Taylor Wente anchors Minnesota’s second line

Wente has three goals and four assists this season in a talented line of players.

Sophomore forward Taylor Wente eyes the puck during the game against St. Cloud on Sunday, Nov. 18 at Ridder Arena.

Jerusa Nyakundi

Sophomore forward Taylor Wente eyes the puck during the game against St. Cloud on Sunday, Nov. 18 at Ridder Arena.

by Erik Nelson

Right winger Grace Zumwinkle has known center Taylor Wente for a long time.

Zumwinkle and Wente have been roommates and have been on the same line since last year. The pair played on the U.S. Under-18 national team that won gold medals at the 2016 and 2017 world championships.

Zumwinkle said this close relationship has benefited both of them.

“Seeing that the person she’s become and how more mature we’ve [become] over the years has made a big difference,” Zumwinkle said.

The chemistry shows on the ice as well. The trio of Wente, Zumwinkle and left winger Nicole Schammel has combined for 15 goals and 38 points this season.

Head coach Brad Frost said Wente can become a bigger factor in the future.

“That comes with confidence and her understanding that she’s a heck of a hockey player,” Frost said. “She’s playing with two great players in Zumwinkle and Schammel. The key for her is to shoot the puck a little more.”

Wente’s task as a center is to ignite her line’s offense, win faceoffs and play responsibly on defense. She said she often looks to distribute pucks to her teammates rather than shoot.

“I’m a selfless player,” Wente said. “All of us love hockey and coming to the rink. As a line, we’re doing well and we’re more focused on having fun instead of worrying about everything else.”

Wente’s most productive game of the season came on Oct. 5 against Minnesota-Duluth, when she scored twice in a 5-2 victory over the Bulldogs. She played with wingers Amy Potomak and Alex Woken on Saturday against St. Cloud State but returned to her usual line on Sunday.

“I’ve never played with Woken or Amy [Potomak] before,” Wente said. “We had to figure out how we played. We did well together. Talking before on the ice and off the ice helped a lot.”

Schammel said Wente is a hard worker who characterizes the team’s four values: being tough, grateful, disciplined and determined.

“She follows our values every day,” Schammel said. “Every day, she lives those out … all the little things that add up.”