Thursday night at the WCHA awards banquet in Bemidji before this weekend's WCHA Final Face-off tournament, the Gopher Women's Hockey team cleaned up winning all four major awards and having several additional players recognized for their performances.
The major award of the night went to Gopher sophomore Hannah Brandt. Brandt, who also on Thursday was named one of the three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier award given to the best women's college hockey player, was named the WCHA Player of the Year. Brandt is the league leader in assists and total points. Brandt was also named to the All-WCHA First Team, and is the only repeating member on the First Team from the 2012-13 season.
Gopher senior Kelly Terry was honored with the WCHA Outstanding Student Athlete of the Year Award. Terry has scored 30 points in all four of her seasons on the ice for Minnesota and has a 3.42 grade point average in taking pre-med classes. She has been named a WCHA Scholar Athlete the past two seasons, and this is her third consecutive placement on the All-WCHA Academic Team. She was also named to the All-WCHA First Team for her performance on the ice.
Junior defenseman Rachel Ramsey was honored with the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year Award. She has 30 points from the blue line this season for the Gophers to lead all defensemen in scoring. She also was named to the All-WCHA First Team as well.
The WCHA Coach of the Year Award was once again given to Gopher coach Brad Frost. This is Frost's fourth WCHA Coach of the Year Award, and second consecutive award. He has led the Gophers to another amazing season as Minnesota enters the Final Face-off on a 22-game unbeaten streak. The Gophers are 83-1-1 since February 18, 2012.
Gopher freshman Dani Cameranesi was named the WCHA Rookie of the Year. She leads all WCHA freshmen in scoring with 24 points. She was also named to the All-WCHA Rookie Team.
Gopher sophomore Millica McMillan was also named to the All-WCHA First Team rounding out the four Gopher players on the squad. She is second in blue-line scoring behind Ramsey with 26 points on the Season for Minnesota. The other two players on the All-WCHA First Team were Michelle Karvinen from North Dakota, and goalie Alex Rigsby from Wisconsin.
Three additional Gopher players were named to the All-WCHA Second Team. They include junior forward Rachel Bona, who had 38 points on the season and who was also one of the ten semi-finalists for the Patty Kazmeier Award before the cutdown to the three finalists, senior Sarah Davis who had 36 points on the year, and Gopher goalie, sophomore Amanda Leveille, who has stepped into the giant shoes left by Nora Raty and has shown she belongs going 26-1-1 with a 1.03 goals against average in WCHA play.
Six additional Gophers besides Kelly Terry were named to the All-WCHA Academic team including Bona, Brandt, Ramsey, senior Bethany Brausen, senior Baylee Gillanders, and junior Shyler Sletta. To qualify for the WCHA All-Academic Team, student-athletes must have completed one year of eligibility at present institution, prior to the current academic year and have a GPA of at least 3.0 for the previous two semesters or three quarters.
This weekend the Gophers will be in Bemidji to try and defend their WCHA Final Face-off title from last season. The Gophers who are the unanimous #1 ranked team in the country come into the Final Face-off on a 22-game unbeaten streak and are 11-1 this season against teams in the tournament. Their only loss is to North Dakota, a game that snapped the Gophers record 61-game unbeaten streak in November.
The Gophers will open play Friday night against #4 seed UMD. The Gophers and Bulldogs have played four times this season with Minnesota winning 6-0 twice at Ridder Arena just a few weeks ago most recently. UMD had to play three games last weekend against #5 seed Ohio State to advance. The Gophers and Bulldogs will play at 7:00 Friday night.
The other semi-final at 4:00 on Friday matches #2 seed Wisconsin playing #3 seed North Dakota. The Gophers went 4-0 against the Badgers and 3-1 against North Dakota this season.
The two semi-final winners will face-off at 7:00 Saturday for the title. The winner will get the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The games can all be streamed on wcha.com, and www.gophersports.com will have free streaming audio and a live blog going as well. We also will have updated in the hockey open thread tonight and hopefully tomorrow.
The NCAA Tournament pairings will be announced on ncaa.com at 5:00 PM on Sunday. The Gophers have locked up the #1 overall seed which will result in a home game at Ridder Arena next weekend. According to Gophersports.com it is expected to be played at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 15. We will have a recap of the Final Face-off up here Sunday or Monday, and a preview of the NCAA Tournament next week.