By Daniel Proulx ‘19
The Merrimack Women’s Hockey team upset number three ranked University of Minnesota Gophers in their first game of the year, with the help of a 54 save performance by goaltender Léa-Kristine Demers. The Warriors won the game 4-3, with team captain Jessica Bonfe scoring the game winning goal with about fifteen minutes remaining in the third period, according to an NCAA.com news article.
When asked about the impact of the win for the morale of the team, Coach Hamlen said, “The fact that we had Minnesota players on our roster to go in and be able to take one from a nationally ranked team and such a prestigious program was a really big deal for both the Minnesota players on our roster and our entire group.” She also added that “we certainly gained a lot of confidence from the win.”
She also gave breakdown on what the team did right to come out with the victory. “Goaltending was certainly key, that was a big deal, but I also thought that we came up with a lot of offensive opportunities and odd man rushes that we capitalized on. That’s something that doesn’t happen all that often with this group, or didn’t last year or the year before.” In saying this, she did not overplay the significance of this win. She said, “In the end it was single game, and in this game it can go either way any night, it does tell a lot about our program and how far we’ve come,but we have such a long way to go to really have a culture and have a successful record that some of these other established programs have had.”
This win does showcase how far the team has come in just its first three years of existence. While not trying to overplay their victory Coach Hamlen understands how this win shows the growth of the team. “In the end the fact that we could take a game from them also shows how far we’ve come from year one to now.”
Upsetting the number three team in the country is just the beginning of what this team hopes to accomplish. The team has improved immensely and they hope to be one of the top teams in Hockey East this season. Coach Hamlen weighed in on this saying, “I think our players are really focusing hard on the details and the little things to get us to place we’re we can be consistent, to have the ability to be higher up in the Hockey East standings and have a better opportunity for that hockey east championship.”
After winning against Minnesota the team has had a rough time with losses against UNH and number four ranked St Lawrence. The team did rebounded with a tie against St Lawrence in their last game to end their two game losing streak. They are hoping to back in the win column in their next game against Penn State on October 20th.