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Abbey Murphy proved her dominance in personal-best season

At the end of the season, Murphy led Gophers women’s hockey in points and contributed a quarter of her team’s goals alone.
Image by Keya Shapiro (courtesy)
Abbey Murphy led the team in scoring with 33 goals and 62 points.

Gopher women’s hockey lost four of their five top scorers entering this season with the departures of Taylor Heise, Grace Zumwinkle, Abigail Boreen and Catie Skaja. The one player who remained from the top five scorers was redshirt junior Abbey Murphy.

Murphy’s record-setting season ended with her having tallied 11 points in Minnesota’s five postseason games. She surpassed her career-best of 29 goals from last season and did so in six fewer games, scoring her 30th goal in a 1-1 tie against Minnesota-Duluth on Feb. 23. 

Murphy factored into the Gophers’ final two goals of the season in their 3-2 quadruple-overtime and season-ending loss to Clarkson last weekend.

“Nobody has higher expectations for themselves than Murph,” Gophers head coach Brad Frost said.

Murphy is from Evergreen Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and said she modeled her game after NHL players like former Chicago Blackhawks Andrew Shaw and Ryan Hartman because she liked their grit and fierce playstyle.

Murphy’s competitive spirit was nurtured in a family with a wrestler as a brother and an ex-Marine as a father.

“That’s how I grew up,” Murphy said. “I learned it from them and learned from my parents.”

Junior forward Ella Huber, Murphy’s linemate, said Murphy has been a competitive and aggressive player since their time playing youth hockey together on the Chicago Mission.

“She’s a gritty little player,” Huber said. “You add talent to that and she’s unstoppable.”

While at Minnesota, Murphy’s competitive spirit stretched off the ice and into the world of recruiting. As an underclassman, Murphy encouraged Huber to join her during Huber’s final year on the Mission.

“She was always knocking on my door being like, ‘Hey, come to Minnesota,’” Huber said.

Junior forward and Gophers captain Peyton Hemp said Murphy often does not need her teammates to motivate her.

“She’s all in,” Hemp said. “She’s very self-motivated and can do a lot of that on her own.”

Murphy said she is not superstitious. Instead, she listens to music before games to calm her nerves.

Her routine proved to be effective as she was able to reach 33 goals this season, four more than last year, and accounted for a quarter of the team’s goals.

“I just want to do anything I can to help my team succeed,” Murphy said. “That’s goal number one, just to contribute as much as I can.”

Last season, Heise accounted for 17% of the team’s scoring, the most of any player on that roster. The last time a Gophers player accounted for 25% or more of the scoring was in the 2020-21 season when Zumwinkle tallied 17 of the team’s 65 goals.

The nation’s leading goal-scorer is also leading the country in penalties with 45 penalties and 118 penalty minutes this season, doubling her penalty minutes from last season.

“I had a goal to not get as many penalty minutes and look how that went,” Murphy said. “That will be another goal for a new year.”

Graduate defender Madeline Wethington said Murphy’s competitive nature extends to practices, which helps the team improve.

“I am so happy that I’ve had the opportunity to play with her because you don’t want to play against her,” Wethington said.

Huber and sophomore forward Josefin Bouveng, Murphy’s other linemate, also saw significant improvements to their statistics this season. Huber recorded a career-high 42 points while Bouveng had 50 points and a team-leading 31 assists.

Huber said that with the departure of last year’s talents, she and her linemates recognized they had to step up to fill the gaps. The Gophers’ top line of Murphy, Huber and Bouveng accounted for over half of the Gophers’ 135 goals this season.

“We split them up a little bit throughout the year to try and get others going and we were able to do that,” Frost said. “Ultimately, those three together have great chemistry.”

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