Goalie Jennifer Schmidt backstops Cougars to great start
Article: Brady Lang – Sports Writer
The Regina Cougar women’s hockey team is off to a great start and it would be hard not to give a lot of the credit to the team’s goaltending.
The Cougars will be alternating goaltenders for the duration of the 2013 season between third-year puck stoppers Toni Ross and Jennifer Schmidt.
In particular, Schmidt, the product of High River, AB, has been on fire as the year has begun, going 5-1 while posting a miniscule 0.99 goals against average after those first six games. Schmidt is also leading the Canada West in shutouts through the start of 2013-14.
When asked about her hot start, Schmidt said she was happy with the way 2013 started.
“I think that I am playing well,” she said. “I’ve been working a lot on my consistency and I hope that I can continue playing well. I’m definitely happy with my start so far this season.”
Schmidt – who is also leading the Canada West in save percentage – also commented on the team’s collective hot start.
“So far, I can honestly say that this is one of the best teams I’ve played on for the 16 years that I’ve played hockey,” Schmidt said. “We are the definition of a team. We all get along very well, we play together very well and I am very excited to see what this team can accomplish.”
[pullquote]“So far I can honestly say that this is one of the best teams I’ve played on for the 16 years that I’ve played hockey. We are the definition of a team. We all get along very well, we play together very well and I am very excited to see what this team can accomplish.”[/pullquote]
It’s hard not to speculate and compare this team from last season, but after hearing those words from Schmidt, it’s obvious that this team is very special. When you have a veteran on the team saying those kinds of words, then there is a special feeling inside of that dressing room.
Between the pipes this season for the Cougars, they have been running a two-net minder system in which Schmidt gets the first game while Ross starts the second game. Schmidt said that she really enjoys the system coach Sarah Hodges has put together.
“I really like it. Toni and I get along very well. We support each other in everything we do,” she said. “We are a really good team and with the two goalie system it’s great because we’re both playing and we can both stay hot and keep winning hockey games.”
Schmidt has now won 19 games in her career with the Cougars, putting her in sole possession of third on the all-time list. She is now 11 back of Andrea Charanduk and Lisa Urban for the all time lead with 30. Schmidt also came into the season leading the Cougars in all-time save percentage (.918) and save percentage in the shootout (.737).
Although she is now halfway through her career with the club, the sky is the limit for the Alberta product. With the two-goalie system, the team believes neither goaltender should show signs of fatigue coming down the stretch and into the playoffs.
The Cougars split the two-game set last weekend in Winnipeg and will now have a well-deserved week off before playing a set against Alberta at the Co-operators Centre on Nov. 15-16.
Let’s hope that Schmidt was right, saying that this team is special. If their start is any indication on how the season will unravel, Cougars fans are in for a special season with this hockey club.