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Continued: Gophers women's hockey team is more than perfect in 2013

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 25, 2013 - 8:52 AM

After being held without a point in the semifinals, Kessel looked like her old self in the title game, notching two goals and two assists in the 6-3 victory over Boston University.

During the celebration, Frost kept looking up at the crowd. Scalpers outside Ridder Arena were getting $65 per ticket, more than 10 times face value.

“It felt like fans were hanging from the rafters,” Frost said. “It was incredible how many people they got into that 3,400-seat facility.”

And now the page turns

It was tough to see the game if you weren’t there, since it wasn’t televised. The only live video came courtesy of NCAA.com. In that sense, women’s hockey still has a long way to go.

Frost is serving on a committee that is focused on getting future NCAA championship games on television. Meanwhile, his team is right back atop the national rankings at the halfway point of a new season.

“I feel like we have a blueprint for success in the way we do things and the way we treat our student-athletes,” Frost said. “But we’re so much younger, and Noora Raty isn’t in net, and Megan Bozek isn’t anchoring the blue line, and Amanda Kessel isn’t scoring 100 points.

“What’s interesting about this team is, even though it’s different, we now have many other kids stepping up and providing great leadership.”

The day the streak ended, Bozek watched on a computer, sitting alongside the Lamoureux twins — her North Dakota rivals and U.S. Olympic teammates, who spent one season with the Gophers before transferring. Bozek said she wasn’t surprised to see this year’s Gophers keep the streak alive for an additional 13 games.

“They have leaders in every class, whether it’s freshman Dani Cameranesi or Hannah Brandt, the sophomore with 100 points,” Bozek said. “The talent, the skill, it’s there for them. The new streak started the day after that.”

Indeed, since then the Gophers have rolled off a six-game winning streak. Attendance hasn’t suffered.

“When they finally lost, in a weird way I felt like I was finally able to breathe again at their games,” said John Munson, a local musician who has become one of the team’s biggest fans.

Frost’s team remains focused on a three-peat. And if that sounds tough, so did finishing 41-0 last season.

“I thought it was impossible,” Kessel said. “We made the impossible possible.”

















 

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  • The Gophers turned their celebration into a pile of smiles after they beat Boston for the NCAA championship last March in Ridder Arena. That made it a 41-0 season, a run of perfection that continued to grow.

  • Amanda Kessel (8) exited the 2012-13 season with a trophy held high and more. She scored more than 100 points and won the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in women’s college hockey.

  • Coach Brad Frost used to call his team “the best-kept secret in town,” but attendance is way up.

  • From left, Amanda Kessel, Megan Bozek and Noora Raty were the three Kazmaier Award finalists.

  • When the team gathers on the Ridder Arena ice, signs of success hang above. “We have a blueprint for success,” coach Brad Frost said.

  • The Gophers’ Kelly Terry jammed the winning goal past North Dakota’s Shelby Amsley-Benzie late in the third overtime of the NCAA quarterfinal, and perfection was preserved once again.

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