SCSU's Emma Polusny discusses playing with hip labral tear all season, being named WCHA Goalie of the Year

Graduate student discusses when she knew she would have to get surgery, the pre-practice and postgame routines she went through, how the injury may have helped her as a goalie and more.

Minnesota Duluth Women’s Hockey scores two late goals to complete sweep of St. Cloud State
St Cloud State goaltender Emma Polusny (32) deflects a shot on goal against Minnesota Duluth on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — You hear of hockey players playing through injuries pretty regularly. How about playing through an entire season when you know you have to have surgery to repair an injury? That's what St. Cloud State graduate student Emma Polusny did in 2021-22. She found out before the season she would need surgery to repair a hip labral tear. But she says it may have actually helped her as a goalie. The proof is in the honors. She was named to the All-WCHA First Team and the conference's Goaltender of the Year last week. A candid and fun conversation with Polusny, who has seven career marks in the top five for SCSU goalies.

:00 How she found out she was named to the All-WCHA First Team, being late to the team bus, what being named the Goalie of the Year means to her and why

4:40 Her parents wanting to go to an awards banquet

7:15 The decision to come back for a fifth season


8:00 Playing with a labral tear in her hip, taking a kettlebell with her on road trips, playing through the pain

11:10 How and when the injury occurred before the season, needles in her hip, cortisone shots

14:50 Prep time to get on the ice, men's hockey club team goalie Eric Schmidley helping out, limiting practice reps

17:20 Changing her playing style, not being allowed to go into the butterfly, how it helped her with angles

20:50 Her three 50-plus save games, getting into a cold tub, emptying a garbage can and filling it with ice for the tub on the road, the grandma waddle

24:00 Because of an injury to Sanni Ahola, Polusny had to play back-to-back games against second-ranked Ohio State in the playoffs, how she approached that challenge

26:20 Ohio State's Liz Schepers was a high school teammate, how her parents wore their U12 sweatshirts to their last game against one another

29:40 Playing pro options


31:30 Recovery time from surgery

33:15 What exceeded her expectations in college

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Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage, 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.
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