By Brandon Spratt – [email protected]
Flashback to Oct. 29—CSB Hockey had just completed a two-game sweep over Northland College (Wis.). At the end of the season nearly four months later, that sweep represents half of the Blazers’ wins this season.
If you talk to the Blazers, however, they are hardly mourning their last-place MIAC finish.
“13 of our losses were by one goal, so I think that looking into next season I’m just excited to see where the team can go from here,” senior forward Elli Marvin said.
The Blazers compiled a 4-18-3 record this season while going 1-14-3 in conference play. This represented the first time in Head Coach Jennifer Kranz’s tenure that the win total decreased from the previous season.
CSB struggled on special teams converting 15.5 percent of their power plays (up from only 7 percent last season) and killing 64.5 percent of their penalties, which is significantly down from last season’s mark of 84 percent.
Marvin finished the season in second place in MIAC scoring with 14 goals and 13 assists totaling 27 points. She was runner-up to St. Thomas forward Kathryn Larson (30), who is her longtime friend.
Marvin won’t be on the team next year, but she will be on campus for a fifth year in the nursing program. Her younger sister will start school at CSB in the fall and will play hockey for the Blazers. It’s safe to say Marvin will be one of the
Blazers’ biggest fans next season.
First-year forward Courtney Conlin thinks there is a lot she can learn from Marvin.
“She is so driven as a player and she knows how to put the puck away—something I didn’t do very well this year,” Conlin said.
As a first-year, Conlin showed promise as a center for the Blazers. She tallied five points, two goals and three assists, and was impressive in the faceoff dot for a team that only won 40 percent of their faceoffs this season.
Conlin scored an important goal in the lone conference win against St. Catherine on Feb. 4. She also led the Blazers in penalties this season with 14.
Kranz emphasized that staying out of the penalty box is crucial and that a good penalty kill can change the momentum in a game. With special teams becoming a focus to women’s hockey, Kranz assured that working on improving the penalty kill will be a big emphasis heading into next season.
Sophomore goalie Julia Carle would certainly appreciate that. There were many games in which Carle faced upwards of 40 shots on goal. Overall, she finished the season with the most saves in the MIAC with 507.
“Yes, it was very challenging at times,” Carle said.
For a team that only won four games this season, the Blazers were remarkably upbeat. Part of this attitude is the family nature of the team, which each player emphasized as extremely important.
“Having formed relationships with teammates that I know will continue past graduation is what really defines my career at St. Ben’s,” Marvin said.
Conlin has three years of eligibility left and she would like to see the team achieve on-ice success.
“I think we’re going to be really good,” Conlin said. “We need to play like we do against the better teams every game.”
To improve as a team, Kranz will need to replace eight seniors from this year’s team. She is hard at work on this already, with recruiting visits and a trip to the girls’ state hockey tournament on the schedule.
Feature image courtesy of CSB Athletic Media Relations.