No. 5 UMD women’s hockey opens season Saturday at Long Island University

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This Saturday, almost exactly six months after finishing as 2022 NCAA champion runners-up, the No. 5 University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) women’s hockey team returns to action.

Finishing 27-12-1 last year the Bulldogs open up a new slate visiting a brand new opponent in Long Island University.

“They have a brand new head coach, somebody told me like 10 transfers. Even if we had film from last year I don’t think it would help us understand what they’re going to be doing this year, which I think is good for us,” UMD head coach Maura Crowell said. “We have to be able to adapt and play our game regardless of the opponent.”

The Bulldogs’ 2022-2023 roster boasts a star studded cast of returners including Olympic gold medalist Ashton Bell, sixth year graduate forward Naomi Rogge, who scored the game-winning goal in the NCAA semifinals, and defenseman Maggie Flaherty. The graduate student is now healthy after suffering a season ending injury last year missing the final 15 games.

“Ashton has been one of my best friends for a long time obviously this six years. It was cool to see the journey that she was on but I’m definitely happy to have her back in the locker room,” Rogge said. “Maggie, she worked so hard to get back to where she was. I know she was missed a lot in the Frozen Four, if we would’ve had her it would’ve been an awesome opportunity. Her strength, like coach said, you won’t even notice that she had an injury last year.”

Puck drop against Long Island is at 6:45 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. UMD’s home opener is October 7 against Minnesota State University-Mankato.