a screen, low blocker, and I was fortunate for it to go in.”

The Huskies refused to go away, but at 15:25 of the final period, Monique Lamoureux finally potted an insurance goal. She pounced on a turnover at the blue line, walked the puck down low, and slid it around the keeper.

“That third goal was huge for us, a huge momentum-builder,” Erickson said. “It’s kind of a sigh of relief.”
The goal was Lamoureux’s 33rd of her rookie campaign, equaling the level established by Jenny Potter (Schmidgall) and Natalie Darwitz for first-year Gophers.

“Look at her points,” Erickson said. “She’s obviously a great player. A lot of people don’t have the heart like she does.”

With the tallies by Erickson and Lamoureux, the freshman class has now totaled 80 goals on the year.

“Everyone keeps saying that the seniors finally did it, but I think that our freshmen are definitely helping us out,” Melanie Gagnon, the other Gopher senior captain, said.

Jenny Lura stopped 21 shots for the victory, improving her personal record to 14-1-1 for the season. Kim Hanlon celebrated Senior Night by playing the last minute and a half in net.

“It’s been an awesome ride so far,” Frost said. “It’s been a long time, four years, and it’s the first championship that our senior class has won. I’m really proud of them, and proud of our whole team, because everybody, whether they played tonight or not, is a huge part of it.”

Minnesota doesn’t have long to savor their championship, as they open the WCHA tournament as the top seed by hosting Bemidji State on Friday night at 6:07.

“The WCHA is such a great league that even though they’re ranked eight, they can play with anyone in our league,” Gagnon said. “That’s the beauty of it, that we don’t really get a letdown, we always get challenged every game. So we’re looking forward to a new challenge next week.”

The winner of the best-of-three series will advance to the WCHA Final Faceoff on March 7th and 8th at Ridder.

“We came into the season this year with the team we had wanting to win the WCHA, wanting to win the Final Faceoff, and then national championship,” Gagnon said. “We just took one step towards what we wanted to do. Now we’ve got a lot more work to do before we can call ourselves champions.”

Gophers Open Postseason with 4-1 Win Over Bemidji State

Ten Different Players Contribute a Single Point

2/27/2009 – Minnesota 4, Bemiji State 1

Bemidji State played with the determination of a team attempting to extend their season beyond this weekend. Minnesota managed to mix just enough effort with their advantage in talent to push the Beavers (6-24-5, 3-23-3 WCHA) to the brink of elimination nonetheless.

“I thought Alyssa [Grogan] played well and kept us in front there in early stretches of the game when we were kind of going through the motions,” coach Brad Frost said. “We were able to capitalize on a few opportunities and get the win tonight.”

Minnesota (29-3-3, 24-2-3 WCHA) won each of the three periods, outscoring BSU 2-1 in the second while getting the only goal in both the first and third. But they carried the play most convincingly in the middle frame, attempting 34 shots to 7 by the Beavers, and enjoying a 17-3 advantage in shots on goal.

“In particular in the second period I thought we played really well and got some great chances,” Frost said.

As has been their recipe for success all season, Minnesota got contributions throughout their lineup. Jen Schoullis, Monique Lamoureux, Jaimie Horton, and Emily West all scored; Kelli Blankenship, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Dagney Willey, Kelly Seeler, Melanie Gagnon, and Gigi Marvin assisted.

In another sign of their balance, 17 of the 18 Gopher skaters were plus for the game.

“I was proud of the way they responded there in the second period,” Frost said. “It’s really on their shoulders. We can do so much as coaches, but they need to go out and play.”

Schoullis put her team ahead to stay at 7:13 of the first period. While Minnesota was in the midst of a line change, Blankenship came up with the puck behind the Beaver net with Zuzana Tomcikova out of position. Schoullis managed to slide it under the goalie.

“The majority of the goals were just hard-working goals,” Schoullis said. “They’re not going to be pretty from here on out, and that’s fine with us – a goal is a goal.”

That’s perhaps a fitting way to defeat Bemidji State, because few teams work harder than the Beavers.

“They’re well coached; they use what they have,” Schoullis said of the opponent. “We’ve just got to work harder than they do every day.”
The Gopher fourth line has been as good as any part of the team in bringing a consistent effort.

