Gophers, Marvin are on the pre-season WCHA radar

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Ashley Goetz

womens hockey against und at und

The season hasnâÄôt started, but the Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team has already gained praise. Senior captain Gigi Marvin was selected as the preseason MVP in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association poll released Tuesday. The Gophers also sit at the No. 3 spot in preseason rankings from the same poll. Duluth garnered the No. 1 ranking but that doesnâÄôt worry the Gophers, senior captain Melanie Gagnon said, since Minnesota took three of the four games from the Bulldogs last season. There will be some changes to the rulebook this season, as shootouts will be added in womenâÄôs WCHA games. If teams are still tied after a five-minute overtime, there will be a three-person shootout. âÄúItâÄôs going to be fun and it adds a new dimension,âÄù Marvin said. âÄúHopefully we just win the game.âÄù The winning team will get two points and the losing team will get one point, similar to NHL rules. Coach Brad Frost said the shootout will bring a new level of excitement for fans. Darwitz is back Former Minnesota forward Natalie Darwitz will once again play at Ridder Arena. This time howerever, she will be playing against the Gophers. Darwitz will take on a position as a Gophers assistant coach, but this weekend, she will also captain the U.S. National Team that plays against Minnesota on Sunday. Gagnon described Darwitz as one of the best female hockey players in the world and a great competitor that doesnâÄôt let up on anyone. But Gagnon also has some revenge on her mind. During a game against Darwitz three years ago, Gagnon fell on the blue line, allowing Darwitz to score on a breakaway. âÄúBut she fell in practice the other day, so IâÄôm feeling really good about it,âÄù Gagnon said. Frost said there hasnâÄôt been too much trash talking at practice, but both the Gophers players and Darwitz are excited for the game. Double trouble The Lamoureux twins, Jocelyne and Monique , were highly scouted by many colleges when they graduated from Shattuck-St.MaryâÄôs in 2008. They were the youngest members of the U.S Four NationâÄôs Cup Team in 2006. Now as Gophers, Frost expects âÄúreally big things from them.âÄù He said they play a very physical game, are strong on their skates, have great shots and see the ice very well. âÄúThey have lit things up at captainâÄôs practice,âÄù Marvin said. Upcoming The Gophers open the season with two exhibition games; the first against the University of Saskatchewan on Friday at 7:07 p.m. and the second U.S. National Team on Sunday at 2 p.m. Both games are at Ridder Arena.