Women’s club hockey team suffers big losses

Keith Richotte,

A year before becoming officially sanctioned by the NCAA, the University women’s club hockey team found out how difficult the jump to varsity hockey will be.
A 3-1 loss to St. Cloud State on Sunday morning doomed the team to eighth place in the eight-team All American Girls and Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament. It also left the team with a 0-3 record to start the season.
“This tournament kind of opened our eyes to the fact that we were a team, but not in spirit,” said junior defender Lisa Morris.
St. Cloud State tallied a goal in each period, including a backbreaking score early in the third period, when a shot by St. Cloud State’s Randy King deflected in off of Morris’ skate.
“When that third one went in, it took the wind out of them,” said Minnesota coach Don McMahon.
Senior center Laurissa Stigen scored Minnesota’s lone goal at the 12-minute mark of the third period. Along with being its only goal of the game, it was the team’s only goal of the tournament. Until then, Minnesota had played 132 minutes without scoring.
“One hundred thirty-two frustrating minutes,” Morris said.
Though the goal was a big relief to the young Minnesota team, it wasn’t enough.
“We were excited (about scoring), but if we had done that 20 minutes beforehand, it would have helped a lot,” Morris said.
The team received a tough break early in the tournament when they were paired against New Hampshire in the first round. The Wildcats are considered by many to be the best women’s hockey team in the nation, and Thursday night they showed Minnesota why they have that distinction.
New Hampshire not only won 16-0, but the team refused to concede a shot to Minnesota the entire game and collected 88 of its own.
“They’re awfully strong,” McMahon said. “Those girls are good.”
The Wildcats scored their first goal 35 seconds into the game and never looked back. By the end of the first 15-minute period, the eventual tournament champions had a 9-0 lead and 43 shots.
Although it lost big, Minnesota looked for a positive aspect from the game. “This team is going up against the best team in the nation. We did our best. No one is disappointed,” said junior right wing Kendra Fjerstad.
McMahon echoed that sentiment: “They’re not taking it too hard.”
One player who did show some disappointment was freshman goalie Sarah Harms. Although she was often left alone and had to make several big saves, Harms was somewhat self-critical.
“I’m never really satisfied when I play,” she said. Harms also said she was exhausted after the 88-shot barrage. “I could sleep for a couple days,” she said.
After the New Hampshire loss, Minnesota faced Augsburg Saturday morning. Augsburg wasted no time, scoring just 29 seconds into the game and coasting to a 12-0 victory.
Minnesota admitted to still being shell-shocked from their previous game.
Although they didn’t win this weekend, Minnesota is looking forward to the upcoming regular season.
“We’ll meet up with Augsburg again, we’ll meet up with St. Cloud again and they are not better than us,” Morris said.
Minnesota begins its regular season Wednesday at Wisconsin-River Falls.