St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s hockey team is set to begin its 2012-13 season at Don Roberts Ice Rink tonight when the Gusties take on UW-Superior at 7:00 p.m. Ranked third in the USCHO.com preseason poll, Gustavus will look to make a tenth consecutive run to the NCAA Championships under the guidance of head coach Mike Carroll. Now in his 14th season, Carroll welcomes back 17 letterwinners from a squad that registered an overall record of 24-4-2 and an MIAC mark of 16-1-1 a year ago. With just one conference loss, the Gusties earned their eighth straight MIAC title, and will set their sights on a ninth in 2012-13.
With the graduation of All-Americans Allie Schwab and Mollie Carroll, and a goaltender who all but rewrote the Gustavus recordbook, it is safe to say the Gusties lost a lot from a 2011-12 team that won the second most games in a season in Gustavus history. On the other hand, the Gustie women return an All-American, two All-Conference players, a member of the MIAC All-Rookie team, and 10 of their top 12 scorers from last season, giving them confidence heading in to a new year.
“Every year you are going to lose players to graduation,” said Mike Carroll. “But we do return an All-American and one of our top lines from last year. The biggest question mark coming in was the goaltending situation, but our three first-years are all working hard and are very competitive with each other.”
An All-American last year and an All-Conference honoree in each of her first three seasons, Lindsey Hjelm (Sr., North Oaks, Minn.) captains the Gusties after serving as an assistant captain a year ago. The senior notched 11 goals to go along with 15 assists for 26 points last season, and holds a total of 34 goals and 46 assists for 80 points in her career. Also an assistant captain last season, Jenna Christensen (Sr., Albert Lea, Minn.) joins Hjelm as captain after tallying seven goals and six assists for 13 points a year ago.
Junior Amanda Cartony (Jr., Stillwater, Minn.) transitions from the pitch to the ice after playing forward for the women’s soccer team this past fall. On the ice, Cartony was an All-Conference performer in her sophomore campaign after scoring 14 goals and adding 16 assists for a total of 30 points. The third leading scorer for the Gusties last season, Cartony represents the top scoring returner in 2012-13.
One year removed from a season that placed her on the MIAC All-Rooke Team, Carolyn Draayer (So., Deephaven, Minn.) returns for her sophomore campaign after racking up 19 goals and eight assists for 27 points in her debut season donning the Black and Gold. Draayer’s 19 goals were second on the team and fourth in the MIAC last season.
“We were very encouraged with how the players came in to the first week,” stated Carroll. “They were in very good shape from about five weeks worth of work outs with the captains and strength coach. We got better every day that first week and have started to mesh together as a team with our systems.”
The Gusties return seven players from a defense that allowed just 1.67 goals per game last season, which ranked second in the MIAC. Joining Hjelm on the blueline is senior Kelsey Kennedy (Sr., Eagan, Minn.), junior Maddie Bergh (Jr., Eden Prairie, Minn.), and sophomores Beth Olson (So., Warroad, Minn.), Emily Raber (So., Buena Park, Calif.), Kelly Thotland (So., Edina, Minn.), and Heidi Korin (So., Corcoran, Minn.).
Offensively, the Gusties will look to account for a combined 49 goals that do not return from last season. Returners joining Cartony, Draayer, and Christensen at the forward position will be Meagan Wanecke (Sr., Delafield, Wis.), Kayla Ingbretson (Sr., Mound, Minn.), Melissa Doyle (Jr., White Bear Lake, Minn.), Taylor Skelton (So., Ely, Minn.), Leah Johnson (So., Chanhassen, Minn.), and Marissa Brandt (So., Vadnais Heights, Minn.).
After losing goalie Danielle Justice `12, who holds Gustavus records in wins, shutouts, saves, and save percentage, a trio of newcomers will look to leave their mark between the pipes. Lindsey Hibbard (Fy., Princeton, Minn.), Colleen Jacoby (Fy., Muskegon, Mich.), and Tara Hoverstad (Fy., Coon Rapids, Minn.) bring a fresh set of faces in goal for the Gusties.
“We’re looking forward to tonight,” finished Carroll. “I want to see us come out and set the tempo in the first period. If we can get off to a good start, we can run with that and get our first win.”