Lady Gophers go undefeated, Semin finally gets contract security, BU replaces Parker and more

Minnesota Gophers logoAll the attention this season has been on the Chicago Blackhawks’ 24-game point streak and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 12-game winning streak, but those don’t come close to what the University of Minnesota Gophers’ women’s team has accomplished this season. They have gone 41-0 to capture their second consecutive national championship and become the first college team to have an undefeated season since Cornell in 1970. To really see their dominance, as if a 41-0 record wasn’t enough, just look at their goal differential; they outscored opponents 216-36 this season. Here is what coach Brad Frost had to say on their undefeated season. From Naila-Jean Meyers of The New York Times:

“I still remember on day one talking to our players about the importance of the process and not the outcome and I made a comment such as ‘we’re going to lose a hockey game so it’s not always about the wins and losses so let’s focus on the process and those things,’” Coach Brad Frost said after the game.

“Here we are, 41 games later without a loss and it’s just mind boggling, I can’t even believe it.”

Minnesota had the top two scorers in the NCAA as junior Amanda Kessel posted 46-55-101 and freshman Hannah Brandt put up 33-49-82. Senior goalie Noora Räty led the league with a .956 save percentage was second with a 0.96 goals-against average and posted 17 shutouts, including six in a row from February 15 through March 9.

Check out the link to see how their winning streak, which stands at 49 games dating back to last season, stands up among the top streaks in college sports history.

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The Carolina Hurricanes suddenly have a lot of top-end talent locked up for the foreseeable future thanks to a five-year, $35 million contract offered to Alex Semin. As James O’Brien of Rotoworld.com notes, the Hurricanes have nearly $45 million tied up between just eight players through the 2015-16 season. From O’Brien:

Regardless of his value, the Hurricanes better love the team they have right now because Rutherford has everyone locked up for a long while and at hefty prices. Just take a look at the guys who are under contract through at least the 2015-16 season:

Eric Staal ($8.25M), Semin ($7M), Tuomo Ruutu ($4.75M), Jordan Staal ($6M), Jeff Skinner ($5.725M), Tim Gleason ($4M), Jay Harrison ($1.5M) and Cam Ward ($6.3M). That’s $43.525 million for eight players! I usually hate using exclamation points – journalism professors despise those things – but it’s hard to avoid excited punctuation at a time like this.

It may seem like a lot for Semin who put up only 49-59-108 in 142 games the past two seasons and 7-5-12 in 30 games his past three trips to the postseason, but as O’Brien notes this is the first long-term contract of Semin’s career and that stability may make him more comfortable and allow him to produce consistently. More from O’Brien:

GM Jim Rutherford anteed up big time for winger Alexander Semin on Monday, handing the excessively criticized and misunderstood sniper a stunning five-year, $35 million contract extension (matching his prorated annual salary from 2013’s one-year pact).

This provides Semin with an incredible amount of security at 29 after he had to settle for THREE consecutive one-year deals (two with the Washington Capitals, one with Carolina) in a row.

 This should make Semin feel very comfortable with the Hurricanes who have given him the type of security never offered by Washington, even after he posted 74-89-163 with a plus-61 in 135 games between 2008-09 and ’09-10.

Semin has been a big part this season of the reemergence of Eric Staal as one of the league’s premier players as well as the breakout of Jiri Tlusty.

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Boston University has found a replacement for legendary coach Jack Parker as they will introduce Colorado Avalanche assistant coach David Quinn as their head coach today according to Galen Moore of Boston Business Journal.

Quinn spent three seasons playing defense for Boston University from 1984-85 to ’86-87, recording 6-42-48 with 118 PIM in 94 games. He then served as an assistant coach from 2004-05 to ’08-09, helping them to a 123-57-25 record with Hockey East Championships in 2006 and 2009, winning the national title in ’09.

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UMass Lowell will open the doors to the Tsongas Center on Friday for fans who can’t make the trip to Manchester, New Hampshire to see the River Hawks take on Wisconsin according to Grant Welker of The Lowell Sun. The 4:30 game is only available on ESPN.com, but will be shown on the arena’s scoreboard. From Grant:

“We’re hoping people can go, but those who can’t go, we want to provide this as an alternative,” Chancellor Marty Meehan said.

The Tsongas Center will open at 3:30, with fans directed to the Lowell Bank Pavilion. The Talon Club and other seating areas will be available if needed for space, and select concession stands will be open for food and beverages. Admission and parking will be free.

Fans will also be able to take photos with the team’s Hockey East regular-season and tournament trophies. Both conference titles were the first for the River Hawks.

The arena will remain open for the later game that day in Manchester, N.H., with the University of New Hampshire playing Denver. That game starts at 8 p.m.

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The American League’s Hershey Bears have signed two players to amateur tryout contracts, 18-year-old forward Chandler Stephenson and 20-year-old Michal Cajkovsky, according to a press release on their website.

Stephenson was drafted by the Washington Capitals 77th overall in 2012 and has spent the past three seasons playing for the Regina Pats of the Western League. This season the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native posted 14-31-45 with a minus-1 and 37 PIM in 46 games on a team that finished 11th in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. In his major junior career he has recorded 43-63-106 with a minus-22 and 67 PIM in 161 games.

Cajkovsky, a native of Bratislava, Slovakia, went undrafted and has spent the past two seasons with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario League after playing a year with the Kingston Frontenacs. In total, he has recorded 17-53-70 with a minus-13 and 291 PIM in 192 games, helping the 67’s reach the Eastern Conference final in 2012.

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