Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.
One reason the Gophers are so dominant in women's hockey this season -- 28-0-0 and ranked No. 1 -- is that coach Brad Frost has recruited well.
He has two amazing forwards in junior Amanda Kessel and freshman Hannah Brandt, linemates who are 1-2 in scoring nationally.
Kessel has 37 goals and 46 assists for 83 points. Brandt, the center on the Gophers' top line, has 26 goals and 41 assists for 67 points.
On the blue line is senior Megan Bozek, second in scoring among defensemen with 13 goals and 28 assists for 41 points.
In the nets is senior Noora Raty. She is second in the nation with a 0.91 goals-against average, first in save percentage at .958 and first in shutouts with 11.
That's a lot of star power. And Frost goes all over to collect it. Kessel is from Madison, Wis., Brandt from Vadnais Heights, Bozek from Buffalo Grove, Ill., and Raty from Espoo, Finland.
Next season's class, which signed in November, is more Minnesota-focused. Six players from the state, including five who are among the 10 semifinals for the Ms. Hockey Award, and one from Illinois, are in the Class of 2013.
The Gophers have signed 13 Ms. Hockeys and have three on the team at the present time: Brandt in 2012, Bethany Brauser in 2010 and Becky Kortum in 2009. ... The only Minnesotan not a Ms. Hockey finalist the Gophers signed fort next season is defenseman Kelsey Cline of Bloomington Jefferson.
Here is a look at the incoming recruiting class:
Dani Cameranesi, 5-5 forward, senior at Blake, lives in Plymouth
* member of the U.S. Under-18 team
* second-leading scorer in metro area with 49 goals and 32 assists for 81 points. .... Bears were 17-5-3 coming into this week
* on varsity since eighth grade, three times all-state
* scored 35 goals as sophomore, 48 last season
* earnedilver medal with Team USA in U18 Women's World Championships in Czech Republic last year
* Brother Tony is a freshman forward for Minnesota Duluth, sister Sam is a member of the Gophers’ dance team
Frost says: "Dani is an incredible player and leader. She has tremendous speed and is relentless on the puck. Dani is very responsible in all three zones and is a complete hockey player.”
Kelsey Cline, 5-6 defenseman, senior at Bloomington Jefferson
* Has played five seasons at the varsity level for Jaguars
* 25 points as sophomore, 33 as junior, 41 so far this season on 20 goals, 21 assists for Jaguars who were 15-9-1 coming into this week
* Played on the Minnesota Junior Whitecaps during the summer
* Four-time All-South Suburban pick
* Attended two USA Hockey Development Camps.
* Frost says: “Kelsey is a very intelligent defenseman. She moves the puck extremely well and will also generate some offense for us.”
Kate Flug, 5-8 forward, senior at Roseville
* Has 28 goals and 52 points this season for Raiders who were 17-7-1 coming into this week
*. As a junior she had 42 goals and 70 points as Raiders finished second in Class 2A state tournament, won state title as freshman
* Five-year varsity player, all-state and all-metro as junior and played for Minnesota Junior Whitecaps
* Earned a silver medal at the 2012 IIHF U-18 women’s world championships in Czech Republic
* Frost says: “Kate continues the Roseville tradition with Gopher Women's Hockey. She has very quick hands and creates scoring opportunities for herself and her line mates. Kate is shifty and has great speed.”
Paige Haley, 5-9 defenseman, senior at Red Wing
* Has 18 goals and a whopping 42 assists for 60 points for Wingers, who were 21-2 coming into this week
* As junior had 33 goals and 71 points, was all-state honorable mention
* Helped Wingers reach the Class 1A state tournament in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and was named to all-tournament team last two times
*. Participated in USA Hockey development camps and played for the Minnesota Junior Whitecaps
* Frost says: “Paige is a strong defenseman with a big shot. She sees the ice well and makes a great first pass. Paige is strong on the puck and will be a very good offensive presence for us on the blueline.”
Sidney Peters, 5-10 goalie, plays for North American Hockey Academy, from Geneva, Ill.
* Competing for five USA National Championships, getting two silver and two bronze nedals
* Earned silver medal with U.S. team at the IIHF U-18 women’s world championships in Czech Republic last year
* Frost says: “Sidney is a nice, big, athletic goaltender. She moves well and anticipates the play. Her experience with the U-18 team will be invaluable as she plays at the next level.”
Kate Schipper, 5-4 forward, senior at Breck, lives in Brooklyn Park
* Has 21 goals and 48 points for Mustangs who were 13-11-1 coming into this week
* Member of the U.S. U18 team the past two years
* .In past four seasons, helped Breck reach three Class 1A state tournament, won state title in 2012
* As junior had Schipper had 33 goals and 57 points, and was all-state
* Earned silver medal with U.S. team at IIHF U-18 women’s world championships in Czech Republic in 2012
* Frost says: “Kate is a smooth skating forward. She sees the ice well and has a very good top speed. Her experience with the U-18 team will be very beneficial to her.”
Megan Wolfe, 5-8 forward, senior at Eagan
* Has 24 goals and 45 points for the Wildcats, who were 15-9-1 coming into this week
* Her Wildcats finished fourth in the 2012 Class 2A state tournament when she had 44 goals and 70 points and was all-state honorable mention
* Has played for Minnesota Junior Whitecaps
* Frost says:“Megan is a big, strong forward who has great skills. She has good vision and a very good release. She is an effortless skater who will do excellent things.”
Just think how much media hysteria there would be if the men's and women's basketball teams at the U of M were both No. 1s in the land?
Well, the men's and women's hockey teams continue to be and it's almost expected. Especially on the women's side.
The U women have been unanimous No. 1s since the start of the season -- 18 weeks in all. They are 28-0-0 overall, 22-0-0 in conference play.
