Gophers seniors reflect in final season

Minnesota will lose its four seniors to graduation at the season’s end.

Minnesota forwards Brook Garzone and Bethany Brausen celebrate a goal at Ridder Arena on Nov. 22, 2013.

Daily File Photo, Juliet Farmer

Minnesota forwards Brook Garzone and Bethany Brausen celebrate a goal at Ridder Arena on Nov. 22, 2013.

Betsy Helfand

The longest-standing argument between the seniors on the Gophers women’s hockey team involves a sugar spoon.

Some of them think it’s OK to put a sugar spoon back in the bowl after using it to stir coffee. And others say it’s best to get a new spoon.

Now, however, they have a spout for their sugar and those who want to use spoons to stir can do so.

That said, the four teammates and roommates — Kelly Terry, Bethany Brausen, Baylee Gillanders and Sarah Davis — don’t argue a lot.

“[That sugar spoon argument] has been going on for two years, and that’s the only argument, honestly, that I can think of,” Brausen said. “You feel pretty blessed to have that be the only argument.”

One thing the group didn’t argue about was whether to use the “S-word” this season.

“We made the ‘S-word’ a bad word. We’re not allowed to say ‘senior,’” Terry said. “And any time somebody mentions the end or talks about the end of the season, we instantly shut them up right away.”

Though they’ve tried to delay the inevitable, senior night is upon them.

“I’m excited for it, but it’s something that you kind of push to the back of your mind because you thought it was so far away, but here, it’s already here,” Gillanders said.

The Gophers will have a banquet Thursday night and then celebrate the team’s seniors Saturday during their series against Minnesota-Duluth.

But, after senior night, the Gophers still have the WCHA tournament and NCAA tournament to look forward to.

“We have senior night, and we can appreciate it, but then the season isn’t completely over, which is nice,” Davis said. “It’d be kind of hard to make that transition from senior night to no more hockey.”

Though they’ll still have the playoffs, the maximum number of games they could play is 10.

At the season’s end, the team will lose two of its top scorers in Davis and Terry, one of its steadiest defensemen in Gillanders and its two-time captain in Brausen.

Minnesota head coach Brad Frost had other words to describe them.

“They’re just jerks. They’re very selfish people who suck at hockey,” Frost said. “That’s about it.”

Frost, of course, was just joking around.

“[They’re] people of high character and [have] great personalities,” Frost said. “They’re all different, but they draw people in because of who they are.”

Frost said Terry is outgoing, Davis is the goofiest, Gillanders is giving and Brausen is an incredible leader who everyone can talk to.

That recruiting class came as six members, but concussions forced Ashley Stenerson to hang up her skates, and Amanda Kessel is currently competing in the Olympics.

Davis said she figured Kessel would be an Olympian in 2014 and thought they’d be graduating without her.

That doesn’t make it any less sad, though.

“She was a big part of our college experience,” Terry said. “Not having her to cry with when we’re trying to move on together is going to be hard.”

Frost said the senior class, Kessel included, is closer than most classes, in part because of their varying backgrounds and the fact that the class wasn’t very big.

“They didn’t really know each other coming in, and so they had to be the ones that were there for one another, and they had to build those friendships and relationships along the way,” Frost said.

Unlike the three other classes on the roster, this year’s senior class is not primarily from Minnesota.

Brausen is the only native Minnesotan. Terry, Gillanders and Davis are all Canadian.

Before their freshman season, Terry, Gillanders and Davis needed a place to stay for the weeks before school started.

Frost called Brausen and asked if she could host the three players.

“I talked to my mom, and she was about as freaked out as I was,” Brausen said. “I’m thinking, ‘No offense to them, but Canadian? … They’re going to have their teeth knocked out and be [6 feet 2 inches]. I just really shied away from it and told them it probably wasn’t going to work out.”

Her future teammates wound up staying in a hotel.

To this day, Brausen said, they still give her hell for it.

“Looking back, it just seems silly because not only are they as comfortable as my best friends, but they’re my sisters,” she said.