Women’s club hockey team goes for gold

Julie Goldberg

For the second straight year, the Northern Michigan University women’s club hockey team went undefeated in conference play to finish as back-to-back regular season Central Collegiate Women’s Hockey Association (CCWHA) Division II champions.re-Women'sHockey_KM

“In one word, awesome,” head coach Sean Parker said on how this season has been. “It’s been amazing and surreal for everyone. We couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The Wildcats are 18-5 this season and finished conference play with a record of 14-0. In conference play, the Wildcats outscored their opponents 148-8.

Noted as the star player by her teammates, freshman Allison Carlson leads the CCWHA in goals with 37, assists with 31 and points with 68.

Sophomore Jenna Bales leads the CCWHA with six shutouts this season. In the 11 games she has played, she has a goals against average of 0.55, which also leads the CCWHA.

“It’s been a lot of fun this season,” Bales said. “The camaraderie on this team is amazing.”

Senior Macy Schultz is the captain for the Wildcats, while seniors Carlie Kangas, Ciara Kangas and Sierra Rusinek are the assistant captains.

The Wildcats practice at either 10 or 11 p.m. at the Berry Events Center every weeknight.

“The late night practices are hard, but when you have fun teammates, it makes it easier,” freshman Katie Pryor said.

The Wildcats are a part of the CCWHA conference. Some of the schools that the team faces are Central Michigan University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan State University and the University of Notre Dame.

Along with the CCWHA teams, the Wildcats play Division I and Division II programs that are a part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA).

On Sunday, Jan. 31, the Wildcats beat the University of Michigan Wolverines 3-2 at the Yost Arena in Ann Arbor.

To pass time on long road trips, the team plays games. Catch Phrase is the number one game for road trips.

“I can count on any one of my teammates for anything,” Bales said. “They have my back, not just with hockey, but with school as well.”

Everyone on the team works hard and practices hard. Outside of practice, the players hang out as a team.

“These girls have bonded together to become a perfect unit,” Parker said. “They work well together, and they have unity on and off the ice.”

The team has two more games this season against the University of Wisconsin-Stout on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 6:15 p.m. at Lakeview Arena and Sunday, Feb. 7 at 11 a.m. at the Berry Events Center.

“If students and the city of Marquette would attend our games, they would enjoy them,” Parker said. “The support would mean a lot to us.”

The CCWHA Playoffs are Friday, Feb. 19 through Sunday, Feb. 21 at Crystal Fieldhouse in Burton, Mich., and the ACHA National Tournament is Wednesday, March 9 through Saturday, March 13 in Kalamazoo, Mich.