2019-20 Women’s Hockey Season Preview

Posted on November 1st, 2019 by

(photo courtesy of SPX Sports)

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s hockey team opens its 2019-20 campaign Friday night at St. Scholastica featuring a roster loaded with underclassmen. This year’s squad of 27 student-athletes includes 12 first-years and 11 sophomores with their sights on bringing Gustavus back to the top of the MIAC.

Head Coach Mike Carroll, who is in his 21st season on the Gustie bench and the second winningest coach in Division III women’s hockey history, employs of style of play that highlights attacking with speed and strong specials teams. Early signs point to this year’s team owning those characteristics.

“We have a lot more speed on our team than we’ve had in the past couple years and we’ve usually been a pretty quick team,” Carroll said. “It’s exciting to see that and maybe that will help contribute to being more aggressive on the attack. I think our depth from our top lines to our bottom lines have improved a lot. The same thing goes for our back end. College hockey is a very physical game and our willingness to get in there and win tight battles, I think in the slot that’s an area we haven’t done as well in, and getting those gritty goals is what it’s going to take to win in this league.”

The Gusties lost last season’s top point-scorer Allie Stanger to graduation, but retain her as an assistant coach. The next six Gusties on the top of the scoresheet return, led by All-Conference senior captain Amelia Vosen (Anoka), who tallied 11 goals and seven assists for 18 points last year, including a team-high four game-winning goals. Defender Kristen Cash (Sr., Roseville) will also wear the C on her jersey, leading the back end for a defense that allowed the second fewest goals in the MIAC last season.

“Their strengths are the way they go about their business every day,” Carroll said of his senior captains. “They are hard workers, they pay attention, they know the systems, and they compete. They lead by example. What we would like to see with the rest of our group is to find some kids to step up vocally. We’re pretty quiet right now as a group. But there are no two better kids with work ethic and commitment level than those two for the team to look up to.”

In order to climb back to the top of the conference, Carroll acknowledges the offensive production needs to step up. Last season the Gusties averaged 2.7 goals per game, ranking fourth in the conference. Along with Vosen, sophomores Lilia Scheid (Stillwater), Kristina Press (Cottage Grove), and Stephanie Anderson (Blaine) bring back 48 combined points from last season and hope to increase the offensive output this year. MIAC All-Rookie Team member Kayla Vrieze (So., Eagan) is also in that group of point-scorers, but will miss the early portion of the season due to injury.

“Last year as freshmen they did a lot of good things but we’re hoping that strong sophomore group can take that next step,” Carroll said.

The Gusties will see new faces between the pipes after the graduation of two-time All-American goalie Amanda DiNella. Emelia Helms-Leslie (So., Fairbanks, Alaska) brings back the most experience, having played just one period last year after transferring early in the season.

“We have three goalies that virtually have not played a college hockey game,” Carroll said. “That’s an area that we are really going to have to support. All three are doing really well. Early in the season it’s going to be a work in progress, but all three goalies have different strengths that they bring to the plate.”

On the blue line, the Gusties are excited to welcome back Cash and Sydney Henrichs (Jr., Eden Prairie), who were last season’s top defenders and both have mended from injuries that cost them at least half the season.

“We’re in a work in progress, day by day, we’ve done better in a lot of areas over the past week because we were able to have two scrimmages,” Carroll said. “We’re going to continue to work at things and try to get everyone up to speed so we can compete at the level we’d like to compete at.”

2019-20 ROSTER

2019-20 SCHEDULE

2018-19 STATS

 

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