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Fifth-year senior defenseman's first college goal for SCSU came in her 118th career game

Taytum Geier was able to pass along a souvenir to her parents when they came to watch her playing during the opening series of the season for the Huskies.

Taytum Geier 2.jpeg
Taytum Geier has played in 119 career games with the St. Cloud State women's hockey team. The fifth-year senior from Verona, Wis., is an alternate captain for the Huskies this season.
Kaitlyn Zeuhl / St. Cloud State University

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — It came in her 118th career women's college hockey game and, fortunately, her parents were there to witness it and get a souvenir out of it.

Taytum Geier, a fifth-year senior defenseman, scored her first college goal on Sept. 30 in a game against RPI at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. When Geier was asked about the goal on Wednesday, Oct. 5, she could not help but burst into a massive smile.

"We were coming off a (penalty kill) and Kenna (Wesloh) was coming out of the (penalty) box and, one of the things that we've been working on a lot in practice is driving to the net, hard," she said. "Once I saw the opportunity to outnumber them, I took it. I went straight to the net and tried to at least take some eyes away or get in front.

"Lucky enough, I was able to get it to bounce off me and go in there."

Her parents, Joe and Tiffany Geier, had made the 5 1/2-hour drive from Verona, Wisconsin, to see the season-opener. Geier decided that her milestone puck should go back with them.


"I told them, 'You guys will want this more than I do,'" Geier said.

The Huskies are 2-0 after sweeping a nonconference series with RPI. But SCSU has a tall task in front of it this weekend in its WCHA series opening series at Ohio State. The Buckeyes (2-0) are the defending NCAA Division I champion and are ranked No. 1 in both national polls. The teams play at 5 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday (both on B1G+) at OSU Ice Rink in Columbus, Ohio.

"I think, more than anything, it's just exciting," Geier said of the series. "We have an opportunity here to prove ourselves, prove all the things that we've been working on. I think everyone's just excited. It's an exciting part of the year."

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Dad is a coach, former player

Geier is not the lone person in her family with college hockey experience. Her dad, Joe, played defense for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for three seasons after one season playing for Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Terry and Joe are both physical education teachers and Joe is a hockey coach. He coached Taytum until her senior season of high school. Taytum played in the Madison Capitols AAA program.

"For a lot of girls, having their dad as a coach, they would butt heads at times or they would get frustrated," Taytum said. "But I never really had that with him. He was always the calm and collected, even with the other coaches around. He was always the one to bring the tension down and get everyone calmed down.

"I had a good relationship with him through all that. We never really would butt heads. I thought it was really positive."


Geier said that Joe, though, cannot help but talk hockey with her some after her games.

"I always go and see him after the game and I know he tries not to" talk hockey, she said with a smile. "And he'll say, 'Well, you know better than I do. You were in the game.'

"He knows not to say too much and not to say too little."

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Fifth-year senior defenseman Taytum Geier is a two-time WCHA Scholar Athlete and has been named to the WCHA All-Academic Team four times.
Kaitlyn Zeuhl / St. Cloud State University

Excellent student, 2nd year wearing a letter

Given that both of her parents are in education, it should not come as a surprise that Geier is a good student. She has been named to the WCHA All-Academic Team four times and been a WCHA Scholar Athlete twice.

To receive Scholar Athlete honors, a student must have completed at least one year at their college prior to the current academic year and must also have a grade-point average of at least a 3.50 on a 4.0 scale for the previous two semesters or three quarters. Players may also qualify if their overall GPA is at least 3.50 for all terms at their present institution.

For her fifth season, Geier has added a second major. She will finish with degrees in marketing and management in the spring.

She was able to come back for a fifth season because the NCAA granted another year of eligibility for athletes who competed in the 2020-21 school year. For Geier, it took some time to consider.


"I don't think I officially decided until January," she said. "I took a break from hockey and school during our winter break and I had some more time to think ... Then I told them that they were stuck with me for another year."

But after the season, SCSU head coach Steve Macdonald was fired. That left assistant coaches Jinelle Siergiej and Molly Engstrom in charge until Brian Idalski was hired in June.

"Having Molly and Jinelle (around), we felt very supported by them with being able to see them at the rink every day in the spring, we were still getting constant coaching from them," Geier said. "We trusted (former SCSU athletic director) Heather Weems with the interview process and we knew whoever she brought in would be a good fit for us ... we were more optimistic than anything."

Idalski grew up in Michigan, but Geier had contact with him in Wiscosnin.

"I've been coached by Brian at other camps in youth hockey, some of the Central district USA camps," Geier said. "I was familiar with the name, knew his experience and I'm a Wisconsin girl, so I knew his history of playing at Stevens Point.

"We knew he had success (as a coach) at North Dakota and, being over at the Olympics (as China's head coach in 2022) — that's huge for any coach. I think everyone was really excited."

Geier said she also has enjoyed Idalski's coaching style.

"Some of the things that we were taught, he's teaching us differently," she said. "For a lot of us, it's becoming used to un-learning some things. But the good thing about Brian is that he'll always tell us the why. 'This is why I coach this way. This is why I'm having you do this differently than you were taught before.' I think everyone appreciates knowing the philosophy behind it, makes is super easy to understand and get behind his thoughts."


Conversely, Idalski said that he has enjoyed coaching Geier.

"She brings a maturity level, having been through it," he said. "Quite honestly, she's probably been our most consistent defenseman. Having gone through some of the battles and understanding what it looks like, she just super, super solid for us. I'm very happy to have her back to solidify the 'D' core with her maturity and experience."

The big task this weekend

The Huskies will not be eased into the WCHA portion of their schedule. After playing the Buckeyes this weekend, SCSU will play host to No. 4/5-ranked Wisconsin (Oct. 14-15) and then have a home-and-home series against No. 2-ranked Minnesota (Oct. 21-22).

"You want to be the best, you've got to beat the best," Idalski said. "When I got in and saw the schedule, most people would cringe. I'm happy to jump right into it. I think there's a real opportunity here with some of the changes to show that some of the things that we're doing are working. Hopefully, we'll get some more buy-in all around on our progress."

Idalski said that the Huskies will likely have juniors JoJo Chobak and Sanni Ahola split games this weekend and, likely, throughout the season.

"Where we are as a program is, it's important that we play two goalies (regularly)," he said. "If you're a team like some others in our league that are giving up 15 shots a game, you're not as worried about tiring somebody out.

"Quite honestly, that's not the reality that we're going to face this year. When we start pushing into giving up 30 and 40 shots a game against high-end opponents, I just don't feel like you can continue to put one player out there and they have to manage that kind of work load. Super important for us to have two good ones and we do."

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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