Hockey team hits the ice

North Dakota women prepare for weekend series against Clarkson in Potsdam, N.Y.

Sophomore defenseman Sam LaShomb shoots the puck last weeked against Team Russia in an exhibition series at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Photo by Chester Beltowski.

The UND women’s hockey team is preparing for a road series as it will take on Clarkson this weekend in Potsdam, N.Y.

The team is coming off a win and a tie against Team Russia in an exhibition series held in Grand Fork this past weekend.

UND coach Brian Idalski said the games were a great chance for the team to throw in some of its younger players and work on things that needed to be improved.

“You know, we got out of it what we needed to,” he said. “We got a lot of players opportunities, we got to work on our special teams a fair amount.”

This weekend will be another test for UND.

“Another battle of top-10 teams,” Idalski said. “I expect it to be low scoring, physical — they have a great goaltender, and they play very well. Defensively, they are very structured — pretty similar to what the games were last year.”

The team has been working on several things in the past weeks. Since it playing Wisconsin, it has discovered elements that need improvement.

“Coming out of Wisconsin, we really felt like we didn’t come through neutral ice with enough speed,” Idalski said. “I thought we turned the puck over in neutral too much. The way that Clarkson plays defensively, it’s going to be a little bit similar. So, we focused a lot on regroup transition, coming up the ice with speed, getting pucks deep — offensively being a little more structured and a little harder to play against.”

There are several players that will be expected to step up this weekend as well. Meghan Dufault and Josefine Jakobsen are two of the players that Idalski expects to contribute within the lineup.

In addition, improving UND’s power play will become a key factor in this weekend’s series.

“There’s no doubt that Meghan Dufault and Josefine Jakobsen need to play well for us up front as well as Rebecca Kohler and Susanna Tapani, but really it’s going to be our powerplay that needs to be better that needs to improve,” Idalski said. “All of those players obviously are on the power play as well but that’s going to go a long way to making us a complete hockey team.”

With successful goaltending in sophomore Shelby Amsley-Benzie and freshman Lexie Shaw, Idalski said both could be an option this weekend.

“I’m going to stick with the rotation,” he said. “They are both playing well, and they both deserve to play. I don’t see any reason to fiddle with that. That’s been a strength for us these past couple of weeks.”

The puck is set to drop at 2 p.m. against Clarkson on both Friday and Saturday afternoon.

Mariah Holland is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].