Women’s Hockey Opens 20th Season At UW-Eau Claire

Posted on November 3rd, 2016 by

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s hockey team is set to kick off its 20th season of play Saturday night at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. 

The Blugolds host the Gusties at 7 p.m. Saturday at Hobbs Ice Center in Eau Claire, Wis. UW-Eau Claire has began the season with a 3-0 record and has outscored opponents 14-5.

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Gusties look to bounce back

Last season Gustavus owned an overall record of 9-11-5 while going 8-6-4 in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play to finish in sixth place. That marked the first time since the initiation of the MIAC Playoffs in the 1999-2000 season that Gustavus had not clinched a spot in the postseason.

Head Coach Mike Carroll enters his 18th season leading the Gusties in 2016-17 and looks to rebound this season.

“Looking back on last year, as with any year there are things you can control and can’t control,” Carroll said. “Our team did not do a very good job with the things that we can control. That’s been a focus of us in the offseason and also planning for this year. We are trying to rededicate ourselves to the way we want to do things, and that is control what we can control which is effort, desire, and passion. Hopefully as time goes by, some of the life lessons we went through will benefit us this year. Maybe we will have a little bit more sense of not taking anything for granted and digging a little deeper with our overall team effort and resiliency to failure.”

Returners/losses

Gustavus returns 72 percent of its scoring from last season despite losing its top scorer to graduation. The Gusties also bring back two of its three goaltenders and lost just one player from the defensive unit.

“One of the things we didn’t do well on last year was burying our chances. It is nice to have some of our scoring back that we can rely on. Over the years one of the things we have hung our hat on has been special teams. Last year our special teams were not consistent enough. We are focused on being a lot better on our kill and better on the powerplay. That’s been our main focus as far as getting up to speed on the urgency to improve in those areas,” Carroll said.

Diana Draayer (Jr., Deephaven, Minn.), Allie Lewis (Sr., Kearney, Neb.), and Erica Power (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) will captain the Black and Gold. Draayer and Lewis both return as co-captains from last season. Power is the Gusties top returning scorer and is a two-time MIAC All-Conference award winner.

Team Captains, from left: Erica Power, Allie Lewis, Diana Draayer

Team Captains, from left: Erica Power, Allie Lewis, Diana Draayer

“Last season we had some struggles trying to generate some leadership as we had a lot of young players,” Carroll commented. “Diana and Allie have been through the experiences now and Erica is a natural leader. So far it has really been a plus and they did a great job in the offseason as far as organizing the girls and setting the bar higher. We are going to need to lean on them as the season progresses.”

In net the Gusties have two returning goalies in Amanda DiNella (So., Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.) and Paige Press (So., Cottage Grove, Minn.). DiNella led the Gustie goaltenders in minutes played and started in 16 of 18 games as a first-year. The Gustavus blueline also shows promise as it returns 2015-16 MIAC All-Rookie Team member Erin Moes (So., Hastings, Minn.) and 2014-15 All-Rookie Team member Rachel Skoglund (Jr., Forest Lake, Minn.).

“Last season we ended up having to rely on the freshman goaltenders. With Amanda we saw a lot of good things, but we saw some inconsistency. We are hoping that the experiences she got will really help her. She has looked really good so far and has been sticking out in practice. All of our goalies have done well and the goaltending position looks to be something that we can continue to improve on. Our team defense last year was another area that we were very inconsistent in. Having experienced players back there will in time show that we are a much better defensive hockey team,” said Carroll.

Gusties picked to finish fourth in MIAC

Gustavus was voted to finish fourth in the MIAC 2016-17 standings, as voted on by MIAC coaches.

Defending co-regular season and playoff champion University of St. Thomas is the preseason pick of conference coaches to finish atop the women’s MIAC standings in 2016-17. The Tommies edged out Bethel University, who shared the league title with St. Thomas last season. Concordia College edged the Gusties by just one vote to finish third.

“Overall, the depth of our team is good,” Carroll mentioned. “We have upgraded in the hockey sense category, kids that have things you can’t teach. I think the potential for growth there is something that excites me.”

“As far as team goals, coaches have our own thoughts but I think the most important thing is to have a good first period against UW-Eau Claire and hope to build on that and get our feet wet. Once we get a couple non-conference games under our belt we will probably get together as a team and see what we can do to focus on our conference play because that is what is most important.”

2016-17 GUSTAVUS ROSTER | SCHEDULE | 2015-16 STATS

 

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