UMD sticks with foreign goalie exchangeCOLLEGE WOMEN'S HOCKEY: International goalies have been a cornerstone of success for the Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey program through 13 years.
International goalies have been a cornerstone of success for the Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey program through 13 years.
Freshmen Kayla Black of Blyth, Ontario, and Sofia Carlstrom of Stockholm, Sweden, are vying to be next in line as the 2012-13 season begins at 7:07 p.m. today with a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series opener at Amsoil Arena. They’re following Jennifer Harss of Germany, a senior last season, who finished third in UMD career wins (57) and total saves (2,386), and fourth in save percentage (.931).
Black, 18, led the Bluewater Hawks to Ontario’s 2012 Provincial Women’s Hockey League playoff title. She carried a .931 save percentage and 1.88 goals-against average in 23 regular-season games.
Carlstrom, 19, played for Stockholm’s AIK IF team in the Swedish Elite League the last two years and is viewed as an heir apparent to Swedish star Kim Martin, a former UMD All-American. She had a .930 save percentage and 1.67 goals-against average in 23 games last season.
“Both goalies have excellent experience for their age and play with confidence,” said UMD coach Shannon Miller. “They both listen and work hard, and will develop quickly.”
Both split time last weekend in an exhibition sweep of the Minnesota Whitecaps and each may start against Ohio State (2-0). UMD’s third freshman goalie is Karissa Grapp of Essexville, Mich.
Black attended Central Huron High School in Clinton, Ontario, last school year and traveled three to four times a week to Bluewater practices in Stratford, Ontario, often doing homework in the car as her parents drove. Her goalie career started at age 10 and has been honed through instruction at camps run by Steve McKichan (former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie coach) and Chris Piku (who owns the World Pro Goaltending School.)
While also being courted by Minnesota, Yale and Bemidji State, Black said she liked almost everything about UMD.
“I loved the coaching staff, the facility, the campus and a smaller town,” said Black, whose hometown has a population of 1,000. “Coming here I understand I’ll be fighting every day for a position and that should make me better. I need to work on my skills.”
She was invited to Canada’s U18 development camp in 2011 and is now in the U22 program.
Carlstrom has played in two women’s World Junior Championships (including a bronze medal in 2010), yet has had no playing time with the Swedish senior national team. She initially pursued hockey through the coaxing of friend Emma Jonasson, a freshman defenseman this season with the University of New Hampshire, and when a youth team needed a backup goalie, Carlstrom switched from defense.
UMD was already well-known to Carlstrom when contacted by assistant coach Laura Schuler three years ago. Four members of Sweden’s current national team played for UMD —Elin Holmlov, Jenni Asserholt, Erika Holst and Martin, while winger Pernilla Winberg is a Bulldog senior this season. Four-time Swedish Olympic forward Maria Rooth also played for UMD and was a Bulldog assistant in 2010-11.
“I knew this was a very good hockey program and that they play in the best league in the United States,” said Carlstrom, also recruited by North Dakota. “I liked everything about the school and the team, and a city that isn’t too big or too small, is right by Lake Superior.”
The pair of international players is getting on-ice tutoring from former UMD men’s goalie Brant Nicklin, a UMD women’s assistant.
UMD’s goalie career statistics leaders in wins are Martin (67), Riitta Schaublin of Switzerland (65) and Harss; in save percentage Martin (.943), Schaublin (.933) and Harss; and goals-against average Martin (1.52), Patricia Sautter-Elsmore of Switzerland (1.52) and Johanna Ellison of Cloquet (1.60).
The WCHA has become a home for international goalies, led this season by Minnesota senior Noora Raty of Finland and North Dakota senior Jorid Dagfinrud of Norway. Harss started every game in 2009-10 as UMD won the NCAA Division I title, then split time with Martin in 2010-11 and started all but one game last season.