There were plenty of new faces at UMD women’s hockey practice Saturday as head coach Shannon Miller brought her team together for the first time this season.
The Bulldogs will have a much different look in 2013-14 with the departure of nine players, most notably defensemen Jessica Wong and Brigette Lacquette. Wong graduated in the spring and Lacquette is redshirting to practice with Team Canada for the 2014 Olympic Games.
“The good news is we’ve had a lot of talent the last few years, but it’s been young,” Miller said. “Jenna McParland, Zoe Hickel—these kids are juniors now. Our starting goalie is a sophomore, so she’s got some games under her belt. I expect great performances from those kids and great leadership.”
UMD will rely on sophomore goaltender Kayla Black to build on a solid freshman year. On the offensive side, forwards McParland, Hickel and Jamie Kenyon will be expected to step up and help carry the team. Miller also expects big things from the freshman class, including Sidney Morin, who will be filling in on the blue line.
After failing to advance beyond the first round of the WCHA Playoffs for the first time in program history in 2012-13, the Bulldogs enter this season ranked fifth out of eight teams in the WCHA coaches poll.
“We need to be able to come in and play well against teams we haven’t done so well against in the past,” Hickel said. “I think the biggest thing for us is going to be consistency and really sticking to our game plan and coming to the rink every day to try and get better.”
The Bulldogs will play an exhibition game against the Japanese national team Saturday at AMSOIL Arena, and will open their regular season at home Oct. 4 against Connecticut.
BY NICOLE BRODZIK firstname.lastname@example.org