It seems the Bulldogs have finally found their stride! We have now skated to our 8th undefeated game gaining a sweep against the Bemidji State Beavers. Our streak started before Christmas by taking two games from the Beavers at their home rink and tying two straight games with No. 5 ranked Boston University. Our series against BU really set the tone for us going into the second half.
After a long relaxing Christmas break we returned to Duluth on January 2nd to begin our fitness testing and preparing to start the second half of the season. We were very proud to have four Bulldogs represent UMD playing for Team Canada (Brigette Laquette), Team Finland (Tea Villila), Team Sweden (Pernilla Winberg) and Team Germany (Marie Delarbre). We were very proud of defensemen, Brigette Laquette, who brought home the gold.
Having our whole team back in Duluth was very exciting and we were able to really get going in team practice. Being back in Duluth on January 2nd and not starting school until January 22nd has given us a lot of time to focus purely on hockey and our team. We have been able to have a lot of goal setting sessions; team dinners and we’ve pretty much watched every movie on Netflix. In between practices during the week we split our team into two teams and played a VERY competitive game of softball. We adjusted the rules a bit and it definitely made things a little more interesting! Team Maroon came out on top, and Team Grey was not happy to say the least. It has definitely been a long and much needed break and our team has had a lot of fun the last 3 weeks without school.
After practicing for a week as a team, our first series was against St. Cloud. We opened 2013 with our Cancer Awareness game, wearing our maroon, gold and PINK! We seemed to really click as nearly every single player, including our starting goalie put points on the board! The sweep against St. Cloud was step 1 on a long road we have to get back on track. After the sweep, we got right back to work, having two-a-day practices and workouts mid day. Our coaching staff has really taken the time to carefully put together practice plans, workouts and skills sessions to ensure we are ready and prepared for each opponent. We have set very high goals for ourselves for the second half, but we know they are definitely reachable.
Saturday nights sweep against Bemidji (second sweep of 2013) brought a new record for 2013 as the rink was packed with 4095 fans. It is always exciting playing in front of a big crowd and it is always fun winning at home! We had the opportunity to sign autographs after the game and meet a lot of young athletes eager to one day be wearing the Bulldog jersey.
We are off to a great start for 2013, but our work has not even begun. We will head to Ohio this Thursday to faceoff against the Buckeyes and keep moving our way up!