Recruits are finalists for Ms. Hockey

Brian Deutsch

Two of the Minnesota women’s hockey team’s incoming recruits are already picking up where many Gophers have left off.

Terra Rasmussen (Coon Rapids, Minn.) and Laura May (Mahtomedi, Minn.) are part of a group of 10 finalists for the 12th Annual Let’s Play Hockey Ms. Hockey Award.

The award is presented to the top senior girl high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota.

“Both Laura and Terra have had successful senior years,”

Gophers coach Laura Halldorson said. “There’s a good crop of players in that top 10, so it’s an honor to have them in that category.”

Minnesota’s current roster has three Ms. Hockey award winners and two other finalists for the award.

Senior forward Andrea Nichols won in 2003, junior forward Erica McKenzie earned the honor in 2004 and sophomore forward Gigi Marvin won it in 2005.

Nichols said winning the award is still a huge honor to her.

“It was a pretty big deal to me because I was the first non-metro player to win it,” Nichols said. “Looking back now, it’s an even bigger accomplishment than what I thought it was.”

Senior defenseman Maggie Souba and junior defenseman Anya Miller were both finalists in their senior year of high school.

“It’s always a big thing when the University can get a couple of those finalists,” McKenzie said. “It’ll be exciting to see who wins it this year.”

Wisconsin clinches title

The Wisconsin women’s hockey team clinched the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season title in dramatic fashion last weekend against Minnesota Duluth.

After both teams picked up a conference point in Friday’s 1-1 tie, the teams found themselves locked at 1-1 going into the overtime period Saturday.

Wisconsin (25-1-4 overall, 19-1-4 WCHA) picked up its second straight regular season title two minutes into the extra period when junior forward Jinelle Zaugg scored her 21st goal of the season on the power play.

The play started when Zaugg received a pass from freshman forward Meghan Duggan in the neutral zone.

Zaugg then sped down the ice on a breakaway and beat Bulldogs goalie Riitta Schaublin with a fancy deke.

The Badgers have not lost since Nov. 24, 2006 – a 2-0 loss to Minnesota Duluth – their only loss of the season.

“Wisconsin has been steady all year,” Halldorson said. “They’ve gotten the job done in the WCHA this season.”

The Badgers lead the league in scoring offense with 127 goals and scoring defense with just 30 goals allowed in 30 games.

Wisconsin also boasts the best special teams units in the WCHA. The power-play unit has a conversion rate of 29.9 percent, and the penalty-kill lines have only allowed 10 goals in 125 opportunities.

Senior Christine Dufour and sophomore Jessie Vetter are two of the best netminders in the league. Dufour and Vetter are one and two, respectively, in goals against average and winning percentage.

Dufour, also the league leader with a .951 save percentage, has a 0.92 GAA and a .962 winning percentage.

Vetter, who took the Badgers’ lone loss, has a 1.05 GAA and a .853 winning percentage.

The crease is not the only area of the ice that Wisconsin dominates, though.

Four of the top five point getters in the conference are Badgers, as are the two of the top three goal scorers and the top two assist leaders.