Frost will try to get first win in debut

Nick Heronimus

With a new head coach and a familiar cast of characters, the Minnesota women’s hockey team will host the Nike Bauer Women’s Classic at Ritter Arena this weekend.

Coach Brad Frost has taken over after Laura Halldorson stepped down on Aug. 11, 2007. Frost will be looking for his first career win as head coach this weekend.

Frost will attempt to get his first career wins against Northeastern on Friday at 7 p.m. and Boston on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“I think the players are ready to play against somebody other than themselves,” Frost said. “It should be a great kickoff to the weekend.”

Even though the Minnesota program has new leadership, it will still work for the same goals that it has in the past.

“We’ve won three national championships in the past 10 years and that’s always the goal in the end,” Frost said. “So the expectations are very high.”

Coming off a disappointing finish to last season in which the Gophers finished one spot out of earning a bid to the NCAA Championships, Minnesota is itching to begin this season.

“As a team in general we have a lot to prove,” senior captain Bobbi Ross said. “There is a chip on the shoulder of a lot of us who are returning.”

Minnesota will have to face the top-two scorers from the Huskies from last season – senior captain Nikki Petrich and sophomore Chelsey Jones. Minnesota holds a slight edge in the team series as they are 3-2-2 against Northeastern since 1998.

Against Boston, Minnesota will see the top-three scorers returning from the Terriers squad in sophomore Melissa Anderson, junior Erin Seman, and junior Gina Kearns. It will be the first meeting between the Terriers and Gophers.

To counter Northeastern and Boston, Minnesota will rely on its depth at the forward position. The Gophers return six of their top scorers from last year, which might provide an unequalled offensive force.

The centerpiece of this offensive fire-power will be junior forward Gigi Marvin. Marvin is the WCHA preseason player of the year and led Minnesota in points last year with 38.

Leading up to the Nike Bauer Women’s Classic, the Gophers have been putting in the time and effort needed to start off quickly early in the season.

“I think practice has been great, everyone is working so hard,” senior captain Whitney Graft said.

Along with practicing hard the Gophers have been developing great team chemistry.

“I think we can be honest with each other,” Graft said. “The better you get along, the harder you want to work for each other.”

Minnesota is ranked No. 3 in the WCHA, according to the WCHA Coaches’ Preseason Poll. They are ranked No. 7 by USCHO.com in the Division I Women’s Hockey Poll, but even with the rankings the Gophers still feel like they have something to prove.

“We think people are underestimating us a bit,” Ross said. “We are very excited about how much skill we have.”