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By Seth Wisner Sports Editor | December 11, 2009 | Sports & Fitness

Despite breaking a 50-game Conference winning streak this past weekend, the Gustie Women are ready to rebound this weekend against St. Olaf

Junior defender Sara Yungner chases after the puck in the Gusties 2-1 loss to St. Thomas at the Don Roberts Ice Rink. Sports Information.

Junior defender Sara Yungner chases after the puck in the Gusties 2-1 loss to St. Thomas at the Don Roberts Ice Rink. Sports Information.

The Gustavus Women’s Hockey team is looking for a quick turnaround after a tough weekend on the ice. On Friday, Dec. 4, 2009 the Gustie women saw their 50-game winning streak in Conference play come to an end at the hands of St. Thomas on their own ice. The loss was the first in just under three years of Conference play.

“St. Thomas has been our biggest rival so far. We broke a 50-game winning streak we had within the Conference. That’s something I look back on with a lot of regret and don’t have as much insight on our record we had set for the last three years as some of the upperclassmen. That’s really disappointing and takes a shot at our reputation,” First-year forward Lindsey Hjelm said.

The Gusties were able to rebound with a 2-2 result against St. Thomas on Saturday night. “We lost our first and tied our second. . . . You could say our team is working through a rough patch,” Junior defender Kirstin Peterson said. “We showed a lot of character by coming back on Saturday.”

The Women’s Hockey team had extremely high expectations for itself with a strong recruitment class and an NCAA Quarterfinal appearance last season. Meagan Wanecke, first-year forward, was optimistic for the team’s opportunity to get better and reach the expectations by the end of the season. “I think we haven’t fully reached our expectations. We definitely have the potential to get better,” Wanecke said.

Hjelm added to Wanecke’s optimism. “I knew Gustavus was going to be a really serious program, and we definitely have high goals for the season. Even though we have two disappointing losses on our record, I think we are looking to make a lot of headway coming up with St. Olaf,” Hjelm said.

However, even with the optimism on the team, the Gustie women know it will be a difficult season with many tough opponents left on the schedule. “We’ve had everything handed to us in the past, and this year we are going to have to prove ourselves. We will have to be that much better to beat everyone in the MIAC,” Peterson said.

After the St. Olaf series this weekend, the Women’s Hockey team will look forward to a trip to Europe over Christmas Break to play the Swiss National Team. “It will be a nice change of pace for games, but everyone will still be working hard and having the same attitude. It will be a great opportunity for some team bonding,” Hjelm said.

Despite the team’s youth, having only two seniors on the team, the Gustavus Women’s Hockey program has consistently been a major force in the MIAC. “I think our team chemistry is growing. As a [first-year], I think I am learning the systems and learning how to play with each other,” Wanecke said.

“We have a word that we choose for every MIAC Conference series. Our last two words were ‘confidence’ and being ‘assertive.’ Each week we try to build off of those words. Communication is really huge for our success,” Hjelm said.

Hjelm has also enjoyed the increased work ethic by the team in general. “All the girls have previously been captains. It makes the team a lot more dominant, allows potential leadership to come through and adds strength to our team. Everyone here wants to play and excel. We work hard and put in the extra time to get better,” Hjelm said.

After the trip to Europe over Christmas Break, the Women’s Hockey team will play UW-Stevens Point on Jan. 9, 2010. “We play Stevens Point right when we get back, and we haven’t beaten them in two years. As far as the MIAC, we have to win any game from here on out to get where we want to be at,” Peterson said.

The Gustavus Women’s Hockey team will face off against St. Olaf at home on Friday, Dec. 11.