UND WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Coach Idalski plans to play both goaltenders to start season
For much of last season, the UND women's hockey team entered a goalie rotation: Shelby Amsley-Benzie played the first night, Lexie Shaw the second night. It was generally a success. Both goalies stayed fresh and posted strong - and nearly identic...
For much of last season, the UND women’s hockey team entered a goalie rotation: Shelby Amsley-Benzie played the first night, Lexie Shaw the second night.
It was generally a success.
Both goalies stayed fresh and posted strong – and nearly identical – numbers.
Amsley-Benzie had a 1.99 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. Shaw posted a 1.92 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. And the start of this season will look awfully similar.
UND coach Brian Idalski said he plans to continue playing both goaltenders to start this season.
“We kind of told them that would be the plan for the first few weekends,” Idalski said. “We’ll go with the same setup this weekend - Shelby will play Friday, Lexie on Saturday.”
Both goaltenders have proven themselves at the college level.
Amsley-Benzie, now a junior, has led UND to two straight Western Collegiate Hockey Association championship games. She has allowed one goal in her two WCHA semifinal contests against the University of Wisconsin, allowing UND to win 2-1 and 1-0 games. Amsley-Benzie also beat eventual national champion Clarkson on the road last season.
“Shelby is a super intellectual goaltender,” Idalski said. “She’s really smart. She’s on her point. She has a great memory so she remembers plays from before and tendencies of shooters. I think her cerebral game is just fantastic. She’s very technically sound. She has a great head and anticipation for what’s going to happen. Mix that in with the maturity of a few years of playing here and being around and she just keeps getting better.”
Shaw, of Troy, Mich., will push Amsley-Benzie, though.
As a freshman, she became the only goaltender in the country to win road games at both Minnesota and Wisconsin last season. Her win at Minnesota snapped the Gophers’ streak of 62 consecutive wins.
“Lexie has a lot of Detroit in her as far as her attitude and compete level, the way she battles,” he said. “She’s very athletic. She really likes to compete and play the puck. Those are some of her strengths.”
During the team’s opening weekend, both goaltenders saw some action. Amsley-Benzie helped UND rout RPI in the opener 7-1, while Shaw was in net for UND’s 3-1 loss against Vermont.
This weekend, there are a lot of unknowns going to Minnesota State-Mankato (7:07 tonight, 3:07 p.m. Saturday), a program that lost eight seniors a year ago, including its top three scorers and its top goaltender. The Mavericks did get standout forward and fifth-year senior Kathleen Rogan back. She is expected to be the Mavs’ leader up front.
“It’s going to be interesting with the new group of players they have,” Idalski said. “We haven’t watched any film on them yet. They haven’t played any games - not even an exhibition. There are a lot of unknowns there. But it’s not entirely a bad thing. We can focus on what we need to do better.”