“When the team is struggling and we’re not getting on the ice, it is frustrating standing there watching,” said center Horton. “So when we go out there, we just want to spark the team, because that’s our job.”

Horton put the Gophs up 3-1 when she managed to deflect a Seeler slap shot into the net.

“She has a rocket,” Horton said. “I don’t know how that kid gets it off.”

With the onset of the postseason, no team has to apologize for a victory. Despite being happy with the result, Minnesota was frustrated by how it was achieved.

“Tonight I think the majority of the team took on some bad habits at the beginning of the game, and followed through to the end of the game,” Schoullis said. “We’re circling, not stopping and starting. We need to get our heads into it more and know that Bemidji is not wanting their season to end tomorrow night, so it’s going to be a tough game.”

And the Beavers certainly didn’t look like a last-place team.

“I think they’re playing with more confidence,” Frost said. “Their power play is much improved; their penalty kill is doing some nice things. When you have a goaltender like they have, you’re going to be in almost every game.”

Minnesota understands the task ahead, and Schoullis for one is ready to accept it.

“We’ve got to score early. We can’t wait until the second period, third period – it just builds their confidence. You’ll be expecting a lot of shots in the first tomorrow.”

The series continues Saturday at 4:07 in Ridder Arena; a BSU win forces a deciding third game at the same time on Sunday.
Top-seeded Gophers Advance to WCHA Final Faceoff

Lamoureux Twins Combine for 4 Goals

2/28/2009 – Minnesota 5, Bemiji State 1

A hungry opponent, a hot goalie, a favored Minnesota team not quite playing its best game – that sounds like the recipe for an upset. However when the ingredients include Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, the final result usually proves to the Gophers’ liking.

The sisters each notched a pair of goals as Minnesota (30-3-3, 23-2-3 WCHA) wrapped up their quarterfinal series against Bemidji State (6-25-5, 3-22-3 WCHA) in two games. They also had 3 primary assists between them.

“It’s just a continuation of what they’ve been doing all year,” coach Brad Frost said. “Last couple games, they’ve kind of been off the score sheet for the most part, so it was good to get them going again tonight.”

Zuzana Tomcikova was sensational early in the Beaver net keeping the game scoreless for a period, but eventually Jocelyne Lamoureux solved her.

“It was a 1-on-1 and I shot it right in the girl’s shins and it came back and I got the second shot,” she said.

Monique added two goals 10 minutes apart for a 3-0 lead after two. The first came shorthanded when Jocelyne spotted her all alone at the far blue line.

“I just tried to get her a hard pass right up the middle,” Jocelyne said. “It went right over their D’s stick, so it was a nice little bounce.”

Monique went in alone and tucked the puck neatly through the five hole.

“We knew we just had to get [Tomcikova] moving laterally, she’s obviously really big, so she’ll cover a lot of the net even when she’s down,” Monique said. “So we knew we had to get her down and moving, and we knew we could slip some past her.”

Monique and Gigi Marvin roofed the next two goals for the Gophers on close in chances.

After Bemdji got on the board with a rebound goal by Erin Johnson, Jocelyne closed the scoring by going upstairs once more.

“I think the kids were just shooting to score and finding their spots, and fortunately were hitting them tonight,” Frost said.

Jenny Lura started in goal and improved to 15-1-1 on the year, with Kim Hanlon playing the latter half of the final period.

“It’s obviously a tough thing for [Hanlon] being a senior and having two other goalies ahead of her, but her attitude has been fantastic,” Frost said. “She’s been a team player through this whole thing and continues to work hard. Any time that we can look to reward her I want to do that.”

The coach was happy with the performance throughout in the second game, particularly after Friday’s flat start.

“We’ll have some problems next week if that is how we show up to play,” Jocelyne said. “I think we know that we need to get things together faster next week, so hopefully that happens.”

The Gophers will play in the first semifinal at 1 p.m. at Ridder Arena, while seconded-seeded Wisconsin and defending champion Minnesota-Duluth are set to collide in the later contest.

“I think we know we need to play a little bit better next weekend,” Monique said. “We’ll either play St. Cloud or Mankato, and we’ll definitely be ready to play.”

