Women's Hockey 2023-24 Season -- Part 2: The Regular Season

Minnesota's first goal of the season! Abbey Murphy scores on a wrap around against RIT. Assists by Ella Huber and Nelli Laitinen.

So far Minnesota is dominating, though more shots are missing than typical. They're kind of pelting RIT with shots. Audrey Wethington had a shot off the crossbar.

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According to the radio announcer, the Gophers passing has been great. From what I can hear, Minnesota is dominating RIT. Outskating and a high number of shots, the on-goal percentage is a little better now.

Gophers winning 3-0 in the 2nd. Abbey Murphy with two goals and Madeline Wethington with one goal.

Oops! Looks like RIT is going to have a 5-3 powerplay here against Minnesota.

And Minnesota survives the 5-3 RIT powerplay. Gophers still leading 3-0.

Great pregame interview by Coach Brad Frost.


I took a few notes, I can't write fast, so just a few highlights here (and may have a few words wrong).

-Feels strong in goals, Vetter has All-American talent.

-Announcer pointed out that a high number of scorers graduating, almost 2/3 of production graduated. Frost said they will replace that with probably a committee approach. Abbey Murphy is the engine of the group. Ella Huber, Josefin Bouveng, Peyton Hemp, Madison Kaiser, "a couple freshmen Emma Kreisz and Eva Lindsay." I may have missed a name there.

-Early in the season, looking at lines chemistry. Could change things up

-Freshman Eva Lindsay is always playing with her head up, highly skilled, going to be "dynamic."

-Announcer was praising freshman Emma Kreisz for a big slapshot and with a physical build and shot delivery similar to Taylor Heise. Frost agreed. "A tremendous player... loves hockey."

-Players chose Peyton Hemp as captain, works hard, listens, settling presence, even, a leader.

Just quick notes, I missed much. I may have garbled some of it.


Yikes! Wisconsin did it again, this time against Boston College. Wisconsin is the clear #1 in hockey -- for now.



We need to see more from Ohio State to get a solid read. They lost Sophie Jacques to graduation but did sign a couple good defenders via transfer portal.

Out East, still early but Colgate looks good. Not sure about Northwestern that lost to Penn St.


Yale doesn't play until tomorrow. Keep an eye on Yale.

UMD won. Bemidji State ties in double overtime. Minnesota State beat up on a weak team.


St Cloud State seems better than most but lost tonight to Mercyhurst.


I think Minnesota Gophers could do a slight better job getting those shots in the net. It's not easy. They tend to slam the boards with big shots. They typically swarm and outplay opponents but face a risk of a team with a higher score percentage beating Minnesota.
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Just give them the championship now. They're gonna blow through everyone anyways. While we sit on the sideline just happy to witness their greatness.

"Great start to our season here with a 3-0 victory," head coach Brad Frost said. "We defended really, really well, scored a couple power play goals, and Skylar Vetter in net was tremendous once again. It was a really good night that will also give us something to build on and help us get better as the year goes on."


Defender Maggie Nicholson is first to score. Audrey Wethington and Peyton Hemp with assists.


Four Gophers Women's Hockey games will be televised on FOX9 +. That includes the game this Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.

University Of St Thomas Vs. University Of Minnesota Ice Hockey

DateFri • Oct 13 • 4:00 PM
VenueXcel Energy CenterSaint Paul, MN


At the Xcel Energy Center double-header, Gophers Women's Hockey beat St. Thomas 8-0.

Forward Abbey Murphy earned a hat trick (3 goals) and 2 assists.

Goaltender Skylar Vetter earned her second shutout of the season, a perfect 2-for-2 shutouts in starts.

Forward Ella Huber scored 2 goals.

Defender Madeline Wethington made 3 assists and played shutdown defense.

Forwards Emma Conner, Peyton Hemp and Audrey Wethington each scored a goal.


"This was a great event tonight, and I'm really happy we could be a part of it playing here at Xcel Energy Center," head coach Brad Frost said. "We're getting better each and every week, and I'm really proud of our group. These two [Abbey Murphy and Skylar Vetter] played exceptional again tonight, as they have all year."

"It was nice to get those first two [goals], but I was focused on doing the right things first and I just figured that the third one would come eventually," Murphy said about her hat trick.

Abbey Murphy and Ella Huber

Madeline Wethington and Skylar Vetter

I thought the score would be closer. St Thomas's roster looks better this season than last. The overall game stats were not as lopsided as the score suggests. The Gophers simply lowered the hammer with their opportunities while keeping the crosstown rival out of the net.

Good efficient hockey!

Gophers put the puck in the net with their shots while keeping opponents out. That sounds way too simple, but that's the story.

Gophers Men's Hockey
Gophers Men's Hockey beat St. Thomas 6-5 in OT in a thriller. Gophers were down in the third period until Gopher Brody Lamb scored a nice pair of goals. Jimmy Snuggerud scored the winner in OT.


It was a great event. Yea, it would have been nice to see the men win bigger. I give due credit to an improved St. Thomas team that recently beat top-10 ranked St. Cloud. This will be a fun rivalry into the years ahead. Minnesota has the upper hand.

More Thoughts About the Gophers Women's Hockey Team

They have smothered their lesser opponents, looking efficient. Abbey Murphy is hot.

This offseason, the Minnesota Women's Hockey team lost around 60% of their scoring production to graduation, so it was unclear what to expect from this new team.

