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Finnish Olympian to join Sioux

The Lamoureux twins won't be the only Olympic medalists on the UND women's hockey roster this fall. Finnish forward Michelle Karvinen, who tied for her team's lead in scoring during the 2010 Olympic Games, has committed to play college hockey for...

The Lamoureux twins won't be the only Olympic medalists on the UND women's hockey roster this fall.

Finnish forward Michelle Karvinen, who tied for her team's lead in scoring during the 2010 Olympic Games, has committed to play college hockey for the Sioux beginning this fall.

As one of the top forwards in Europe, Karvinen totaled 11 scholarship offers from American colleges, a Danish newspaper reported, including ones from defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth and other traditional powerhouses.

Karvinen has dual Danish and Finnish citizenship and won a bronze medal for the Finns in Vancouver, gaining her national notoriety in Denmark because no Dane has earned a medal at the Winter Games since 1998.

She figures to be a key piece in the puzzle of UND's attempt to break into what has been traditionally a "big three" in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

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Minnesota, Wisconsin and Minnesota-Duluth have won every national championship in NCAA women's hockey, but the Sioux will have three new high-profile players come October.

Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, who starred on the American Olympic team, will be sophomores after transferring from Minnesota. Karvinen will be a 20-year-old freshman with a good skill set and lots of experience.

Karvinen has been playing under-20 boys hockey in Denmark. She was invited to become the first female to play in the top Danish men's professional league, but she declined in order to stay college eligible.

UND assistant coaches Maria Lewis and Peter Elander both visited Karvinen in Europe and the standout made her commitment without ever visiting campus.

The UND coaching staff is not allowed to comment on Karvinen until a letter of intent is signed. That is expected to happen soon.

Karvinen is just the third recruit to commit for next season. Previously, Shattuck-St. Mary's defenseman Madison Kolls and Rochester goalie Michelle Bonapace-Potvin had committed.

UND decided against filling up other scholarships in hopes of landing some big recruits after the Olympic Games. The Sioux did that by securing a commitment from Karvinen.

There are still two top high school prospects who remain uncommitted -- Canadian superstar Marie-Philip Poulin and American forward Kendall Coyne. Both are expected to attend college in America in the fall.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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