Leadership from within the net

UND goalie Shelby Amsley-Benzie looks to come back strong in the new hockey season. Photo by Nick Nelson/ The Dakota Student

As a spectator, fans think they know best from the stands. In reality, the best view in the house would be the one from between the posts, so who better to predict what is in store for the women’s hockey squad than senior goalie, Shelby Amsley-Benzie.

The senior goaltender has a lot of experience being a student athlete in her three years on the hockey team. Through her experience, her best advice to the incoming freshman athletes is time management, time management and time management.

Amsley-Benzie’s season did not start without speed bumps. She underwent hip surgery last season, so patience is key, but she is looking to rebuild her strength and be able to produce the best game she can for the team.

“I’m looking to get back to where I was last year,” Amsley-Benzie said. “It’s a process, working to get back into the swing of things.”

While there may have been ups and downs in her recovery, the senior goalie is looking to return with the rest of her teammates.

“Our defensive core has five of six players returning from last year,” Shelby said. “We have a lot of experience on the back end, and we have a lot of experience between the goalies.”

With the veteran skills in check, the team is also working towards developing the new talent this season.

“We have a big freshman class, so this is an opportunity for the junior’s to show good leadership skills,” Amsley-Benzie said. “The freshmen need to be big contributors to the team.”

So far, so good. The two   Finnish freshmen, Anna Kilponen and Vilma Tanskanen, have tallied two points each and Minnesota native Rebekah Kolstad netted one assist so far this season. 

So what does a winning formula for this team look like? They have the experienced veterans and the new freshmen talent, but there is more to this if they are going to win on a nightly basis.

“Showing up every night, be strong defensively first,” Shelby said. “And have the offense build off of it.”

Amsley-Benzie credits a lot of the team’s success to the fans, as the goalie has a travelling cheer squad wherever the team may play.

“My mom hasn’t missed a game of mine in the last 3 years,” Amsley-Benzie said. “She just drove down to New York to watch us play RPI.”

There is always a game that will be a good fight and bring the most excitement for the Green and White and its fans, that being unanimously Minnesota. The team always looks forward to the healthy rivalry that the U of M brings.

“Minnesota, that’s the game for everyone as our division rivals it’s a game we all look forward to,” Amsley-Benzie said.

UND seems to have a grip on what it takes to be successful and have the talent and experience on the bench but it will greatly depend on its senior goaltender to achieve their main goal.

The women will take a split series against Bemidji State, starting in Bemidji, MN on Friday, and bring the series home to the Ralph on Saturday when the puck drops at 2:07 pm.

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