Hot on the ice

Women’s hockey hopes to recapture last year’s success

First-year Rea Robert rushes past a defender.

Levi Jones, Sports Editor

One year after a historic season the Women’s Hockey team has been finding their success continuing. In the 2017-2018 season, the team held a record of 22-5-3 and were undefeated at home. This was in large part thanks to the help of Coach Natalie Darwitz.

Darwitz has been with the team since 2015. In her first season she brought the team to their most successful season in a decade with a total of nine wins. Since then the team has found more success amounting in the 22 win season and taking third in the nation for division three last year and being ranked in the top five in the nation this season.

Melanie Hopkins
First-year goaltender Jeala O’Brien makes a save after a shot from an opposing player.

Darwitz believed that what drove the success last year was a desire to prove themselves.

“Nobody expected Hamline to be a good team and we wanted to prove them wrong,” Darwitz said.

The team finished with the best ranking Hamline women’s hockey ever had, and got Darwitz the title of coach of the year. Yet Darwitz attributes this award to the team.

“The award isn’t really about what I did. It’s a reflection of how the team did,” Darwitz said. Going into this year the team wanted to prove they could keep it up.

Melanie Hopkins
First-year Molly Garin tries to gain control of the puck during a face-off.

The success from last year was not a fluke, with the end of the regular season the team holds a record of 20-2-3. Their final two games were against St.Thomas, the only team in the MIAC ranked higher than them. Before these games St.Thomas had been undefeated, yet Hamline was able to win one of the two games in overtime at home. Going into these games one would expect a lot of pressure, but Darwitz did not see it that way.

“We aren’t feeling the pressure, we’re the underdogs. The pressure is there when you are expected to win. We just have to go out there and play our best,” Darwitz said.

In any team sport much of what makes a team great is not the individuals performance but the way a team works together to make things happen.

“Everyone has a role on the team, it sounds cliche but its like a puzzle,” Darwitz said. “Each piece is required to make the team whole.”

With multiple seniors having graduated last year, the team needed their new first-years to be able to fill in some of those roles. First-Year Molly Garin has been part of this success with 16 goals and 17 assists in the season.

This year has seen Hamline end with a better regular season standing than the previous year and the team is set to take on Augsburg in the playoffs. Though the stakes are raised, the team is hopeful. The next game takes place at TRIA Rink on Feb. 23. Darwitz hopes to see fans there.

“Come out to the game, have a good time,” Darwitz said. “If you’re not satisfied you never have to come again. It’ll be important to have student support for the team.” With the postseason just around the corner Hamline is ready to see what the team can do.