After three impressive performances to begin the season, the CSB hockey team is looking to avenge their record from last season. Last year’s squad finished the season with a record of 3-12-3 in the conference, giving them a No. 9 finish.
This year’s team, however, has shown drastic improvements early on, tying Concordia-Moorhead 3-3 on Nov. 2. Concordia entered the game boasting a No. 10 ranking within the nation and a projected second place conference finish. Junior goalie Kaitlyn Rolando played an impressive game, stopping 23 of the 26 shots she faced. On the offensive side, Brettingen continued her early success by scoring her third goal of the season in the second period.
“We played a really good game as a team and we did all the little things right,” head coach Jennifer Kranz said. “We competed hard in the second period and when we got behind, we never got down, which is a big difference from last year.”
To follow up their strong performance against Concordia, the Blazers tied a tough St. Olaf team 1-1 the following night. This game featured another strong goaltending performance, but this time it came from sophomore Jenna Traut, who stopped 35 shots in the game. The lone goal came from senior Ashley Olson, her second of the season.
“It was our first road game of the season and we did a good job of handling that adversity,” Kranz said. “We fought and battled hard until late in the game when we scored the tying goal.”
Even after these early successes, the Blazers will play the underdog all season long. Preseason rankings place the team at No. 10 in the conference, three points behind Hamline. Gustavus sits atop the rankings after coming off of an impressive season that included a MIAC Championship and a fourth place finish at the NCAA Championship.
Despite the strength of the teams in the MIAC, Kranz is confident about her team’s ability to compete and win in the conference.
“We don’t pay a ton of attention to rankings,” Kranz said. “It’s just something that lets the team know they have something to prove. Our goal is just to improve from year to year.”
The Blazers begin their conference season with back-to-back games against rival St. Thomas. The first game will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex and the latter will be played at 2 p.m. on Nov. 10 in St. Paul.