Three trips to the Championship Round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Hockey Tournament in the past five seasons for the Gustavus women’s hockey program have produced two third-place finishes and one fourth-place finish — a great track record to be sure — but eighth-year head coach Mike Carroll feels his team can go farther. “We have been very fortunate to have had the success we’ve had,” noted Carroll, “but we want to take that next step at the Final Four.” The Gusties, who set an NCAA Division III record with 53 power play goals in 2005-06, have focused on prioritizing team defense during preseason camp as a means to that end. “We want to be able to handle pressure more consistently against the nation’s best teams,” added Carroll, a four-time MIAC Coach of the Year.
Gustavus welcomes back 16 letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished 22-5-2 overall and fourth at the NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championships last spring. A group of seven talented newcomers look to add to a team already loaded with depth and experience. Carroll is optimistic about this season, noting “We have eight sophomores on the roster who saw a significant amount of ice time last season, so there will be fewer unknowns