After unbeaten season, Gophers women's hockey team need to fill gaps

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 25, 2013 - 8:29 AM

The Gophers’ defense will have to be rebuilt, starting in goal.

 

It made sense for Gophers women’s hockey coach Brad Frost to declare at Tuesday’s media day that his team would lose a game this season. He began last season’s campaign with the same statement and the team went 41-0.

Playing to perfection again, though, likely won’t be as easy. The Gophers lost six players to graduation and are without two other standouts. Forward Amanda Kessel, the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner, and defenseman Lee Stecklein are among 25 players competing for spots on the U.S. women’s team in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

“We obviously lost a lot from last year,” Frost said. “But we’ve got a great opportunity with a lot of our returners and some of freshmen to step up and fulfill some roles that maybe they haven’t been in.

“It’s not about going undefeated. It’s about improving throughout the year, and I would expect us to be a much better team five months from now than we are right now.”

Frost prepared for the departures by bringing in seven freshmen. His usual recruiting class is four or five. Even with the slew of newcomers, the Gophers lack depth — especially among defensemen. Frost said his team’s biggest asset early on last season was depth.

Now he is dealing with transitioning forwards to defense and replacing Noora Raty, a four-year starter, in goal. Raty was 38-0 with a 0.96 goals-against average last season.

Sophomore Brook Garzone and junior Jordyn Burns are among those likely to switch to defense. Exhibition games against Team Japan and the British Columbia on Thursday and Friday, respectively, will be good opportunities to find the right combinations, Frost said.

Both 7 p.m. games at Ridder Arena are free to the public.

“For our junior class to be stepping up is key,” Rachel Ramsey said. “I’m the only junior defenseman. We have three returning on defense. I think it’s a little pressure to step up and perform, but at the same time more so to be a guide to everybody else who is coming back and learning the position.”

Despite their player losses, the Gophers were one vote shy of entering the season as a unanimous No. 1 in two different preseason polls. The program has won back-to-back national championships, while sophomore forward Hannah Brandt was named the preseason WCHA Player of the Year by the league’s coaches.

Minnesota also welcomes one of the top recruiting classes in the country led by Dani Cameranesi, the Star Tribune’s 2013 Metro Player of the Year. The Blake standout was named preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year.

“If I just keep playing my game and doing everything I’m being taught, hopefully I can live up to [those expectations],” Cameranesi said.

  • related content

  • Video: Gophers women's hockey defenseman Rachel Ramsey

    Tuesday September 24, 2013

    Rachel Ramsey talks at media day for the Gophers' women's hockey team.

  • Coach Brad Frost led the Gophers to consecutive NCAA women’s hockey titles and a 41-0 record last season.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close