UND women's hockey: Fellner's return lifts Sioux
When Susanne Fellner arrived on campus last fall, she officially became the first Olympian ever to play for the UND women's hockey program. The German defenseman played in the 2006 Winter Games in Torino and came to Grand Forks with an experience...
When Susanne Fellner arrived on campus last fall, she officially became the first Olympian ever to play for the UND women's hockey program.
The German defenseman played in the 2006 Winter Games in Torino and came to Grand Forks with an experience no other players on the roster could claim.
Even so, there was a major challenge for Fellner.
"She didn't understand a word I was saying," says UND coach Brian Idalski with a laugh. "She kept a notebook and she wrote down all of the words she didn't understand."
It didn't take long for that notebook to fill up.
But as Fellner mastered the language, she became a leader on and off the ice. Fellner, a senior defenseman, was awarded an 'A' as an alternate captain in January and continues to steady a young defensive corps.
"She's really stepped up and done a great job leadership-wise, taking responsibility for her team," Idalski said. "I'm really excited about that. I wish that was something that transpired earlier. She's done so well with that. She's definitely stepped into that role and done a great job.
"She's such a calming factor. She's so mature and that kind of carries through our club. She's a bigger part of a lot of things than what she gives herself credit for. She's somebody I always looked to when we needed leadership or things to calm down."
Fellner has been steady in her two years at UND, tallying four goals, seven assists and 11 points in 60 games. She's played on both special teams units as well.
UND was unsure whether Fellner would be able to play for the Sioux this season. She had to apply for the extra year through the NCAA and it was granted during the summer.
Idalski said Fellner's return has helped freshman defensemen Candace Molle, Jordan Slavin and Alanna Moir ease their adjustments to the college game.
"We knew we were going to have two freshmen defensemen playing a lot of minutes," Idalski said. "If Susi didn't come back, a third would have had to play significant minutes. But having Susi has helped ease that transition. That was huge."
Fellner hopes her college career doesn't end this weekend. UND will travel to Minnesota-Duluth to play a first-round series. The Sioux have never advanced beyond this point.
"I don't think they respect us," Idalski said of the Bulldogs. "I think that shows with some of the things that happen on the ice. So, I look forward to the games. I always enjoy them."
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to email@example.com .
WCHA first-round playoffs
Who: UND at Minnesota-Duluth.
When: 7:07 tonight, 7:07 p.m. Saturday, 4:07 p.m. Sunday (if necessary) at Heritage Center.
Records: Minnesota-Duluth 24-8-2 (20-6-2 WCHA); UND 8-20-4 (7-19-2).
Of note: Duluth forward Saara Tuominen and and defenseman Mariia Posa won bronze medals with Team Finland at the Olympics on Thursday, but will return to Duluth for this series.
Other matchups: Ohio State at Wisconsin (7:07 tonight, 7:07 p.m. Saturday, 7:07 p.m. Sunday, if necessary); Bemidji State at St. Cloud State (7:07 tonight, 7:07 p.m. Saturday, 7:07 p.m. Sunday, if necessary); MSU-Mankato at Minnesota (7:07 tonight, 4:07 p.m. Saturday, 4:07 p.m. Sunday, if necessary).
13 Alyssa Wiebe, So, F 9-20--29
22 Sara Dagenais, So, F 10-9--19
2 Mary Loken, Fr, F 7-9--16
91 Ashley Furia, Fr, F 6-8--14
5 Holly Perkins, Fr, F 6-4--10
19 Margot Miller, So, F 3-6--9
20 Kelly Lewis, Jr, D 1-8--9
39 Stephanie Roy, Jr, F 3-3--6
7 Jordan Slavin, Fr, D 3-3--6
32 Candace Molle, Fr, D 0-6--6
8 Susanne Fellner, Sr, D 3-2--5
12 Ashley Holmes, So, D 1-4--5
15 Megan Gilbert, Fr, F 0-5--5
25 Alex Williams, Sr, F 3-1--4
21 Kelsey Ketcher, So, F 1-2--3
3 Janet Babchishin, Jr, F 1-1--2
6 Allison Parizek, Fr, F 1-1--2
16 Cassandra Flanagan, Sr, D 0-2--2
27 Jessica Harren, Fr, F 0-1--1
17 Alanna Moir, Fr, D 0-0--0
30 Jorid Dagfinrud, Fr 4-12-1 2.25 .924
29 Stephanie Ney, So 4-6-2 2.67 .913
33 Brittany Kirkham, Sr 0-2-1 3.11 .855