Women's Frozen Four coming to town

It worked for the Gopher men in 2002 -- now the Gopher women's hockey team will get a shot at winning a national title in front of their home fans.

The NCAA announced Tuesday that the U of M will host the 2006 Women's Frozen Four. The tournament will be played at Mariucci Arena, just down the block from the Gophers' home rink, Ridder Arena.

Minnesota also hosted the inaugural women's Frozen Four in 2001, drawing 5,114 fans for the four games. The Gophers hold the record for the largest crowd for a collegiate women's ice hockey game, when 6,854 showed up for the first women's game in November 1997. The Gophers have led the nation in attendance ever since.

"Being selected to host the Frozen Four is a huge honor for the University of Minnesota," head coach Laura Halldorson said. "I am very excited to have the Frozen Four on our home ice for the second time in five years. I'm sure that our department will put on a first-class event, and the fans will be treated to some incredible women's hockey."

Minnesota opens its regular season on Oct. 17-18 when it hosts Ohio State.

Men top the polls: One day after finding out the WCHA coaches picked them to win the conference, the Gopher men's hockey team found themselves atop two national polls as well.

Minnesota is ranked No. 1 in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll and the USCHO.com poll. North Dakota was ranked No. 5 in both polls, the only other WCHA team to earn a top-10 ranking nationally.

Golfers roll: The Gopher men's golf team won the title Tuesday at the 12-team Adams Cup at Newport (R.I.) National Golf Club. Their 4-under par score of 860 was 24 shots better than second-place Michigan State.

Senior All-American Justin Smith won the individual title with a 5-under 211, while three other Gophers finished in the top five -- Ryan Paulson (216, second), Bronson La'Cassie (217, third) and John Hempstock (220, t-fifth).

The Gophers are in action next Monday and Tuesday at the Windon Memorial Classic in Chicago.

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