Women’s hockey ready to take the ice

UND Goalie Shelby Amsley-Benzie after a win. File photo

October marks the beginning of a new UND hockey season.  The women’s team is back at it this year in hopes that the revamped squad delivers on the ice.

Mixing the old with the new, the team welcomes back 17 of its players from last season along with eight freshmen from various parts of the world.

Starting the season in the sixth spot on the USCHO (U.S. College Hockey Online) preseason poll, this is the second highest national ranking for UND since the 2013-2014 season when they placed fourth. Capturing first and third in the polls are two tough division rivals, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

To take a survey of who the team believes will put up the biggest fight, the answer is unanimous, the Gophers.

“Minnesota will be our biggest challenge this season,” freshman forward Breanna Berndsen said. “They are a very skilled and focussed team that has won multiple championships.”

The Gophers tend to keep the Green and White on their toes.

“They always have a lot of skill, but the challenging games are also the most fun,” junior Amy Menke said. “So it will always be a good series with them.”

Captain Halli Krzyzaniak shows her leadership skills with an optimistic outlook on the season.

“I’m most looking forward to taking the next step with program,” Krzyzaniak said. “The past two seasons we’ve been just on the cusp of the NCAA tournament and I think that the team we have this year has the ability to take us there.”

With an overwhelming positive vibe from the team, it is clear that this team has already come together. As a team, being positive and coming together are just a couple of key aspects to a winning team that they already have in the bag.

The Green and White are packing their bags and heading on the road for their first regular season non-conference games against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute this weekend.

“It hurt us the last couple years dropping a nonconference here and there,” UND coach Brian Idalski said. “We have to win all four this year and take care of business in conference games.”

Recalling last season, UND’s NCAA tournament appearance was cut short, as they fell to Wisconsin, 4-1 in the semifinals of the 2015 WCHA Final Face-Off on home ice.

This year, moving forward with a fresh outlook, the team will come together on and off the ice and work towards finally bringing home their first championship.

UND will play its first Home game Oct. 17 against Bemidji State at the Ralph Engelstad Arena where the puck drops at 2:07 p.m.

Allyson Bento is a sports reporter for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]