WCHA Final Face-off

Minnesota 7, Minnesota State 2

My recap for the WCHA Semifinal win over Minnesota State is available on USCHO by clicking this link.

Wisconsin 5, Minnesota 3

My recap for the WCHA Final loss to Wisconsin is available on USCHO by clicking this link.
Gophers Host Boston College for NCAA Quarterfinal

After last season’s NCAA tournament selections, and the decision to have two intraconference quarterfinal pairings in an effort to reduce travel costs, nobody was quite sure what the selection committee would choose to do today.

So there was some relief, not just for this year but for the future as well, when the Minnesota team saw their name appear as a host for the Boston College Eagles in a quarter on March 14th at 4 p.m. in Ridder Arena.

“We thought maybe they would put us against Duluth based on geographic location, but I think it’s great to see that they went exactly by the numbers,” said junior Michelle Maunu.

Instead, UMD was sent to New Hampshire in a rematch of their Frozen Four semifinal of 2008, which the Bulldogs won 3-2 despite being heavily outshot.

Minnesota met the Eagles in a regular season series a year ago, winning 2-1 a day after playing to a 2-2 tie.

“The more you know about a team, the better off you are,” Maunu said. “We know that obviously [Allie] Thunstrom and [Kelli] Stack play very well on a line together. They have great goaltending. We can kind of go from there and know just a couple of things that we need to do to win that game.”

“Obviously there’s some familiarity, but they’ve got a great freshman class,” said Brad Frost. “And Molly Schaus, everybody knows about her. We’re a much different team than we were last year, and I’d assume they’re a little different as well.”

Coming off a tough loss in the WCHA Final, Minnesota must regroup quickly.

“I think we just kind of have to refocus -- just start from scratch,” Maunu said. “Go into this week of practice and work our butts off and prepare for a new opponent.”

“The nice thing about today is we lose and our season is not over. Now we’re into the place where you lose, you’re out.”

The Gophers achieved their first objective, but fell a bit short of the second. Next come the biggest prizes of all.

“We want to get to the Frozen Four to give ourselves an opportunity,” Frost said. “As I told the girls earlier, whoever it is, all they are is a team that’s in our way in helping us reach our goal.”

If the Gophers were to reach the Frozen Four in Boston, they would face the winner of a quarterfinal between St. Lawrence and Mercyhurst to be played in Erie, PA. Meanwhile, the Badgers host Dartmouth for the right to play the Bulldog/Wildcat winner at the Frozen Four.

“We have to take advantage of everything we get,” frosh Anne Schleper said. “With the way that the brackets are set up, with Duluth and Wisconsin from our conference [in the same half], and kind of see how it comes out. Hopefully, it works out for our advantage.”

But it won’t matter who Minnesota is playing if they don’t execute better than they did against the Badgers.

“People saw that we got in trouble with penalties today,” Maunu said. “We just need to be a little more disciplined.”

For now, the schedule contains but one solitary opponent -- B.C.

“I think this weekend opened up our eyes to that, and how we do have to focus one game at a time,” Schleper said.
Gophers’ Quick Start Barely Enough Against Eagles

Minnesota Builds 3-Goal Lead and Survives BC Comeback

Minnesota advanced to the Frozen Four with a 4-3 win over Boston College in a game that had three stages. The Gophers (32-4-3, 23-2-3 WCHA) exploded in the opening ten minutes, cruised for the next 20, and then hung on for dear life.

“Great start obviously to the game,” Coach Brad Frost said. “We couldn’t have asked for anything better than that.”
When you’re an underdog playing on the road in the NCAA tournament, you just want to be able to survive the opening minutes of the game and let your players get settled. Because of a couple of early penalties and an offensive burst by Minnesota senior co-captain Gigi Marvin, the Eagles (22-9-5, 13-5-3 HEA) never got that opportunity.

“That was the hope, that we would get through that first ten minutes and kind of pick it up after that,” Coach Katie King said. “It is tough when 15 seconds in they call a penalty. That’s a tough thing, especially at an away building, in a building like this where you get such a great crowd and people get into it.”
Marvin scored power play goals at 48 seconds and 3:15 of the first period, and the Gophers were off and running. On the first, she took a touch pass from Melanie Gagnon, stormed up the right side of the ice, gave Molly Schaus a fake, and flipped the puck into the net on the glove side. Goalie Alyssa Grogan got her first career assist on the play.

