Balanced scoring paces women’s hockey

Brett Angel

Minnesota women’s hockey head coach Laura Halldorson didn’t realize until Monday morning that all eight of her team’s goals in the Gophers’ victory over St. Cloud State last Saturday came from different players.

“I thought that was awesome,” Halldorson said.

It’s been no surprise that Minnesota’s women’s hockey team is off to their best start in school history with a perfect 4-0-0 record (2-0-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association). It’s the offensive balance the Gophers have demonstrated that has opened eyes and given opponents a glimpse of just how good this team can be.

Minnesota has dominated its four contests this season, tallying 33 goals while surrendering only four. Even more impressive is the fact that 12 different players on the Gophers roster have scored at least once.

The offensive explosion is a welcomed sight for a team that played in 15 games last season, decided by a single goal.

The Gophers managed to win 13 of those contests, proving their ability to win the close games. But players and coaches would just as soon ditch all the excitement and win big.

“It’s definitely a complete opposite from last year,” junior forward La Toya Clarke said. “Last year, we had to really fight for goals and would have to work our butts off in the defensive zone to get a win.”

If Minnesota is working just as hard for their victories this season, it’s hard to tell from the outside. The Gophers have scored with such consistency and precision that they’ve made it look down right easy at times.

Many of Minnesota’s scores have come as a result of great passing, something the team takes great pride in.

Despite having so much talent, players seem to have adopted an unselfish attitude on the offensive end, doing whatever it takes to ensure a victory.

“I’m more concerned with winning the national championship,” senior captain Ronda Curtin said. “I don’t really care about the points.”

A talent-laden team willing to spread the offensive wealth sounds like a recipe for success, and it certainly has been so far this season.

Halldorson said while she is pleased with the Gophers’ early accomplishments, there is still plenty of work left to be done.

“I’m the type of coach that isn’t satisfied very easily,” she said. “It’s great that we’ve scored all these goals, but at the same time, we need to work on a lot of other things in order to be successful down the road against some of the top teams in the country.”

Wendell honored

for the second week in a row, a member of the Minnesota women’s hockey team has been named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Week.

Freshman Krissy Wendell earned this week’s honor for her performance against St. Cloud State last weekend. Wendell notched seven points in the two-game series, scoring three goals and adding four assists.

Wendell ranks third in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with six goals and 11 points through four games this season.

Fellow freshman Natalie Darwitz earned the award the previous week for the Gophers.

Brett Angel covers women’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]