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‘We are loaded on paper,’ says Gophers women's assistant coach Natalie Darwitz

The Gophers have plenty of firepower available this year, including Patty Kazmeier Memorial Award winner Taylor Heise along with others seasoned through international play.

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Natalie Darwitz, an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, talks with Jess Myers on Tuesday, Aug. 30 at the Minnesota State Fair in Falcon Heights, Minn.
The Rink Live

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — University of Minnesota assistant women's hockey coach Natalie Darwitz joined Jess Myers at the Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday, Aug. 30 to talk about last year’s season and the excitement and expectations of the coming season.

Last season, the Gophers (29-9-1) were riding a 10-game winning streak and had the WCHA regular season championship trophy before squandering a 2-0 lead to fall 3-2 in overtime to Ohio State in the WCHA Final Faceoff. In the NCAA tournament, Minnesota Duluth broke a 1-1 tie in the third period to end the Gophers’ season.

“Yeah, I mean, in athletics, you look at the end, right?” Darwitz said following a team event at the fair. “Unfortunately, that was a disappointment for us. We know that.”

Darwitz said the team started to slip after that OT loss to the Buckeyes and that may have carried over into the NCAA matchup with the Bulldogs. “Now, fast forward six months, it still makes you lose sleep at night. But the goal is that that is a lesson that we can learn majorly from heading into this year,” she said.

The Gophers have plenty of firepower available this year, including Patty Kazmeier Memorial Award winner Taylor Heise along with others seasoned through international play.

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“Like I said on stage we are loaded on paper. It's a matter of our leadership. How we take that on paper and bring that product onto the ice. That's the million-dollar question, right?” Darwitz said. “I mean, look at any sports organization when they're loaded on paper, they somehow seem to fizzle. We're not going to let that happen.”

Darwitz also talks about the abundance of experienced goaltenders on the roster, the changing rivalry in the WCHA and the growth of the St. Thomas program behind head coach Joel Johnson, a former assistant for the Gophers.

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Related Topics: MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
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