Amanda Kessel, concussion-free, set to return to Minnesota lineup

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One of the best players in college hockey is set for a return this weekend.

The University of Minnesota announced on Wednesday that Amanda Kessel will be back in the Golden Gopher’s women’s team lineup after missing two years after suffering a concussion.  

Winners of their last eight games, Kessel will re-join the team for their two-game series against North Dakota this weekend.

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“We're excited to have Amanda returning to the lineup," Minnesota head coach Brad Frost said via a statement. "Her recovery and overall health have always been most important, and we weren't sure if she would have the opportunity to play college hockey again. Knowing that Amanda and the team of doctors working with her have determined she is healthy and ready to resume playing is certainly great news. She has always been a part of our program, and we're happy she has a chance to finish out her college career on the ice along with completing her coursework and getting her degree this spring.”

Kessel, a two-time All-American and 2013 Patty Kazmeier Memorial Award winner, scored 78 goals and recorded 181 points between 2011 and 2013. While redshirting during the 2013-14 season, she suffered a concussion prior to the Sochi Olympics, but played five games for Team USA. 

It was announced in July that Kessel would miss the entire 2015-16 season, her final year of eligibility with Minnesota, but the Golden Gopher’s forward said she has not suffered from any concussion symptoms and was examined by numerous doctor’s in order to get clearance.  

In December, Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reported that Kessel had been skating with the team while back in class.

The Golden Gopher’s womens team is currently ranked third with a 24-3-0 record and is second in the WCHA. If Kessel can return to to her previous form, then they have a great shot at winning their fourth NCAA title in five seasons.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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