On the second tally, Marvin followed up shots by Emily West and Brittany Francis and lobbed the rebound over Schaus.

“I think everyone wanted to win today, and obviously you have to go out and jump out on them -- have a fast start,” Marvin said.

Only 80 seconds later, frosh Mary Restuccia pulled BC to within 2-1 when her shot from behind the net found the skate of a Gopher defender and a path by Grogan. Allie Thunstrom had the only assist.

“I got lucky,” Restuccia said. “It just shows if you put anything in front, it has a chance of going in.”
In the game’s ninth minute, Minnesota brought the crowd of 1,530 to life twice more. A harmless looking shot by Rachael Drazan eluded Schaus for 3-1; Francis deflected in a pass from Gagnon, and BC was looking at a 3-goal deficit.

After racing to their 4-1 lead, the Gophers appeared content to just let the minutes tick by, and 24 of them did.

Then while on the penalty kill, Monique Lamoureux hit Shannon Webster into the boards. Webster had to be helped from the ice, although she would later return to the game. Lamoureux received a 5-minute major and a game misconduct, and her day was done.
“I think that helped us build up more momentum, just knowing that one of their star players is out of the game for doing something stupid,” Restuccia said.

“In the second period when we got that 5-minute major, we looked up and the shots were 21-9, and we were in control,” Frost said.

That control quickly lessened. Minnesota weathered the initial 5-on-3 disadvantage, but Restuccia found the back of the net once more while the 5-on-4 power play continued. Assisting her were Kelli Stack and Schaus -- rare is the hockey game where both goaltenders get into the scoring column.
When the Gophers were assessed another penalty and went two skaters down once more, Grogan helped her team in a more conventional way, stopping a number of quality scoring chances as the Eagles put 11 powerplay shots on goal in the period.

“We have in my opinion one of the best goaltenders behind us, so I was confident in her, and she did a phenomenal job stopping those pucks; I don’t know how she stopped them,” Marvin said. “She’s done that all year for us.”

“Our D did a really good job of keeping the shots from the outside and picking up the sticks in front,” Grogan said. “They made my job a lot easier than it could have been, certainly. I had my rabbit’s foot in my pocket on a few of them.”

The rabbit’s foot failed her once more in the third, and Meghan Fardelman redirected a Stack shot into the goal and Boston College was back in the game at 4-3 with nearly 15 minutes remaining.

“Being down 4-1, it’s not easy to come back, and I thought we did an unbelievable job of battling back and making it a really good game,” King said. “I’m really proud of our kids.”

The situation grew tenser when the Eagles replaced Schaus for an extra skater with just under two minutes to go. Although they pressed hard, the all-important fourth goal eluded them due to the efforts of Grogan and the Minnesota defense.

“She did very well,” Stack said. “For being a freshman, she handled the pressure very well. I guess just got to keep the shots low on her; put in the rebounds.”

“[Jen Schoullis] was down there, I think she got two of them with her head,” Grogan said. “[West] got a stick across the throat. They were going to win that game no matter what it took, and I think it showed. I think they probably blocked more shots than I saw in the last flurry, so credit a lot of the finish to them and everyone else on the ice doing their jobs.”

Though their season ends, the BC players earned the admiration of their coach.

“I’m extremely impressed with all our kids from number 1 to number 21,” King said. “They did an amazing job.”

Her opposite number was equally proud.

“I think the kids kind of took initially what might have been, ‘oh gee, we are letting this slip away.’ -- nobody said that, but it kind of looked like we were thinking that, and they just turned the switch and said let’s go out and win ourselves a hockey game,” Frost said.

If Minnesota won in large part due to their early offense, they did so in equal measure thanks to their defense down the stretch.

“Taking pucks and sticks and sacrificing their bodies just to win that game, and that’s how important it was to these guys," the Minnesota coach said. "There is no doubt we have warriors on our team, and that’s what I love about our club.”

"We’re ecstatic that we’re heading to Boston and helping to represent the WCHA,” Frost said. “Our season is still alive, so we’re very happy about that, and look forward to playing Mercyhurst on Friday.”

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