AP NEWS

Schugel enjoying success at UMD

November 26, 2016 GMT

NEW ULM - New Ulm’s Brook Schugel said that her transition from high school hockey to Division I hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth went more smoothly than she anticipated.

Schugel, a freshman whose UMD team is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to face Harvard this weekend, said that playing hockey with the Twin Cities Whitecaps for the past two summers helped her prepare for her college career.

Schugel has three goals and one assist in the Bulldogs’ 14 games this season. She said that playing college hockey, her practices are longer but the players are given two days off a week.

“The two days off are nice because of the longer days,” she said.

Going from high school hockey to D-I college hockey, Schugel said that the pace of the game is always fast.

“You cannot take a shift off or take a mental break because you always need to be focused and ready to go,” Schugel said. “And the skill level is a lot higher. The WCHA is the most-competitive league in the country - the skill level on every team is high.”

Schugel started out on the third line and has been bouncing between the second and third lines all season for the Bulldogs (8-3-3). Normally, freshmen do not play or are on the fourth line.

The chemistry major is playing left wing, the same position that she played last year for New Ulm High School.

“That is a natural position for me as that is where I have played for most teams I have been on,” Schugel said.

Schugel got her first college goal against Boston College with some special people in attendance.

“It was nice to have all of my grandparents and family there to see it,” she said. “It was an awesome feeling getting that one out of the way.”

The Bulldogs are already in their 15th upcoming game and will play more than the normal high school team does. Is Schugel worried about hitting the proverbial wall at some time?

“I don’t think so,” she said. “Our team is really good about keeping the energy high and keeping everyone focused and excited to play. I do not see myself hitting a wall because every day I come to the rink and have an awesome team and great coaches that make you excited to play and get better every day.”

Another adjustment that Schugel has had to make is the travel in D-I college. In high school hockey, travel was done by bus but in a lot of UMD’s games, travel is done by plane.

“You miss a lot of school,” she said. “We typically leave on Thursday so we miss our Thursday and Friday classes quite a bit. But I traveled a lot in previous summers so it is not the travel I have to get used to, it is more catching up on schoolwork.”

UMD can make some noise this season in the NCAA, having beaten top-ranked Wisconsin last weekend.

“I think that we can go pretty far and the seniors said that this is the best team that they have been a part of,” Schugel said.

Schugel said that looking back, all of the hard work that she put in to realize her dream of D-I college hockey was worth it.

“My mom told me that nothing worth having comes easy,” Schugel said. “So I have lived by that. Playing college hockey is an absolute dream. It took a lot of time and dedication but I am really glad that I spent all of those summers driving up to the Twin Cities at 4 a.m. for practices. It was all worth it.”