GRAND FORKS, N.D. - UND women's hockey head coach Brian Idalski announced today the signings of Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Josefine Jakobsen, Leah Jensen and Layla Marvin to National Letters of Intent to play for the Fighting Sioux beginning in 2011-12.
"We are really excited about the group coming in," Idalski said. "(They are) solid kids, will give us a little more depth and will raise our skill level."
Idalski plans to announce additional recruits this spring.
Shelby Amsley-Benzie - Warroad, Minn.
Amsley-Benzie will join the Sioux in 2011-12 with a wealth of big-game experience after leading Warroad High School to a Minnesota State High School class 'A' championship as a junior in 2009-10. During her state championship run, she had a record of 27-1-1 with 17 shutouts, a 0.48 goals against average and a .973 save percentage. She did not lose a game in net, going 23-0 after Dec. 5, 2009 during that season, including an eight-game shutout streak from Jan. 2-26.
A four-time all-academic selection, who is planning to major in chemical engineering, Amsley-Benzie is currently 4-2-0 in 2010-11 with two shutouts, a 1.55 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. Both of her losses came against the No. 1 and No. 2 class 'AA' teams.
The daughter of Kris Benzie, she was named all-state for hockey in both her sophomore and junior seasons and was also a four-year letterwinner in softball with two all-conference selections as a catcher.
Amsley-Benzie on choosing UND: "UND is the hockey school of the north."
Idalski said: "Shelby is a big-game goaltender. She has a lot of experience and we also like the fact that playing for Warroad, she doesn't necessarily see a lot of shots on goal on a consistent basis, but when there is a big shot she makes the save. With the direction of our program we think that is something we are going to need in the years to come."
Josefine Jakobsen - Aalborg, Denmark
An Aalborg, Denmark, native, Jakobsen has led the Segaltorps to a championship in 2009-10 in the Swedish National League, a silver-medal finish at the European Cup and to an 11-2-1 start this season in league play. The 5-foot 7-inch center has continued to develop into a dynamic scoring threat in three seasons with the Segaltorps, increasing her scoring totals from 14 goals in 2008-09, to 30 goals in 2009-10, and already 18 goals in 2010-11.
In the Swedish league that includes many Olympians, the first half of the 2010-11 season just concluded and in 13 games played Jakobsen currently leads the league in points (30), goals (18), assists (t-12), shorthanded goals (t-2), plus/minus (+24) and is third in the league in power-play goals (four) and faceoff winning percentage (.583%).
She is the daughter of Lars Jakobsen and Gitte Jakobsen and also has a brother, Julian Jakobsen, who played for Denmark last May in the men's World Championship, placing eighth, Denmark's best-ever finish.
Jakobsen on choosing UND: "Because of the coaching staff. I see UND as a great place to develop further as a hockey player and as a person. I want to make UND a winning team and win titles and, hopefully, the Olympics in the future."
Idalski said: "(Associate head coach) Peter Elander has said time and time again that if she had a Swedish passport she would have been on the Olympic team and one of his best players in Vancouver. She can score, she sees the ice and moves the puck extremely well and is just a very high-end talent offensively."
Leah Jensen - East Grand Forks, Minn.
Jensen won't have to travel far to visit home, just having to cross the Red River, as she will become the first women's hockey player from East Grand Forks to wear the kelly green and white jersey in 2011-12.
Jensen set school records for the Green Wave during her freshman season in goals (24), assists (12) and points (36). All she has done since is break her own records each year with 39 goals, 22 assists and 61 points as a sophomore and 47 goals and 61 points as a junior, including a six-goal game in a 8-0 win against Detroit Lakes on Jan. 30. She is on pace to eclipse those numbers again this season having scored a hat trick in four of five games early in 2010-11 with 13 goals and three assists in five games played.
The daughter of Keith and Kari Jensen, she has been selected to participate in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 National Development Camps.
Jensen on choosing UND: "I have pictures of me as a Sioux fan as far back as I can remember. The opportunity to be part of Sioux hockey history couldn't be passed up. The program is strong and on the rise."
Idalski said: "I am so excited about Leah's development and how much stronger she has gotten in the last year and a half. (She is) a natural goal scorer, puts the puck in the net and has done so a lot so far this year. We look forward to her continuing that at the collegiate level."
Layla Marvin - Warroad, Minn.
Marvin will become a member of the Fighting Sioux as the first recruit in program history to have already competed for a national team. In August, Marvin was a participant for the U.S. Women's Under-18 Team that took won all three games against Canada in Lake Placid, N.Y., scoring one goal and one assist. She was also named to U.S. Under-18 team that will compete in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's Championship, set for Jan. 1-8 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Helping lead Warroad to a Minnesota State class "A" championship in 2009-10, Marvin scored 33 goals and 51 assists for 84 points in 30 games played. She has also already scored a team-leading 13 goals this season in seven games with a 11 assists for 24 points.
The daughter of David and Kallie Marvin, she is also a four-year letterwinner in volleyball and is part of a vast collegiate hockey family including three that played for UND in her dad, David Marvin (1987-91), grandfather, Cal Marvin, (1947-50), cousin, Lee Marvin (2002-06), along with uncle, Mike Marvin, who played for Brown and cousins Christ Hontvet (Dartmouth), Chad Hontvet (Michigan State), Aaron Marvin (St. Cloud State) and Gigi Marvin (Minnesota).
Marvin on choosing UND: "It's in my family, a tradition, I guess you could say."
Idalski said: "We are excited about Layla because she can play in so many situations and do so many things for us. She has the ability to score goals but she also is a playmaker, sees the ice and moves the puck well and is very responsible in her own end. I think she is going to develop into a terrific two-way player."
Notes: Also joining the team in 2011-12 will be Michelle Karvinen who redshirted this season ... She tied for the team lead in scoring to help Finland to a Bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.