Menefee back, contributing for Minnesota

The junior forward did not play in the team’s first four games this season.

Grant Donald

While the Gophers were struggling on the ice during an early-season series against Minnesota-Duluth, Maryanne Menefee could only watch the game unfold from the bench.

The junior forward from Lansing, Mich., didn’t play in the season’s first two series due to a decision by head coach Brad Frost.

“You always want to be on the ice when [your team is struggling],” Menefee said. “You definitely learn from it, and I’m happy to be back on the ice.”

Menefee returned to action when the Gophers swept then-No. 1 Wisconsin, but she failed to find the score sheet.

However, she notched two goals during Saturday’s 5-0 victory over North Dakota.

“It felt really great to finally get back and contribute. I think it is a role I have to play especially because we have a lot of incoming freshmen that are playing, so we need some production,” Menefee said.

Menefee is one of Minnesota’s top returning scorers from a year ago, as she recorded 37 points last season, including 18 goals.

“[Menefee] is who she is,” Frost said. “She has very good hands, and she is incredibly smart, and she gets to the net to score goals, which has been a huge strength of hers.”

Coming out of high school, Menefee was a member of the U.S. Under-18 national team  and made an immediate impact for the Gophers during her freshman season, recording 38 points on 16 goals.

After putting together two fairly consistent years at Minnesota, Menefee said she is looking forward to taking the next step and improving her numbers while helping the Gophers win.

“I played with Hannah [Brandt] these last two seasons, and I know we have similar styles of play because we both like to pass the puck a lot,” Menefee said. “But I think shooting the puck more would be better for me and lead to more scoring chances.”

Frost said if Menefee can maintain her fitness level, she could continue to see improvements in her game.

“She just has to continue to buy into who we are as a team,” Frost said, “[and continue] with her fitness level so she can sustain a high pace of play for 60 minutes.”

Brandt and Menefee are in their third season as linemates, and both scored twice in Minnesota’s last game.

After the game, Brandt said the chemistry between her and Menefee provides the Gophers with an advantage.

“The biggest thing with us is that we just see each other very well on the ice,” Brandt said. “Knowing where each other are [on the ice] is huge. You hardly have to look sometimes.”

 

Ben Gotz contributed to this report.