Familiar faces line Minnesota’s recruiting class

Of the six new recruits, three of them played together on Canada’s Under-18 national team.

by John Hageman

Last weekendâÄôs sweep over then-No. 3 Clarkson was bittersweet for future Gophers womenâÄôs hockey player Baylee Gillanders . She watched in the stands of Ridder Arena as her sister, Kali, a sophomore forward at Clarkson , suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Gophers. âÄúOf course I was cheering for Minnesota, but as well I was cheering for my sister and hoping she played well,âÄù Gillanders said. âÄúIt was a little bit hard.âÄù Gillanders, from Kyle, Saskatchewan, is one of six recruits that will be joining the Gophers in the 2010-11 season and is excited for the opportunity after watching her first game in Ridder. âÄúYou got the feel of what itâÄôs like to play in that rink,âÄù she said. âÄúIt had a really good vibe.âÄù Playing for Warner Hockey School this year, she has tallied 19 points in 30 games. She was the only defenseman recruited . Joining her in the stands over the weekend was fellow Canadian Sarah Davis, who also shares a spot on the Warner and Canadian Under-18 roster . Next fall, the two will join forces again in Minnesota. âÄúNot only on the ice, but off the ice âĦ itâÄôs nice to have some people you know,âÄù Davis said. In her second year at Warner, Davis has scored 35 goals in 33 games. Kelly Terry, another teammate on the Canadian Under-18 team will also be reunited on the Gophers squad, which is something she is looking forward to. âÄú[Minnesota] had that atmosphere that I was looking for. It just seemed like such a fun school to be at,âÄù Terry said. Playing for her hometown squad, the Whitby Wolves, Terry led the team in scoring last year with 23 points. The Ontario native has Minnesota connections; her dad played with the Minnesota North Stars for five games in the 1987-88 season. Terry is not the only 2010 recruit with hockey in her genes, with Elizabeth Turgeon joining the team next year. TurgeonâÄôs father, Pierre, is the former No. 1 pick in the 1987 NHL entry draft and played 19 seasons tallying more than 500 goals in his career. Minnesota head coach Brad Frost said he sees similarities between the two. âÄúSheâÄôs a big strong kid who plays a lot like her dad played, Frost said. âÄúWe would expect her to put up some good points for us.âÄù Fitting in may not be a big problem for Turgeon, because she is former teammates on the U.S. Under-18 team with current Gophers Sarah Erickson, Alyssa Grogan and Anne Schleper . âÄúI really like them as hockey players and people, so I feel like IâÄôll get along with them great,âÄù Turgeon said. The lone Minnesotan in the group, Bethany Brausen, comes to the program with the Pioneer Press GirlâÄôs Hockey Player of the Year award already on her résumé. As a captain for the Roseville High School squad, Brausen tallied 28 goals and 27 assists last year, good enough to be named the team MVP. Brausen said that playing for the Gophers has been a long-time dream of hers. âÄúI obviously looked up to those girls a lot,âÄù Brausen said. âÄúI know the great coaching staff they have and the team they represent.âÄù Amanda Kessel , sister of former Gophers hockey standout Phil Kessel, will also join the squad next year. There may have been controversy when Phil Kessel, a Madison native, chose to play for his hometownâÄôs rival , but Amanda said she felt Minnesota was a comfortable fit. âÄúI live like 15 minutes from WisconsinâÄôs campus, so itâÄôs nice to be a little bit farther away from home,âÄù Kessel said. Kessel also played on the Under-18 team with Erickson, Grogan and Schleper as well as current Minnesota player Jen Schoullis a t Shattuck-St. MaryâÄôs. âÄúSheâÄôs been a leader for them for a number of years and is arguably one of the top players in the U.S.,âÄù Frost said. Next year will see the Gophers without seniors Brittany Francis, Alexandra Zebro, Kelli Blankenship, Michelle Maunu, Jaimie Horton, and Chelsey Jones , but Frost is excited for the future. âÄúWeâÄôve got some big shoes we have to fill, as far as our seniors that are leaving, but I think they bring a great a mix of some experience, some energy, a lot of good speed âĦ and most importantly, they all have a huge passion for the game,âÄù Frost said.