Looks like they have a good shot at finishing regular season 34-0-0 with only three weekends of WCHA games left. They play at Ohio State, tied for third in WCHA. That might be a little tricky. But then they finish with Bemidji State at home and St. Cloud State on the road. Those two teams are at bottom of WCHA standings, seventh and eighth places.
Behind the Gophers in the USA Today national poll are all teams from the East: Boston College and Boston University are Nos. 2 andd 3. Then come Cornell, Harvard, Clarkson and Mercyhurt before the WCHA claims spots No. 8-10 with North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth.
So this seems like a down season for the WCHA except for the Gophs.
Katherine Schipper of Brooklyn Park had two goals and an assist as the U.S. team crushed Sweden 8-0 in the under-18 IIHF women's world championships in Heinola, Finland.
Danielle Cameranesi of Plymouth had a goal and an assist for the U.S. while Megan Wolfe of Eagan had a goal and Amy Menke of Shakopee two assists.
The U.S. team outshot the Swedes 57-10 to finish the preliminary round 3-0. They outscored Russia the Czech Republic and Sweden 25-0.
They play in the semifinals on Friday.
Thirty-six players, including 13 members of the U.S. women's team in the 2010 Olympics, will be at the national team's six-day winter camp, starting Wednesday at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
They will be divided into two teams – blue and white – for a series of intrasquad scrimmages.
“This camp is a critical step in our player evaluation process as we look ahead to the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championship,” said Reagan Carey, USA Hockey’s director of women’s hockey. “It’s an extremely competitive camp that allows our top 36 players to compete at the highest level.”
The camp will include two days of physical fitness testing, three days of practice, and three games open to the public.
Half the players competed for Team USA at the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championship. Ten of those players were on both the 2010 Olympic and 2012 Women's World Championship rosters. Twenty-two are playing college hockey.
Players come from 16 different states. Minnesota and Massachusetts have the most, with six apiece. ... Eleven players are from the WCHA.
Jenny Potter of Edina will be the oldest player at camp (33 years, 11 months) and Courtney Burke (Albany, N.Y.) the youngest (18 years, 3 months) ... Head coach Katey Stone of Arlington, Mass., will guide Team USA in the 2013 IIHF Women's World Championship in Ottawa, Canada, and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Among the players in camp will be three currrent Gophers defensemen, Megan Bozek, Milica McMillen and Lee Stecklein and two former ones, Anne Schleper and Gigi Marvin, now of the Boston Blades in the CWHL.
Also in the camp are two Gophers forwards, Hannah Brandt and Amanda Kessel, and two former ones, Sarah Erickson and Jenny Potter. The Gophers, at the holidays break are 20-0 and rated No. 1 in the nation.
Intrasquad Game Schedule
Date Event Time
Fri., Dec. 28 Team Blue vs. White 6:30 p.m.
Sat. Dec. 29 Blue vs. White 6 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 31 Blue vs. White 8:45 a.m.
Times subject to change; games will be played on Rink 6 at Schwan's Super RInk.
Alex Rigsby,. University of Wisconsin (WCHA)
Jessie Vetter, Oregon Outlaws (GLHL)
Kacey Bellamy, Boston Blades (CWHL)
Megan Bozek, Minnesota (WCHA)
Milica McMillen, Minnesota (WCHA)
Emily Pflazer, Boston College (HEA)
Anne Schleper, Boston Blades (CWHL)
Lee Stecklein, Minnesota (WCHA)
Kelly Babstock, Quinnipiac University (ECACH)
Julie Chu, Montreal Stars (CWHL)
Kendall Coyne, Northeastern University (HEA)
Brianna Decker, Wisconsin (WCHA)
Jordan Smelker, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (ECACH)
Jocelyne Lamoureux, North Dakota (WCHA)
Monique Lamoureux, North Dakota (WCHA)
Jenny Potter, Minnesota Whitecaps (WWHL)
Haley Skarupa, Boston College (HEA)
Karen Thatcher, Boston Blades (CWHL)
Brianne McLaughlin, Ohio Men’s League in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Molly Schaus, Boston Blades (CWHL)
Courtney Burke, Wisconsin (WCHA)
Caitlin Cahow, Boston Blades (CWHL)
Lisa Chesson, Men’s League in Columbus, Ohio
Alyssa Gagliardi, Cornell University (ECACH)
Gigi Marvin, Boston Blades (CWHL)
Michelle Picard, Harvard University (ECACH)
Hannah Brandt, Minnesota (WCHA)
Alex Carpenter, Boston College (HEA)
Jillian Dempsey, Harvard University (ECACH)
Sarah Erickson, not listed
Emily Field, Boston College (HEA)
Lyndsey Fry, Harvard University (ECACH)
Amanda Kessel, Minnesota (WCHA)
Hilary Knight, Boston Blades (CWHL)
Amanda Pelkey, Vermont (HEA)
Kelley Steadman, Boston Blades (CWHL)
Junior forward Amanda Kessel of Madison, Wis., is the WCHA's offensive player of the week. She had one goal and three assists as the U of M swept Minnesota Duluth 4-1, 4-0 on the road.
She has 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points in 11 games for the No. 1-ranked Gophers (12-0-0).
Center Hannah Brandt, of Vadnais Heights, is the conference's rookie of the week. She had two assists in both UMD games. So for the season, she has 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points -- one ahead of Kessel -- in 12 games.
Kessel has received the same award twice, Brandt three times.
The defensive player of the week is Wisconsin junior goalie Alex Rigsby of Delafield, Wis. She shut out Minnesota State Mankato 2-0 and 5-0. She had 36 saves in the two games. ... Gophers defenseman Megan Bozek also was nominated for this award.
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