Lost half season and missed national title run are motivation enough for Wall

Lyndsay Wall led all Gophers defenders in points despite missing half of last season.

Bridget Haeg

As a freshman, Lyndsay Wall led Minnesota’s women’s hockey team’s defenders in points while only playing in half of the scheduled games.

Now, as a sophomore, she’ll see what she can do with a full season.

Wall returns this year having missed the second half of last season after being declared academically ineligible.

With a total of four goals and seven assists in six games so far this season for the top-ranked Gophers (6-0-0, 6-0-0 WCHA), Wall has already established her presence at both ends of the ice.

“It looks like she’s just kind of making up for her time that she lost last year and just wanting to be at her best each and every game,” assistant coach Brad Frost said.

Wall’s absence cost her a chance to play in the national championship. Instead, she could only practice with the team.

“It was obviously hard to sit up there in the stands and watch your team do so well,” Wall said. “And you just want to be out there so bad to help your team out. It’s really hard.”

Before sitting out the second half, she had six goals and 15 assists in 18 games.

“One of the positives was that Lyndsay was with us at least for one semester,” Frost said. “And I think that the rest of our defensemen learned a lot from having her in the lineup that first half of the year.”

Wall’s experience with the 2002 U.S. Olympic team allowed her to make an immediate impact in her rookie season – an effect felt even after she became academically ineligible.

“None of our defense had played at that level, and so they were able to learn from her just how elite our defense can play,” Frost said. “And it benefited us down the stretch.”

While Wall’s familiarity with elite play made a lasting impression on her teammates, she said the experience of sitting in the stands made a similar imprint on her.

She said she learned a good life lesson, and the experience has made her even more determined to win another national championship and not make the same mistakes.

Despite a light summer hockey schedule, Wall said she had little trouble adjusting back to the college game season.

Her plus/minus rating of plus seven ranks fourth highest on the team.

Add to that a recent award-winning performance against St. Cloud State on Oct. 15 – Oct. 16, for which the WCHA named her the defensive player of the week. She notched five points – all coming on the power play.

Appropriately, Wall quarterbacks the nation’s most dominant power play, which is scoring at a 45.9 percent (17-for-37) clip.

Last season, she scored all of her six goals in that role.

“That’s where a lot of her points had come last year, and that’s where a lot of them have come this year,” Frost said. “So obviously, it’s great to have her anchoring our blue line.”

This time, the plan is that she’ll anchor it for a full season.