One thing that jumped out to me: The Gophers have good height and size. I suppose that doesn't matter as much in women's hockey without checking -- I'll take skill and speed first -- but the reach and ice presence are noticeable.

Let's look at this win compared to the games last year.

This game:
8-0, win

Last season against St Thomas:
5-0, win
4-1, win
2-1, OT win (and Minnesota did not play great)
4-2, win
7-0, win in First Round WCHA Playoffs
6-2, win in First Round WCHA Playoffs (and Minnesota played strong, better hockey in all games of the post-season)

One little issue to look at, being picky here: When Minnesota was attacking, on three occasions a St Thomas forward got a jump on Gophers defenders for a breakaway attack towards the Gophers goaltender Vetter. I think St Thomas gambled a bit before it was obvious they had control. Be careful of that. You don't want Wisconsin snipers getting a step like that.

Looking Ahead
I think the upcoming home opener against a solid St. Cloud team will tell us more about this year's Gophers team -- and how they compare against Wisconsin and Ohio State. My early hunch is that the #4 Gophers are efficient and overall better than Ohio State but first need to face better opponents to prove it. #2 tOSU just beat 6/7 UMD 5-2.

- $5 tickets
- $2 hot dogs and $2 sodas
- WCHA Tournament Champions Banner raising ceremony

Tickets: z.umn.edu/GWHhomeopener


Gophers shutout St Thomas again today, the second game. Forward Emma Kreisz (Hungary), defender Nelli Laitinen (Finland), forward Josefin Bouveng (Sweden) and forward Abbey Murphy (USA) scored goals. All four play in international competition.



Goaltender Lucy Morgan earned the shutout.

Lucy Morgan

Now onto the home opener against St Cloud. Tickets as low as $5! $2 hotdogs!


The home opener Tuesday night will be televised on Big Network.


In addition, all home games are streamed on Big+.

In other news, St Cloud State swept Bemidji State.

Ohio State swept UMD.

Wisconsin swept Minnesota State with two shutouts (6-0 and 9-0). Coach Mark Johnson earned his 600th career win.


Mark Johnson was one of the heroes of Miracle on Ice.


St Thomas played well today but badly misplayed the defense on this play. Gophers pounced for a Josefin Bouveng score.


Josefin Bouveng

Great shot of a fast sniper shot by Emma Kreisz today.


The shot hits the upper side of the net.


Rrrready to rumble! Gophers versus a good St Cloud State team Tuesday night home opener.

From the view of the Gophers:

The No. 4 ranked Golden Gopher women's hockey team looks to stay undefeated with a one-game, mid-week matchup with the St. Cloud State Huskies.... St. Cloud State is off to a strong start in 2022-23, winning five of its first six games and registering two WCHA victories. CC Bowlby has led the scoring effort for the Huskies... Emma Gentry has found the back of the net three times... Goaltender Sanni Ahola has recorded a shutout in each game she's played this season...

From the view of the Huskies:

The Huskies enter week five ranked No. 13 in the country by the USCHO.... St. Cloud State [finished the last season] at No. 12 by the USCHO and No. 13 by USA Today.... [Sanni] Ahola also etched her name in Huskies Hockey history with Saturday's shutout, recording her third consecutive shutout for the longest stretch by any goaltender in program history.

Home opener on the main channel and the place looks half empty.
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Gophers win!


Midway and later in the game the Gophers were flowing and looked good. Earlier didn't always connect, still coming together and progressing. They do a good job of poking at the puck. I watched goaltender Skyler Vetter in warmups and then in the game, and she's fantastic. Looks natural and decisive. St Cloud plays a solid defense with a good goaltender. Minnesota was significantly taller/bigger, not all players of course, but just the reach presence they overall have.

It's still early in the season.

Coming up next is big rival Ohio State.
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Skylar Vetter had a shutout until about 54 seconds left. Then St Cloud pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker who shot to the upper right at close range.

I thought at first Vetter made the save because her glove came up fast to the exact spot of the shot, but the puck must have beat her glove by a fraction of a second, be8ng a close range shot. I think Vetter played as well as humanly possible there. She is so good.

Northeastern has dropped in stature, for sure, now losing to St Cloud. I wondered about them. Out east, Yale and Colgate are elite teams to watch.


UMD recovers with a win over Minnesota State after being swept by Ohio State. I'm real curious to see how competitive UMD will be. Is this a season UMD slips back a half-notch?

Yale opens their season tonight, a later season start. They are winning late in the 3rd.


Get to know the hockey leagues.

"The Women's Ice Breaker Tournament, which started in 2019, was created by the Hockey Commissioners Association to celebrate the start of the season with teams from a variety of NCAA Division I conferences."

"The Ohio State women's hockey team, in partnership with the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, Western Collegiate Hockey Association and the Hockey Commissioners Association, will host the 2024 Women's Ice Breaker Tournament at the OhioHealth Ice Haus in downtown Columbus... The Buckeyes will be joined by Cornell, Penn State and Stonehill in the event, scheduled for Oct. 25-26, 2024."

The conferences for the participating teams this season with the most recent players of the week for that conference:

Ohio State, WCHA Conference

Cornell, ECAC Conference

Penn State, CHA

Stonehill, New England Women's Hockey Alliance


Those are four of the top conferences in the NCAA. I will also mention Hockey East as another notable conference not in the rotation this season.


Big WCHA hockey action this weekend!



From last weekend:


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