BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - As the new year gets underway, competition is as close as ever in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) women's hockey standings. Four teams - St. Thomas, Concordia, Gustavus, and Hamline - have already reached double-digit points in the standings and all remain within a game of each other, while a fifth team - Augsburg - has received votes in two national polls in recent weeks. With only a month-and-a-half remaining until the MIAC Playoffs, hockey fans should brace for a photo finish.
Three MIAC teams are once again ranked in the latest national hockey polls. Unbeaten St. Thomas is No. 3 in the D3hockey.com Top 10 and No. 4 in the USCHO.com Top 10. Hamline is No. 7 in the former and No. 8 in the latter, while Gustavus moved up one spot to No. 9 in both polls.
Hamline forward Bre Simon (Elk River, Minn.) leads all of women's college hockey with 2.31 points per game and 1.23 assists per game this season. Simon also ranks third in Division III with an average of 1.08 goals per game.
St. Thomas goalie Mackenzie Torpy (Oregon, Wis.) leads all of women's college hockey with a goals-against average of 0.435 and a save percentage of 0.978. She ranks second among all collegiate goalies with seven shutouts this season.
For the second time this season, a trio of MIAC players were named to D3hockey.com's Team of the Week. Gustavus goalie Amanda DiNella (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. | Willowbrook) was selected for the second time this season, while Hamline forward Leah Schwartzman (Hopkins, Minn. | Breck) and Bethel forward Bri Stafne (Duluth, Minn. | Hermantown) received their first honors of the year.
AROUND THE MIAC
Augsburg recently returned from a 10-day, four-game tour of Germany, Austria, and Italy. The Auggies played a trio of games against local club teams in Munich, Germany before heading to Bolzano, Italy for an exhibition on January 2. The team returned stateside late last week.
Bethel forward Bri Stafne (Duluth, Minn. | Hermantown) scored three goals while leading the Royals to a weekend sweep of Northland College. She scored a shorthanded goal to open the scoring on Friday night and assisted on another in the series opener. On Saturday, Stafne's first goal was of the spectacular variety, creating a breakaway and putting a pair of moves on the Northland goalie to tie the game at 1-1. Her second goal gave Bethel a 3-1 lead early in the third period.
Concordia will return to the ice for the first time in nearly a month this weekend when the Cobbers host Saint Mary's. The team is undefeated (5-0-1) in conference play this season.
Amanda DiNella (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. | Willowbrook) helped guide Gustavus to a 3-1 victory Saturday over No. 9 Wis.-Eau Claire. DiNella made 15 saves in the second period and 36 in the contest while allowing one goal to help guide the Gusties to victory. In her two contests versus the Blugolds, DiNella made 87 saves while allowing three goals for a save percentage of .967.
Senior forward Leah Schwartzman (Hopkins, Minn. | Breck) had a hand in 10 of the 18 goals Hamline scored in three victories over four days last week. The senior notched one goal and three assists in a 6-2 victory over 12-2-1 Saint Anselm last Thursday before tallying two goals and four assists in a two-game series with St. Norbert over the weekend. Hamline boasts the top five overall scorers in the MIAC this year, with Schwartzman's 10-point weekend vaulting her into a tie with teammate Molly Garin (Mound, Minn. | Holy Family) for the third-most points (16) among conference competitors this season.
Saint Benedict forward Mollie Wise (Chanhassen, Minn.) had a pair of goals as part of CSB's three-game weekend to help the team finish 2-1. Wise came away with the game-winner in overtime on Friday to lift CSB to a win over Marian. She also scored the squad's lone goal the next day in a 2-1 loss to Wis.-Stevens Point at the Pointers' home tournament.
St. Catherine opened its 2019 slate with a 1-0 loss to Wis.-Stevens Point on Tuesday night. Sophomore goalie Bryce Boreen (Cottage Grove, Minn. | Park) made her season debut, stopping 41 of the 42 shots directed at her. Boreen, who had been sidelined for the first half of the year due to injury, was selected to the MIAC All-Rookie Team following her play last season.
First-year forward Sophia Zebro (Oak Grove, Minn. | St. Francis) scored two of Saint Mary's three goals against nationally-ranked Wis.-River Falls on Tuesday. The goals were the first for Zebro since opening weekend when she totaled three in a road swing at St. Norbert and Marian back in October.
St. Olaf goalie Sam Klemann (Vadnais Heights, Minn. | White Bear Lake) totaled 73 saves in two games over the weekend, as the Oles opened the new on-campus St. Olaf Ice Arena. The junior made 38 saves - one shy of her season high - in a 3-1 loss to nationally-ranked Wis.-River Falls on Friday before stopping 35 against Saint Benedict on Sunday.
St. Thomas is 12-0 for the first time in program history and extended its NCAA-best unbeaten streak to 25 with a win over St. Scholastica last weekend. Five different Tommies scored goals, with nine different players recording points in the win. The Toms' last 14 goals have been scored by 10 different players.
|2018-19 MIAC Statistical Leaders|
|Goals||Bre Simon, Hamline||14||Multiple||5|
|Assists||Bre Simon, Hamline||16||Bre Simon, Hamline||10|
|Points||Bre Simon, Hamline||30||Bre Simon, Hamline||14|
|Save %||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.978||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.992|
|GAA||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.43||Kenzie Torpy, St. Thomas||0.17|