For the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team, their quest for perfection has already been established. Following a remarkable 41-0-0 season and a second consecutive NCAA National Championship, the Golden Gophers open the 2013-14 season with little pressure.
In a season opening press conference Tuesday, head coach Brad Frost, senior forward Sarah Davis, and junior defender Rachel Ramsey addressed the media at Ridder Arena. The trio fielded questions about entering the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation and how this Gophers team will be different than the national title teams of the past two seasons.
“We obviously lost a lot from last year,” Frost said about this year’s team. “We got a great opportunity for a lot of our returners and some of our freshmen to step up and fulfill some roles that maybe that haven’t been in in the past.” The Gophers have seven incoming freshmen to the squad, including the reigning Ms. Hockey in the state of Minnesota, Dani Cameranesi.
The Blake School standout, Cameranesi, was named the WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year by the conference. Returning starter and the team’s second leading scorer from last season Hannah Brandt, was named the league’s Preseason Player of the Year.
Minnesota opens their season Thursday night at Ridder against Olympic entrant Team Japan in an open to the public exhibition game. They follow that up Friday with their final exhibition contest against the University of British Columbia — also free to the public.
A chance for the team to extend its unbeaten streak to 50 straight games awaits Oct. 4 when the team goes on the road to play a weekend series against Colgate University. “The streak really is not the important thing for us,” Frost said. “It’s something to talk about and it’s exciting, but it’s a completely different team here and our version of success is making sure we are doing everything we can to lay it on the line for our teammates and our team and if we do that, we might be successful and win some hockey games along the way.”
In Other News…
- Former Gopher men’s hockey forward Erik Haula will not start NHL season with the Minnesota Wild. The rookie winger was sent down to the Iowa Wild of the AHL, the St. Paul team’s highest minor league affiliate. The Minnesota Wild have two preseason games remaining before their regular season opener on Oct. 3 versus the L.A. Kings. Wild head coach Mike Yeo commented, “It doesn’t make sense to keep a young kid like that around and have him not playing,” in regards to his reasoning of the demotion. It sounds like Haula is just on the cusp of cracking the big league roster.
- GopherSports.com recently released a storybook-style fan guide detailing “How to be a Minnesota Gopher Football Fan”. Everything from tailgating to dancing to taunting can be found in this whimsical and comical advice book. Check it out!