During the winter, I am the goalie coach for the nationally-ranked Gustavus Adolphus College women’s hockey team. We have four goalies on our roster this year including one who earned All-American honors last season.
Recently, we faced-off UW-River Falls, another top 10 ranked team, in a non-conference series in what’s developed into a highly competitive rivalry. They beat us twice last season, before we upset the them in the national tournament to advance to the NCAA Frozen Four.
In the first game of the series in December, River Falls outplayed us, and outshot us 33-16, but our All-American netminder played well and we escaped with a 4-3 victory.
Before the rematch, I suggested to our head coach (my older brother) that we mix it up when it came to our goalie situation. I thought we should look at game two as an excellent development opportunity for all the goalies on our team.
So I outlined a plan to rest our All-American and play our other three goalies one period a piece. He agreed with the idea. At their home rink in the second game of the series, our junior started the game and played the first period, our first-year goalie made her collegiate debut in the second, and our lone sophomore came in to play in the third.
It turned out to be one of our best games so far this year. Even though we were outshot 27-23, our trio of goalies played well and led us to a thrilling 2-1 win.
All three goalies were very excited about being able to play and help us beat the Falcons. It also gave them valuable game experience as we head into the second half of the season looking to build on our 8-1-1 record.