Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The UMD women's hockey team is used to winning. So this season, with more losses than wins to date, has been sort of a shock.
One player owning up to the team's struggles is senior captain Haley Irwin.
"I think my role is still to put the puck in the net, and unfortunately I haven't been doing that," Irwin said. "That's something I need to work on and something I take responsibility for. At the same time, my team does need me and it's a team-first thing for me. If I'm not scoring and we get the win, that's all that matters."
The collegiate resume for Irwin goes and on and on. She has 68 career goals, 100 assists, is a two-time NCAA national champion, and last year was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier award.
But, her experience goes well beyond college, including winning an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada in 2010.
"She's not only played here for us for many years, she's also played at the World Championships and in the Olympic Games," UMD head coach Shannon Miller said. "She's been around players that are older than her, more experienced than her, more successful than her, so she's learned from them and is trying to share that."
"She's gone to the Olympics, and she just has the leadership," Bulldogs junior defender Jessica Wong said. "We have to follow her and the rest of the seniors as well."
"It was a lifelong dream, a little girl's dream, that came true in 2010," Irwin said. "I just try to carry it through here, the little things I learned along the way."
Those little lessons are invaluable, Wong says so is another thing Irwin does regularly at UMD.
"It's great to have her back, her leadership," Wong said. "She's great on and off the ice, and she's great at scoring goals too, so it's good."
Posted by Zach Schneider