Slicing the ice

An overtime loss to UW-Eau Claire brings the Pipers’ record to 6-4 leaving the women’s hockey team in a competitive position in the MIAC.

First-year Bre Simon carries the puck into the offensive zone in Hamlines 2-3 OT defeat to UW-Eau Claire.

Taylor Geer

First-year Bre Simon carries the puck into the offensive zone in Hamline’s 2-3 OT defeat to UW-Eau Claire.

Rebecca Higgins, Reporter

The women’s hockey team is one of the most promising teams at Hamline. Last year the Pipers finished seventh in the MIAC. This year they strive to finish in the top four in their conference.

“I think we have a good chance of finishing in the top four and making the playoffs this year,” senior forward Jessica Goldberg said. “We improve each year.”

At this time last year, the Pipers were 4-4-2. In the 2015-16 season, Hamline’s women’s hockey team tied with St. Olaf and Concordia (WI). This season, the Pipers have won all of their games against St. Olaf. The women’s hockey team won one game against Concordia and lost in their second match up.

The Pipers plan to make headway in the second half of their season. They finished the first part of the 2016-17 season with an overtime loss of 2-3 against UW-Eau Claire.

“I think the loss [against UW-Eau Claire] just shows us that we still have work to do. We are all going into break knowing that we need to come back better after break,” senior forward Jena Kosley said. “It is motivation for us to keep moving forward.”

With revitalized motivation, the Pipers reflected upon the first half of the season and approaches to the second half of the season. One of the main defensive strategies going into the rest of the season is not giving up any shots per game. In Hamline’s game against St. Thomas on Dec. 3, the Tommies shot 33 times while the Pipers only had 14 shots.

“Defense is really about trusting your teammates. Each person has a responsibility on the ice in the defensive zone,” Kosley said. “As long as each person takes care of their responsibility, we will be successful”

Each player having a designated section on the ice ensures that all sections are accounted for. This strategy does not give opponents any space to take advantage of.

The Piper’s strong suit in defense is blocking shots. In the Dec. 7 game against UW-Eau Claire, first year Annie Juergens had a personal record of 39 saves. Similarly, in the Nov. 14 game against the Blugolds, Juergens had 23 saves and only allowed one goal from the Blugolds. The Pipers disagree with the notion that younger teams cannot compete.

“It’s definitely a different dynamic, going from a team last year that had a lot of senior to such a young team this year. But I don’t think either is really better than the other,” Kosely said. “It’s all about how we are able to come together and push each other as a team, no matter what.”

Hamline’s women’s hockey team is made up of 11 first years, two sophomores, seven juniors and four seniors. While the team is first year heavy, there is a balance between upperclassmen and underclassmen on the team. As there are 13 underclassmen and 11 upperclassmen.

“[The team’s offensive strategy is] generating scoring opportunities,” Head Coach Natalie Darwitz said.

In the 2016-17 season, the Pipers have roughly a ten percent goal rate with their shots. So far there have been 219 shot attempts and 26 goals. Conversely, junior Darby Dodds with nine goals this season has the lead for goals in the MIAC. She is also tied for the leading the conference in points with 13 points.

Dodds gave up a goal on Dec. 7 leaving the game tied 2-2. With only 54 seconds remaining in the overtime session, UW-Eau Claire put the puck in the net. This ended the game with Eau Claire as the winner with a score of 2-3.

When the Pipers battled the Blugolds on Nov. 14, the Pipers won in overtime. Both teams were tied 3-3 when junior Jaimee Nowicki passed the puck to senior Jessica Goldberg. She was successful in her shot, winning the game for Hamline.

“This is a special and talented team that will be very successful now and in the future,” Kosely said.

The Pipers skate into the first round of a tournament in St. Cloud on Jan. 6 against Marian at 5:30 p.m. On Jan. 7 they play UW-Stevens Point at 12:00 p.m.