Women’s hockey ranked second in nation after season’s first week

by Monica Wright

If a first-ever NCAA tournament this season and six new teams created since Minnesota’s inception in 1997 are any indication, women’s hockey is growing faster than one of Nadine Muzerall’s slapshots.
Further proof lies in the change brewing out East as the Eastern College Athletic Conference announced plans to divide its existing thirteen- team conference into two separate leagues at both the Division I and III levels.
The ECAC Division I — of which Minnesota plays five non-conference games against various teams this season — will break down into two unnamed conferences similar to their male counterparts for the 2001-2002 season.
The first conference will be comprised of Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Yale, St. Lawrence, Dartmouth, and the formerly Division III Colgate.
The second conference will house Boston College, Northeastern Niagara, Maine, New Hampshire and Providence.
Records and Rookies
The Gophers swept the first round of WCHA player honors as junior Laura Slominski took player of the week and freshman La Toya Clarke received rookie of the week.
Slominski’s point-scoring tirade began Saturday with two assists in the 4-1 win against St. Cloud State and wrapped up Sunday with a school record three power-play goals to defeat the Huskies 5-4.
Slominski, who led the nation last year in short-handed points and assists, is only four points away from reaching 100 for her career.
Clarke had a hand in five of the Gophers’ nine goals this weekend, and assisted on all of Slominski’s and senior Ambria Thomas’ goals. Clarke leads the rookies in points with five.
With five different Gophers netting goals this weekend — a switch from last season’s typical lone scorer up front — Slominski joked that the game showed a change from the past.
“This season we like to spread it around,” she said.
Gophers in second
The first polls of the 2000-2001 season came out Monday, putting Minnesota (2-0) second behind Dartmouth (0-0), with Minnesota-Duluth (2-0), Brown (0-0) and Harvard (0-0) rounding out the top five.
The only other WCHA team to make the poll besides the two Minnesota teams was Wisconsin (2-0) in tenth place.

Monica Wright covers women’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]