Seniors’ legacy may yet be written

Laura May, Terra Rasmussen and Jenny Lura have been through WCHA championships and Frozen Four heartbreak; about the only thing they haven’t done is won a national title.

by Nate Gotlieb

Senior Laura May has been through it all.

During her first three seasons on the Gophers womenâÄôs hockey team, May has sweated out WCHA championships, crushing Frozen Four losses and harrowing defeats against top rivals. 

So when the Gophers began this year 6-5, suffering sweeps at the hands of North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth, May says the experience of the senior class helped the team realize that the season was not only still young but very salvageable.

âÄúWeâÄôve had three years now under our belts where itâÄôs gone up and down, and I think we kind of understood that if the teamâÄôs going to have a slump, weâÄôd rather have it when we had it and get past it,âÄù May said.  âÄúWe kind of kept that in perspective for the team and helped them move through it.âÄù

Her outlook proved to be correct. Minnesota is 18-7-2 since the 6-5 start, rising from fifth to second place in the WCHA, and assuring that MayâÄôs senior season will again be a winning one.

May and seniors Terra Rasmussen and Jenny Lura are part of a senior class that has done just about everything short of winning a national championship. Their resume includes a 103-28-14 record over the three and a half seasons, two Frozen Four appearances and two WCHA regular season titles. 

Head coach Brad Frost was in his first year as head coach when Rasmussen, May and Lura were freshmen.  He says that the class has solid presence on the ice. 

âÄúTheyâÄôre very hard workers,âÄù Frost said. âÄúThey bring a lot to the table as far as experience and work ethic.âÄù

While all five members of the 2007 recruiting class are still Gophers, its two biggest offensive contributors, Jen Schoullis and Emily West, were forced to take a medical redshirt because of injury.

Schoullis tallied 24 points during her freshman and sophomore years before taking a medical redshirt last season to rehab her surgically repaired shoulder. West suffered a season-ending injury early this season and had surgery over winter break. She was expected to be a leading scorer this season after leading the Gophers in points last season.

May, Rasmussen and Lura, in comparison, have contributed to a lesser extent on the stat sheet.

Playing on the third line, May and Rasmussen have scored four goals since in the past eight games, but the Gophers rely on their top two lines for a majority of their scoring.

Lura compiled a 25-6-3 record during her first two years as MinnesotaâÄôs part-time goalie but has taken a back-up role since the emergence of Noora Raty last season. She has played in only two games this season.

âÄúIt is what it is,âÄù Rasumssen said. âÄúWe all put in the same amount of effort as everyone else, and so, yeah, it does get frustrating when you donâÄôt put the puck in the net or when Lura doesnâÄôt get to step out on the ice for a game.âÄù

With a limited role on the ice, it has been difficult finding a class identity, May said.

âÄúWeâÄôve just been kind of struggling finding out what really is our senior class about, and now that itâÄôs just down to three of us, I donâÄôt know that we really have that answered yet,âÄù May said. âÄúWeâÄôre going to go work hard every day and accept the roles we have and just motivate this team as best we can.âÄù

Rasmussen says that there are other ways to contribute other than just scoring.

âÄúIâÄôm not going to worry about if I scored 18 goals or whatever, that doesnâÄôt matter to me,âÄù Rasmussen said. âÄúI think itâÄôs important for girls to see that they can contribute in tons of different ways if theyâÄôre not contributing on the ice as much as theyâÄôd like to.âÄù

Lura hopes that the class is remembered as the one that provided comic relief.

âÄúHopefully, everyone just remembers us as the funny people who worked hard and helped the team out as much as we could,âÄù she said.