By Matt Wellens
DULUTH, Minn. — A year ago, St. Cloud State hired a Duluth native and Minnesota Duluth assistant coach in Brett Larson to take over its men’s hockey program.
The Huskies won’t be doing the same this spring for its women’s team as Bulldogs assistant coach Laura Bellamy is instead taking a promotion at UMD. She was announced as associate head coach on Wednesday.
Bellamy has spent the last four years as an assistant in her hometown under Bulldogs head coach Maura Crowell. Both came to UMD in 2015 after working together at Harvard. Bellamy, a former goaltender for the Crimson, was an assistant coach for two seasons under Crowell, who was Harvard’s interim head coach in 2013-14 and associate head coach the following season.
Together in Duluth, Bellamy and Crowell have guided UMD to a 70-60-14 record that includes three WCHA Final Faceoff berths and an NCAA tournament berth in 2016-17. UMD finished third in the WCHA last season with the 19 league wins being the most by the Bulldogs since 2016-17.
“No one is more passionate about UMD hockey than Lu,” Crowell said of her new associate head coach, who along with goaltender Maddie Rooney will be conducting a U.S. Women’s National Team goaltending development camp in Blaine, Minn., this weekend. “Growing up here, it’s in her blood. We’re so lucky to have her here and we want her to know how much we appreciate her.”
St. Cloud State is seeking a new head coach after Eric Rud left this week to become the associate head coach under Chris Bergeron at Miami.
3-on-3 comes to WCHA
The WCHA will be the first league in college women’s hockey to break ties via 3-on-3 overtime periods and will begin doing so next season.
The new overtime format for WCHA games was approved during the recent league meetings in Naples, Fla. The 3-on-3 period will follow the NCAA-mandated five-minutes of 5-on-5 overtime. If league games are still tied after 3-on-3, there will be a sudden-death shootout.
Results from 3-on-3 and shootouts will only count toward league standings. For NCAA tournament selection purposes, games that are tied after 65 minutes will continue to go down as ties.
The WCHA was the only women’s league using shootouts to break ties. The Bulldogs, who along with Minnesota have been pushing to bring 3-on-3 to the league over the past few years, were 4-0 in shootouts last season, giving up just a single goal.
The eastern men’s and women’s leagues continue to spurn the idea of shootouts or 3-on-3. The Hockey East men and women, ECAC men and women, Atlantic Hockey in men’s and College Hockey America in women’s all end games in ties after 65 minutes.
Those leagues are finding themselves in the minority as the NHL, AHL, ECHL, Canadian and American junior leagues and many European pro leagues all use 3-on-3 overtime periods to break ties. The International Ice Hockey Federation began using 3-on-3 to break ties in this year’s men’s and women’s world championships.
Crowell said Northern Michigan University gave a presentation in Naples updating the WCHA on its quest to add an NCAA Division I women’s hockey program. Crowell said Northern Michigan’s timeline appears to be more of a “when” than “if”, but its arrival is not imminent.
• Crowell and the Bulldogs recently received a verbal commitment from Nina Jobst-Smith, a defenseman from British Columbia, who would join UMD in the fall of 2020. Jobst-Smith has dual citizenship in Canada and Germany. She recently helped Team British Columbia win bronze at the 2019 Canada Games.