For a select few Gophers, break doesn’t mean not being on the ice

Even though the Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team faces a month off, a few players wonâÄôt be taking a break from hockey. One future, six current and two former Gophers will participate in the USA Hockey womenâÄôs Holiday Camp in Blaine from Dec. 26 to Dec. 31 . Seniors Gigi Marvin and Rachael Drazan and first-years Sarah Erickson, Jocelyne Lamoureux, Monique Lamoureux and Anne Schleper will join Erica McKenzie and Natalie Darwitz and Gophers signee Megan Bozek as part of the 58 players selected to compete. The training camp serves as a tryout and training session for the U.S. Women’s National Team and U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team, both of which participate in world championships in the early part of 2009. Three days after the camp, the current Gophers will put away the red, white and blue jerseys and travel to Niagara University in New York to play their first games of 2009 on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4. Minnesota (15-2-1 overall, 12-1-1-1Western Collegiate Hockey Association ) will play the Purple Eagles (4-12-2, 1-3-0 College Hockey America ), who started the season with eight losses. The quick turnaround isnâÄôt something that Marvin is worried about. She said she knows how her body will feel afterward, as this is her third year attending the camp, and she will know how to recover successfully. Frost said the camp will probably help the Gophers that attend it, seeing as they will be skating a couple days before their teammates return to practice. âÄúTheyâÄôre going to have their feet under them, and IâÄôm sure [they] will be excited to go,âÄù he said. âÄúOn the flipside, it only gives us about one practice, or maybe two practices, as a full team going into the weekend, but I think we will make that transition well.âÄù For other players on the team, the expectations are to skate and stay in shape during the time off, while spending time with family and friends. âÄúWe talked about how we are coming back a couple days later than when we would normally come back,âÄù Frost said. âÄúI think itâÄôs important for them to get refreshed and spend time with family and friends. In doing so, we expect them to come back ready to go and in good shape.âÄù After Niagara, Minnesota will travel to Ohio State (5-11-0, 3-9-0-0) in their only back-to-back away trips of the season. Minnesota will return to Ridder Arena and host Bemidji State (1-13-2, 0-12-0-0 ) at 6:07 p.m. on Jan. 16 and at 4:07 p.m. on Jan. 17. In the second part of the season, Minnesota will face teams that they have already faced and will start preparations for the playoffs. Marvin said that in the second half, opponents will know more about the Gophers, just like the Gophers will know more about them. âÄúWe are going to have to bring our A-game every time we step on the ice,âÄù she said. âÄúWe will do our best to exploit their weaknesses and play a full 60 minutes. Once we are on our game, we are very tough to play against.âÄù Frost said the team was successful in their first half of the season and need to continue to get better every day. âÄúWe had a good first half, but you donâÄôt win anything for a good first half,âÄù he said.