Women’s Hockey Club

Harrison March

The sun has been down for hours. Most students are hitting the books or winding down for the night. The Iowa State Women’s Hockey Club, however, is just getting started.

After waiting for the local teenagers to clear the ice, the Women’s Hockey Club wastes no time getting going. Assistant coach Kelly Gibbons, a junior at Iowa State, can’t help but feel excited watching this year’s team prepare for practice.

“We’ve got a lot of young talent,” said Gibbons. “Over half of the team is freshmen and sophomores and they’re looking really good. This could be a big year for the team.”

The women’s hockey team finished last season with a disappointing 5-11-0 record, getting outscored by a total of 89-34. Just eight games into this season, the team has already surpassed last year’s win total with 6-2-0 start, outscoring opponents 48-15.

Those six wins all came in series sweeps over the University of Iowa, South Dakota State University and three-time defending national champions Rainy River Community College.

The early success is largely due to the launch of the team’s website, according to captain Ashley Bye.

“[In] past years we’ve had to skate some games with 10 players or less,” said Bye, who has racked up 6 goals and 3 assists this season at the forward position. “We set up a new website in hopes of being able to recruit better… this year we have 22 players and suit 20 for games.”

One of those new recruits is freshman goalie Sophie Puente, from New Prague, Minnesota. Puente, who is 3-1 in the net this season, leads the team in save percentage at .889 and has recorded shut-outs against both Rainy River and South Dakota State.

“I knew I wanted to come to ISU for my major,” said Puente, a pre-athletic training student. “When I found out there was a hockey team I was really excited. I’ve been playing for 11 years and it’s something I’m glad I can keep doing.”

Underclassmen are also contributing on the offensive end, tallying 37 of the team’s 48 goals and 32 of the 43 total assists thus far. Sophomore Millie Luedtke alone has tallied 13 goals and 5 assists this season.

“Millie kind of likes to show off,” Gibbons said of the stand-out forward. “But hey, she’s pretty good at it, so we don’t mind.”

Credit for the early success is also given to the work ethic and mentality of the team.

“We sort of have that [underdog] feeling,” said Puente. “We practice hard though, and I think that shows when we play.”

As the women’s hockey team works to continue their, the team is trying to remain humbly ambitious.

 “Last year ‘Nationals’ wasn’t even in our vocabulary, but it looks like this year we’ve got the chance,” said Gibbons. “Last year and this year, they’re totally black and white.”