The women’s hockey team is now focusing on finishing their last four conference games. So far the team’s future looks very promising. They have been ranked number two for ten consecutive weeks by USCHO.com for Division III women’s hockey, and after their first tie of the season against University of Wisconsin-Superior, they remained one of two unbeaten teams with a record of 20-0-1.
For seniors on the team, going out with a bang is a really important goal. The women have consistently been in the Final Four and hope to finally obtain the title of national champions this year. Because this goal is so important for the seniors, many of the underclassmen have stepped up their game to make this dream a reality.
“Even though our end goals are the same, everyone works to achieve these goals in their own unique ways. This is something that we take pride in as a hockey team since everyone contributes to the team in their own way, and we need that to be successful,” Senior Kelsey Kennedy said.
Although the ladies have been having a stellar season, staying focused on their goals of winning the MIAC title and doing well in the Final Four tournament has been essential to their success.
“What we’d really like to do is win the program’s first national championship— something we have the potential to do,” Senior Meagan Wanecke said.
The success of the women not only has come from grueling practices, but also working together as a team. Having one major goal for the end of the season has helped unite the women as a single unit, bringing success to them wherever they go.
“Our team has really come together, and the chemistry that has been created on and off the ice is a huge highlight and is a main reason we’ve been doing so well,” Wanecke said.
For many of the seniors on the team, this season will be bittersweet. The ladies have built bonds that made them into the team that they are now and continue to make Gustavus proud. Both the coaches and the athletes exemplify the excellence that other MIAC athletes can only dream of obtaining.
“So far we have had many highlights. We’ve maintained our undefeated status so far this year and have enjoyed an amazing trip to Austria and Germany. Some of our biggest wins were against River Falls this past December as well as against Concordia this January. I am extremely proud of the way our team is continuing to become our best,” Hjelm said.
Before playing in the Final Four, the Gustavus women will play both Saint Olaf College and the College of Saint Benedict in away and home games. The first round of the MIAC playoffs will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 26, quarterfinals on Feb. 28 and Championships on March 2.
“Even though we’re really excited about the Final Four Tournament, we’re just trying to focus on one game at a time in order to ensure that we play our best. There’s no guarantee that we’ll make it but we’ll certainly try our hardest,” Sophomore Carolyn Draayer said.