Karvinen earns Olympic honors

UND skater returns to action

UND forward Michelle Karvinen skates earlier this season. File photo.

After losing an overtime battle against Canada for an Olympic gold medal, UND forward Michelle Karvinen instead claimed a silver — then boarded a plane en route to Columbus, Ohio to play with her fellow teammates in their last regular season game.

As Karvinen landed in New York, she learned through social media she received the honor of best forward in women’s hockey at the 2014 Olympics Winter Games.

“Max Markowitz and I landed in New York and we were looking for the score of the U.S.-Canada game on our phones, and all of a sudden, he turns around and gives me a hug and congratulates me,” Karvinen said in a UND press release. “I didn’t expect it at all. I was a bit surprised, but I’m very honored to receive it.”

UND’s Susanna Tapani — another member of Team Finland — shared the Olympic experience with Karvinen.

Despite winning the award after tallying five goals and seven points that led all skates at the 2014 Olympic Games, Karvinen gave her teammates most of the credit.

“Any individual award in hockey is great, but I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without my linemates and teammates,” Karvinen said. “I was fortunate to have such great supports around me with Team Finland.”

Team Finland also had another player, Jenni Hiirikoski, receive the top defenseman award as well.

“I think it reflects on the progress that we’ve made with the Finnish team,” Karvinen said. “It also shows how much the European teams have advanced since the last Olympics.”

As she returned to the United States, Karvinen no longer was playing on a world stage, but with her team as it took on Ohio State — posting two losses with a 2-0 shutout Friday and a 3-1 battle Saturday.

UND ended the regular season at No. 7 nationally and third place in the WCHA.

UND will face Bemidji State in the first round of the WCHA playoffs this weekend at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in a best of three series. Friday and Saturday night’s games will both start at 7:07 p.m.

With the final stretch in sight, the team will now change to playoff mode when it takes on the Beavers this weekend.

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