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U women's puck: Blankenship earns post-grad scholarship

  • Blog Post by: Roman Augustoviz
  • June 9, 2011 - 12:02 AM

Senior Kelli Blankenship of the Gophers women's hockey team has received one of the three WCHA post-graduate scholarships for 2011-12.

She and Courtney Josefson of St. Cloud State will each receive a $5,000 grant. Kyle Schmidt of UMD will receive a $10,000 grant because he is the lone men's recipient.

Blankenship earned a degree in kinesiology-exercise science, had a 3.47 GPA and was on the all-WCHA academic team three times.

She had 28 goals and 33 assists for 61 points in her 148-game career and played in two Frozen Fours.

"Kelli is the definition of a student-athlete," Gophers women's hockey coach Brad Frost said. "Academics was always just as important to her as atheletics. On the ice, she was never our leading scorer, but she played a vital role in our team's success. She was fast, smooth and a threat when she was on the ice; she always played her best in the big games.

"Kelli is one of the greatest success stories we've ever had at Minnesota. She has struggled with dyslexia and perfectionism throughout her life and almost wasn't admitted to UM."

Blankenship has been accepted into the dental hygiene program at the U of M.

* Seth Ambroz, a Gophers recruit, finished in the top 10 in several categories at the NHL combine in Toronto. He is expected to come in and be a top six forward for the Gophers, probably at right wing. He is 6-2, 215 or so.

bench press: tied for 5th with 12 reps of 150 pounds

lbs. lifted per body weight: 8th

upper body power: 8th

aerobic fitness: 10th

* Left wing Michael Mersch, who accelerated his education to play at Wisconsin last season, is rated as the 50th best prospect by the Red Line Report for the NHL draft on June 24 and 25 at the X. The Red Line Report is an independent international scouting service. Mersch is 6-2, 200.

It rates Joe LaBate, a Holy Angels forward, No. 65 and defenseman Frankie Simonelli No. 131. LaBate will be a freshman, Simonelli a sophomore for Badgers in 2011-12.

* Stop the presses. This can't be true -- but it is. Burnsville High School defenseman Eddie Wittchow had turned down a chance to play for Wisconsin this coming season.

He was quoted in a Madison blog as saying, "I don't think I was ready for that. I'm not ready physically and I'm not ready mentally." 

Wittchow will play for Waterloo of USHL instead. He is 6-3, 185.

Among the schools besides Wisconsin he is interested in are the Gophers, Colorado College and Ohio State. 

* Kurt Kleinendorst of Grand Rapids coached Binghamton which beat Houston 4-2 on Tuesday to win the Calder Cup, which goes to the winner of the American Hockey League playoffs.  

* Former Minnesota State defenseman Kurt Davis has signed with a team in Sweden for next season. Sodertalje SK it's called.

* Wayne State, which dropped men's hockey a few years ago, is dropping women's hockey for next season. An online petition drive has started on change.org (then search for Wayne State). Announcement was made late last month. Didn't give players much time to find another team.

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